12 Best Home Improvement Projects That Benefit Home Sellers Most

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HomeGain surveyed 1,000 Realtors nationwide and asked for the top 12 DIY home improvements that cost under $5,000 and benefit home sellers.

Guess what?…

The #1 home improvement that Realtors recommend to home sellers — based on cost and return on investment) is:  Cleaning and de-cluttering!

That’s right. It costs $200 on average to do the proper amount of cleaning and decluttering prior to a move, yet it can increase your home’s value by as much as $1,700.

That’s an 872% return on investment! Extensive cleaning and decluttering was recommended by 98% of Realtors surveyed.

See the other top 11 DIY home improvements that made the list…


The remaining 11 low-cost, do-it-yourself home improvements that Realtors believe home sellers should concentrate on are: (in this order)

  • Home staging
  • Lightening and brightening
  • Landscaping
  • Repairing plumbing
  • Updating electrical
  • Replacing or shampooing carpets
  • Painting interior walls
  • Repairing damaged floors
  • Updating kitchen
  • Painting outside of home
  • Updating bathrooms 

5 DIY Projects Which Cost The Least, Impact The Most

  • Cleaning and decluttering – cost: $200
  • Lightening and brightening – cost: $230
  • Home staging – cost: $300
  • Replacing or shampooing carpets – cost: $300
  • Landscaping front & back – cost: $320


5 DIY Projects With The Greatest Return On Investment

The home improvement projects that have the greatest return on investment value for home sellers are:

  • Cleaning and decluttering – 872%
  • Home staging – 576%
  • Lightening and brightening – 572%
  • Landscaping front & back – 473%
  • Repairing plumbing – 327%


5 DIY Projects Which Affect A Home’s Resale Value The Most

The home improvement projects that have the highest price increases to a home’s resale value are:

  • Updating the kitchen – price increase: $2,850
  • Painting the outside of the home – price increase: $1,815
  • Home staging – price increase: $1,780
  • Painting interior walls – price increase: $1,770
  • Cleaning and decluttering – price increase: $1,700


Cleaning and de-cluttering continues to rank as the top suggested home improvement since the survey was originally conducted in 2000.  See which other items from the list have continued to be high-ranking year after year.


I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money -- so I write about "outside the box" Household Tips and Life Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I'm super-organized. And I LOVE to clean! I even enjoy doing laundry (but not ironing). I’m also a lifelong dog owner -- so I often share my favorite tips for living with dogs inside your home (like smart home design choices and dog-friendly cleaning & decorating ideas). Career-wise, I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started... and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). Prior to that, I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I'm truly passionate about instead. For example, I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. When I’m not cleaning, organizing, decorating, or fixing something… you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've personally written over 200 articles about cleaning, organization, DIY repairs, and household hacks on this site! A few have over 2M shares; many others have over 100K shares.

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