Often times when people sell their homes, the first thing they ask is what should I fix? Well online, you can find dozens and dozens of return-on-investment (ROI) calculators which aim to do the math on whether a given home improvement project is worth the money (or not). They tend to focus on how much of the remodeling spend will come back to you in the form of added value when the home is sold. I submit that this is only one part of the equation, as the primary measurement for many home improvement projects should be tallied up in terms of lifestyle improvement over the years you plan to benefit from the increased comfort, joy or efficiency of your newly-improved home.
Surprisingly, this calculus of what home upgrades are (and aren’t) worth doing gets slightly more complicated in the context of preparing a home for sale. It seems like it should be even more simple – dollars in vs. dollars out. But most agents or stagers will tell you that preparing a property for listing is more art than science, in that there are many human factors that must be weighed and balanced against the costs involved.
For instance, whether a given project is worth doing sometimes depends on the current state of the property vis-a-vis local buyers’ expectations at that price range. It can also depend on the relative aesthetic and perceptual boost that a particular project promises, and on any negatives that the property needs to compensate for. The seller’s budget and even local municipal codes all must be factored in.