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What improvements will yield top dollar when selling my home.

Assuming the market doesn't tank again before hand, we're planning on putting our home on the market in June 2015. Our neighborhood is slightly above middle class and we plan to earmark about 15k total to prepare it to list. I'm wondering what realtors think are the most important details when the objective is getting top dollar. Thanks for any help you can give.

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March 22 2013 - Mesa
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Cabinets, updated appliances, and fresh paint! 
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August 30 2013
New cabinet door pulls are the most inexpensive way to improve value, hire a local landscaping company to spruce up the exterior and make sure the carpets/flooring is incredibly clean before it hits the market. You can obviously do more than this, but these are the first most simple steps that I would advise on to begin with.
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August 30 2013
One thing that is not being mentioned is the return on your investment. You will find the greatest returns on landscaping and paint; your first impression is critical as a potential buyer is driving up to your home and in addition to the look of new paint, there is always that lingering smell that our brains associate with "new and good".

Once you start doing major renovations, consider how much of each dollar you will see back in your pocket after you sell. The most recent stats I have seen showed that you would receive 86 cents on the dollar invested for a kitchen and around 80 cents on the dollar for bathrooms. The assumption is that it is a mid-grade renovation with material and build quality comparable to your neighborhood. If you over build for the neighborhood you will receive less in return for the investment and if you are doing a budget renovation to improve a kitchen or bathroom that was so dated that it would depress the sale price of your home, you would realize a greater return.
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August 30 2013
Besides the Kitchen and bathrooms which come first. Interior earth tone paints or neutrals, landscaping and finish any undone projects.

Look for loose or missing trim pcs, or moldings and fix them.

Putting things away to not aid a buyer in thinking there is a storage problem.

Personalized items should be moved or changed giving a buyer a vision of their things being there.

Stage rooms so that there is no question to 'what is this room used for' .

Sometimes renting a storage space to store things for a few months help to
deal with the headache of wondering where to put things.
Once you sell and buy another house you can retrieve your items and move them in to your new house.
Some people often kept the spaces and use them to store items that circulate with the seasons year round.

There are a few shows on HGTV that address these issues and help people sell their homes. Property Brothers is a good one to view on this.
-Joseph-
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August 30 2013
Profile picture for Rob Hale
I love the preparation in advance when you can make the best decisions.  I would say that it depends on your neighborhood.  Kitchen and bathrooms are some of the most important areas you will want to stand out, but the biggest key is what a buyer expects from a home in your neighborhood and price range.  As a Realtor in Mesa, I know there are many different neighborhoods with varying expectations that buyers have for the homes.
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August 30 2013
Fresh paint in all the high traffic areas.  De-clutter the interior of the home and rearrange the furniture to make each room look as spacious as you can. Try to remove as many personal photos and belongings so that the buyer can envision there belongings in the home.  Freshen up the front yard; flowering plants, crushed granite where it washed away, clean off any dirt where it may have splashed on the home.  

If you need to update the home more focus on the kitchen first and then the bathrooms.  It is best to choose neutral colors.  

Get inspiration by walking through many of the model homes that big builders are holding open.

Best of luck!
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August 29 2013
Find a realtor who specializes in staging.  A good realtor who prides themselves on staging will come meet with you now (even though you aren't selling for a couple more years) to help you prioritize your upgrade/repair/replace list around the house so that you will get the best bang for your buck when you are ready to sell in a couple years.  It is a free service that many "staging" realtors will provide to help build a relationship so that when you are ready to sell you will call them.  You are very smart to think about this early.  It will make your "to do" list a whole lot smaller when the time comes to put it on the market!
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March 23 2013
Bill's list rocks.

Basically - clean everything. Fix everything, and if it can't be fixed, replace it. Don't add or improve or remodel or renovate.

All the best,
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March 23 2013
Spending money on the outside is just as important as the inside. Curb appeal will tell a buyer if they want to get out of the car to go inside.  Once inside the buyer needs to be able to see themselves living in this space.  A fresh coat of paint with a neutral color and taking away any personalized items will help the buyer take you out of the home and put themselves into the home. Spring cleaning will give the home a fresh look. Getting rid of old clothes and things you don't need will make the rooms and closet look bigger. 
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March 23 2013
Remember... You only get one chance at a 1st impression!  So Make sure the entrance to the home is as pleasant as it can be.  New paint, new front door or newly painted with new hadware, flowers for color ... Make a Great 1st impression.  Then if possible follow up with an up dated kitchens and bathrooms.  New handles, faucets, etc. go a long way.  Hope this help. Don McMullin
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March 23 2013
It's hard to give you a good answer with out being at the property. I would suggest you consider this, with out seeing your home. 1,2 and 5-15 of Ecklers list, and hold back as much of the 15k as you can for any contributions that might be needed to  get past any buyer / lender issues that come up at the last minute.
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March 23 2013
I agree with so many of the people on here, kitchens and master-baths. Also that curve appeal is so important when you are driving up to the property.

Few other things to consider
-Get rid of clutter
-Closets when they are packed it makes them look a lot smaller
-Clean the house top to bottom
-Light switch covers, very inexpensive but makes a world of difference
-Fresh paint
-Floors shampoo carpets and make sure wood floors are cleaned
-Pet odors, smoke odors get rid of them
-Take down personal pictures, you want them to looking at your house, too many buyers get involved in the pictures and then have a hard time seeing themselves in the house.

These are just a few of the things that will help. I wish you the best in selling your house.
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March 23 2013
This investment of "time and energy" can in many cases,  out weigh spending a large amount of money. Consider the following:

1. Do a deep clean
2. fix what needs to be repaired
3. paint and freshen up the interior
4. minimize-renting or finding a storage area may help
5. organize things-especially cupboards and closets
6. don't allow pets to be "center stage"
7. store family pictures
8. refrigerator magnets are a "no-no"
9. make sure your entry ways are not a "round-up" area for shoes
10. plant, prune, mow, and trim
11. be aware of your home's air quality
12. 1st impression-location & price...2nd impression-curb appeal
13. furnishings-remember, "less is more"
14. your garage should be as appealing as the inside of your home
15. make sure it "shines!"

You can prepare your home for selling by spending a couple hundred or thousands...the choice is yours.
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March 23 2013
When you want to sell your property, first impression is critical. The entire intention is to prepare your home to attract buyers to your property.  From the moment buyers first see the outside of the home, they begin to judge it, and, unless they are looking for a fixer upper, they will be shopping for a home that is well kept, clutter free and clean.  This is the reason that home improvements make such a difference in attracting buyers, and boosting the home's selling price.
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March 22 2013
If you haven't already done so, be sure and consider using at least some of that money to landscape and spruce up the curb appeal. It is traditionally the only improvement that gets at or above dollar for dollar return. 

However, although many remodels won't get dollar for dollar returns, they may be the difference  in selling quickly or even selling at all some times. 

You can read articles and generalizations all day long though, but you will get more specific advice by having two or three real estate agents walk through your home and advise. Good Luck!
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March 22 2013
I have to agree with Dean that kitchens and bathrooms sell the house. Curb appeal is also important. Absolutely no clutter in any room. Neutral colors usually work best.
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March 22 2013
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Back in the day, we upgraded the cabinetry in the kitchen. The cabinets really helped to sell the house - although I can't say that it necessarily added to the sale price.
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March 22 2013
I would certainly be happy to walk through the home and give you some recommendations.  
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March 22 2013
So it is a conditional answer.. the kitchen then master bath, then other baths.. BUT that is assuming it doesnt totally outshine the rest of your house. But those are the places I believe have the most return. 
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March 22 2013
 
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