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This Is How Much Homeowners Are Spending to Get Their Homes Market-Ready in 2020


[Updated: Mar 04, 2021 ] Apr 06, 2020 by Matt Frankel, CFP
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In a recent Millionacres survey, homeowners planning to sell their homes in 2020 shared how much they expect to spend getting their homes ready to sell.

I won't keep you in suspense. Here's how the responses broke down:

Spending Range % of Respondents
$0 3.8%
$1 - $1,000 11.8%
$1,001 - $5,000 29.9%
$5,001 - $10,000 21.3%
$10,001 - $15,000 12.4%
$15,001 - $20,000 5.1%
$20,001 - $25,000 6.1%
$25,001 - $30,000 3.5%
More than $30,000 6.1%

Data source: Millionacres. Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

Two-thirds of home sellers plan to spend less than $10,000 getting their homes ready to sell. But as you can see, there's a wide spectrum, and that's because of the extremely wide range when it comes to the costs of certain projects. For example, hiring a company to stage your home might cost you a couple thousand dollars. On the other hand, if you need to bring your electrical systems and plumbing up to code or deal with structural issues before you list your home, you could easily land in the "more than $30,000" spending category.

One key takeaway is that virtually all homeowners are planning to spend something. Fewer than 4% of sellers are planning to list their home without spending any money. To be fair, this could simply mean that they're doing more of the heavy lifting themselves without paying someone else to do it (say, a deep clean or some yard work and landscaping).

Types of projects people do before selling their homes

If you're curious about where all of this pre-listing spending is going, here are nine of the most common projects homeowners complete before putting their homes on the market, and the ballpark cost of each.

Fresh paint: A new coat of paint can certainly do wonders for the appeal of your home. The average cost of having the interior of your home professionally painted is $6,900, according to Fixr, but you can save money by either doing the work yourself or only having the most important areas of the home painted -- say, the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom.

Carpeting or flooring: If your carpet is visibly old or your hardwoods have seen better days, it could be a good idea to replace or refinish your flooring. Carpet installation costs an average of $980 to $1,680 per room. New hardwood floors cost about $4,000 per 2,000 square feet, and refinishing your existing hardwoods costs about one-fourth of that amount.

Landscaping: The cost of landscaping can vary dramatically depending on how much work you plan to do. Keep in mind that the exterior of your home is the first thing buyers will see, so don't ignore this part of the puzzle.

Staging: Professional home staging can cost anywhere from $1,500 for a smaller home to $10,000 for large luxury homes. The majority of real estate agents say that staging results in higher offer prices, so it's worth considering.

New front door: There are few repairs that give you more bang for the buck than replacing your front door, especially if your existing door is worn and unattractive. The average front door installation costs between $500 and $700.

Pressure washing: Similar to landscaping, pressure washing the exterior of your home can help make a great first impression. It typically costs just a few hundred dollars, or you can buy or rent a pressure washer and do it yourself.

Kitchen renovations: A dated kitchen can make it difficult to sell a home. While you don't necessarily need a full-scale renovation, you could install new cabinets (at an average cost of $6,412 to $11,400) or granite countertops ($3,000 to $3,500 for 30 square feet) or update your appliances (cost varies).

New roof: It can be very tough to sell a home with a roof that's visibly past its useful lifespan. A new roof can be expected to cost between $5,250 and $10,500, and it can be a very attractive feature for buyers.

Electrical and plumbing upgrades: Charming older homes can be very appealing to buyers, but older electrical systems and plumbing are not. If you have outdated electrical or plumbing in your home, it's a good idea to update it before selling. This can get expensive. For example, replacing all the electrical wiring in a home can cost upwards of $8,000 -- but it can be very tough to sell a home if its electrical system is from the 1940s.

One thing to keep in mind

As a final thought, I'd strongly suggest that whatever repairs, improvements, or other projects you do, keep it neutral. Even if it's not what you would personally enjoy, stick with beige or light gray paint, a neutral-colored carpet, fixtures that are nice but basic, and so on. The goal is to make your home appealing to as many buyers as possible, so plan your pre-listing projects accordingly.

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