The home improvement projects spring sellers should tackle now (and what to skip)

Zillow and Thumbtack data shows sellers can spend nearly $5,400 on the most common projects before listing their home for sale

  • The most common home improvement projects that recent sellers completed to prepare their home for sale were interior painting, carpet cleaning and landscaping. The average cost of these projects adds up to $5,388.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 recent home sellers believe the projects they completed helped their home sell. 
  • Nearly one-third of recent sellers think they could have gotten a higher price had they made more home improvements or repairs.   

SEATTLE, Dec. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Sellers gearing up for the spring home shopping season need to roll up their sleeves now and spruce up their homes if they want to attract a shrinking pool of buyers. Investing in improvements, maintenance and repairs could pay off when it's time to sell. New research commissioned by Zillow and conducted by The Harris Poll finds a majority of recent sellers (65%) take on at least two home improvement projects to prepare their home for sale, while Thumbtack data finds they can invest about $5,400 on average when hiring a professional to complete the most common projects.   

The survey finds that sellers who sold their home within the past two years most commonly completed interior painting (40% did this), carpet cleaning (35%) and landscaping (33%) before listing their home for sale. 

Data from Thumbtack shows the average cost of those projects adds up to $5,388, but can average as much as $8,249 in metro areas like Seattle-Tacoma and as little as $4,102 in metro areas like Miami–Fort Lauderdale. In addition to location, costs for these home improvements can vary based on the size and scope of the project. For instance, smaller landscaping projects, such as flower planting, lawn upkeep and shrub trimming, can cost several hundred dollars, while larger projects involving tree planting and sprinkler installation can cost thousands.

"These projects can instantly boost a home's online curb appeal," said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow's home trends expert. "An inviting outdoor space, clean floors and a fresh coat of paint — particularly in the right color — can deliver a powerful signal to potential buyers that a home is well-maintained and contemporary. While sellers may be reluctant to shell out for these projects up front, those improvements can ultimately pay off, either by helping a home sell faster or for more money."  

Nearly 3 in 4 recent sellers (74%) believe the improvement projects they completed to prepare their home for sale helped their home sell. The top projects that recent sellers say helped sell their homes were interior painting (27%) and landscaping (21%). 

"A well-maintained home is one of the best ways for homeowners to attract buyers," said David Steckel, home expert at Thumbtack. "Thumbtack research finds a well-maintained home can sell for about 10% more than a similar home in average condition. Buyers are making life's biggest investment, and they want the peace of mind that they're investing in a home that was well cared for." 

When considering which projects to skip, only 11% of recent sellers thought appliance repair or replacement, and roof repair, maintenance or cleaning helped sell their home. Meanwhile, fewer than 1 in 5 of recent sellers (17%) believe completing a kitchen renovation to prepare their home for sale helped sell it. While costs vary depending on the work done and materials chosen, this project can average $10,355.

Neglecting needed repairs and minor cosmetic updates can lead to seller regret, particularly in today's shifting market. The Zillow survey found that 30% of recent sellers think more home improvements or repairs would have helped them get a higher sale price. Separate Zillow research finds that about 2 in 3 real estate agents believe today's sellers are mistaken if they think they don't need to make home improvements before selling. 

Late April is traditionally the best time to list a home for sale, which means now is the time to get a jump on any repairs or improvements. Previous Zillow research found that the top seller's regret is that they didn't start the process of preparing their home for sale sooner. And one-quarter of sellers who made at least one home improvement before listing their home for sale say it took longer than expected. 

Today's housing market is far different than the frenzied pandemic era of bidding wars and record-fast sales. A recent Zillow analysis finds that homes are now lingering on the market for a median of 54 days, 45% longer than last year. However, the listings that are finding buyers are doing so in 18 days nationwide, suggesting the most appealing homes are still moving very quickly. A trusted local real estate agent can help sellers decide which projects are worth the investment based on the market in their neighborhood, and Thumbtack can help homeowners find a local professional to get the job done.

Home improvement projects to
prepare home for sale

Share of recent sellers who
complete the project

Average cost according to
Thumbtack data

Painted interior of home

40 %

$1,432

Cleaned carpet

35 %

$174

Landscaped yard

33 %

$3,782

Replaced carpet

31 %

$1,679

Replaced or refinished floors

29 %

$2,345

Replaced light fixtures

27 %

$317

Remodeled bathroom

27 %

$5,291

Remodeled kitchen

27 %

$10,355

Replaced roof

27 %

$4,919

Painted exterior of home

27 %

$2,932

Installed or repaired appliances

26 %

$134

Decluttered or organized home

25 %

$196

Replaced windows

22 %

$1,155

Repaired, maintained or cleaned roof

20 %

$628

About Zillow Group

Zillow Group, Inc. Z is reimagining real estate to make it easier to unlock life's next chapter. As the most visited real estate website in the United States, Zillow® and its affiliates offer customers an on-demand experience for selling, buying, renting or financing with transparency and ease. 

Zillow Group's affiliates and subsidiaries include Zillow®, Zillow Premier Agent®, Zillow Home Loans™, Zillow Closing Services™, Trulia®, Out East®, ShowingTime®, Bridge Interactive®, dotloop®, StreetEasy® and HotPads®. Zillow Home Loans, LLC is an Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #10287 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).

About Thumbtack

Thumbtack is a technology leader building the modern home management platform. Through the Thumbtack app, homeowners can effortlessly manage their homes — confidently knowing what to do, when to do it, and who to hire. Bringing the $600 billion home services industry online, Thumbtack empowers millions of homeowners to fix, maintain, and improve their most valuable asset. Hundreds of thousands of local service professionals, from painters and plumbers to photographers and electricians, use the Thumbtack platform to grow their business each year.

 

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SOURCE Zillow Group, Inc.

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