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If a homeowner has $1,000, $10,000 or $50,000 to spend, how would top real-estate professionals advise them to spend the various amounts to maximize the sales price for the home?

Some local Realtors and experts were asked that question. Here are their answers:

Casey Margenau, Casey Margenau Fine Homes & Estates: “Put a dumpster in your driveway and, anything you haven’t touched in a year, throw it away. Buyers want clean and well-taken-care of homes. Do all of the little things – paint inside and out, have rotted wood fixed, clean the return vents, fix holes in the driveway, have the bathroom tile looking good. Repair and replace to have the property on par with others that have sold.  I would not renovate a house to sell it, because 99 percent of the time you lose money on those renovations.”

Karen Briscoe, Huckaby, Briscoe, Conroy Realty Group, Keller Williams: “The biggest bang for the buck is decluttering and freshening up. Giving a face lift like that can be done for $1,000. For $10,000 – Paint, freshen up the kitchen and improve the front-door presentation and that area. For $50,000 – Improve the kitchen and bathrooms, improve and update the lighting fixtures in the dining room, and work with a professional stager to figure out which things about the property can make the biggest impressions.”

Lilian Jorgenson, Long & Foster: “Of course, it depends on the amount. I would advise fresh paint, light fixtures, door handles and knobs for the lower amount. After that, it would be renovate kitchen and baths and also landscaping; cut down, trim and plant. Freshly painted front door and new hardware.”

Casey Samson, Samson Properties: “For $1,000 – Paint key rooms with 2018 colors. For $10,000 – Paint more rooms, repair any items that need repair. For $50,000 – Take it off the price. Any additions or upgrades in that range only return 50 cents on the dollar.  Parties don’t sell homes. Pricing, condition and marketing sell homes. “

Dee Murphy, Long & Foster: “For $1,000 – Landscaping and house cleaning. For $10,000 – Paint and carpet. For $50,000 – Kitchen and master bath.  The most important thing is making the home feel clean and fresh, even if everything in it is 50 years old.”

Dave Adams, Coldwell Banker: “For $1,000 – That would be used for a neighbors’-only open house. For $10,000 – That could be used for either upgrading the outside landscaping or updating a one-half bath. For $50,000 – That could be used to update the kitchen, which is a great return on your investment.”

Natalie Roy, Keller Williams: “For 1,000 – Basic minor repairs, paint touch ups and yard clean up. For $10,000 – Refinishing floors, replacing carpet, painting, staging, making basic repairs and landscaping. For $50,000 – Consider putting the rest into bigger-ticket items such as HVACs, hot-water heaters or electrical panels. You will get a bigger bang for your buck with improving systems than, for example, if you remodeled a bathroom or put in new kitchen granite counter tops where you run the risk of imposing your tastes on an upgrade a new homeowner might not want.  If you do not need a new HVAC or hot-water heater, than put the rest in the bank.”

Lori Shafran, Yeonas and Shafran Real Estate: “Decluttering and cleaning is the least expensive thing that can be done with a little elbow grease. Mulch the front beds outside, caulk the bathroom areas, make the front door and that area look good and change the switch and electrical plates. For $10,000 – Paint and change the lighting fixtures. For $50,000 – The kitchen is alway the hot-button of the house, so check on what that looks like.”

Susan Joy, Long & Foster: “Update kitchens and baths. Change out lighting for new fixtures. Repaint interior in neutral colors. Stage the house. Landscaping is important – are the shrubs overgrown and sad? Put in new front landscaping so the house presents well from the street.”

John Mentis, Long & Foster: “For $1,000 – Focus on the easiest things with the great impact: having the home professionally cleaned including the windows; putting down your own mulch in the garden beds and planting annuals. For $10,000 – Repaint as needed, refinishing wood floors as needed, and replacing carpeting. Take a look at replacing the water heater and kitchen appliances if/as needed. For $50,000 – Look into remodeling bathrooms and/or the kitchen.”

Jane Price, Weichert: “For $1,000 – Spruce up the curb appeal (entrance to home, front door, cleaning up landscaping). For $10,000 – Fresh interior paint and flooring. For $50,000 – Updates to kitchen appliances and countertops and baths.”

Robert Hryniewicki, Washington Fine Properties: “For  $1,000 – Hire professional cleaners, hire professionals to wash the windows, organize and declutter, clean up landscaping. For, $10,000 – Paint the property a neutral color and possibly hire furniture stagers. For $50,000 – Typically, a seller should never spend this amount. If the seller does have $50,000, then possibly invest in additional landscaping, updating a couple of baths. Once you start spending more than $10,000, you tend not to recapture the dollar-for-dollar investment.”

Diane Lewis, Washington Fine Properties: “For $1,000 – Paint touch-up, windows cleaned, landscaping. For $10,000 – Staging, painting, update light fixtures. For $50,000 – Update kitchen and bathrooms and staging.”

Eli Tucker, Eli Residential Group: “My approach is always to bucket pre-sale investments in groups where it only makes sense to do everything in the group or nothing.”

Debbie McGuire, Keller Williams: “If everyone else has granite or quartz counters and updated baths at the price point, then they need to bring their home up to market value.  Also, the outside amenities and conditions are just as important. So money spent on a deck or to stage the outside is very important.  All the other incentives – parties, etc. – don’t matter if the condition and price are not in alignment.”

Rob Ferguson, ReMax Allegiance: “For $1,000 – Straight painting and cleaning. For $10,000 – Refinishing hardwood floors, carpeting and freshening up. For $50,000 – Kitchen and bathroom renovations; replacing an old roof, windows, water heater, furnace and a modern facelift.”

Gloria Adams, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty: “For $1,000 – Take care of key things like having the front door work and look nice, fresh paint inside, working and fresh light fixtures, paint the inside brick of the fireplace. For more, have a digital thermostat, update the bathrooms with high-level vanities and update the windows. Younger buyers like all of that.”

Steve Wydler, Wydler Brothers Real Estate: “For $1,000 – Fix handyman items (i.e. toilets that flush funky, doors that don’t latch properly). For $10,000 – Paint, replace carpets, put in new light fixtures and staging. Tip: use the latest paint colors and light fixtures you’d see in new-construction homes. For $50,000 – Any improvements beyond the budget should be discussed with a Realtor. You want the house to be internally consistent when you hit the market.”

Mark Middendorf, Long & Foster: “Often you have sellers with no money or $25,000. Decluttering, fresh painting, update flooring and carpeting and landscaping. It will take a couple of thousand to do that.”

Dawn Wilson, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty: “In general, for $1,000, the money is probably best spent on fresh paint. For $10,000 – New carpet and/or refinishing hardwood floors, some updates in the kitchen and bathrooms, and annual flowers for the yard if it is the right season. For $50,000 – Remodel of kitchen and/or bathrooms as needed, and landscaping.”

Dean Yeonas, Yeonas and Shafran Real Estate: “For $1,000 – Clean as much as you can. Make sure the front door knob looks nice and works, and mulch outside. For $10,000, – Repair the cosmetic items inside the home, like refinishing floors and updating the carpets. Do a home inspection to identify problems not seen. For $50,000 – Renovate kitchens and baths, replace an old water heater and the HVAC system.”

Ann Wilson, Keller Williams: “Curb appeal gets people in the door, so that can be for $1,000. For more, spend on freshening up the kitchen and painting the whole house. For $50,000 – Remodel the kitchen. No one wants to buy a house and have to redo the kitchen.”

Jack Shafran, Yeonas and Shafran Real Estate: “For $1,000 – Mulch, do touch-up painting, plant flowers and spruce up in the right places. For $10,000 – Work with a stager to best complement the home. For $50,000 – The best place to put the money first is in the kitchen, then the bathrooms.”

Tom Hanton, Keller Williams: “The answer depends on the specific property. Is your house a tear-down possibility? Sometimes $300 for a pressure washing of the exterior and a dozen bags of mulch will make the house ‘pop.’ Sometimes replacing that royal blue shag carpet is the best answer. If the house has recently updated baths and the kitchen looks a million, you might want to go the extra mile and replace the old windows or refinish the floors.”

Gail Beth, Keller Williams: “A budget of $1,000 is a challenge. The best use would be to concentrate on curb appeal. An investment in colorful flowers and upgraded landscaping offers a great first impression. With $10,000, the kitchen and master bath will benefit. In most cases I’d not encourage spending $50,000. There’s a risk of return on investment not happening quickly enough. Last but by no means least, money spent for professional staging of the home will absolutely ensure a quicker sale at a higher price.”

Betsy Twigg, Washington Fine Properties: “I have a saying ‘Remove the ick factor.”  You don’t want anyone coming into a home and saying ‘ick.’ For $1,000 – Clean, declutter and paint where necessary. For $10,000 – Get new carpet, refinish hard-wood flooring and do the obvious handy-man repairs. For $50,000 – A new roof, hot-water heater and HVAC system. Then do the fun stuff, like the baths and the kitchen.”

Craig Mastrangelo, Re/Max Allegiance: “I outline areas of improvements/staging that can be made that will best prepare their homes for today’s market conditions. I think the best bang for your buck includes painting the entire interior, replacing old carpet and/or refinishing older worn hardwood floors. Others cost more, such as staging a home, updating kitchens and baths. Studies show however that homebuyers’ attentions are drawn to a home’s staging (how it presents visually) and to the condition of a kitchen and bathrooms.”

Marybeth Fraser, Keller Williams: “I recommend sellers start with the first thing buyers see and focus some of their funds on curb appeal. Landscaping, replacing a front door, power washing and roof repair range from projects to more expensive overhauls. Kitchens and bathrooms need to look their best. The more you can invest in updating these rooms, the more value will be added. Poor investment options that show little to no return on investment, and can actually lower a home’s value. These include bright paint colors, textured walls, too much carpeting, and yard water-features.”

Billy Buck, Buck & Associates: “For a seller to have a budget to get a house ready to sell is music to my ears. However, spending money is completely case-specific for each house. Don’t put money into something that is not going to be necessary, like if a property is going to be a teardown.”

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