BAM Key Details: 

  • Curbio, Inc. released its Preparing to Sell: 2022 Home Improvement Report, revealing a disconnect between what buyers want and what sellers are willing to do. 
  • Almost half (43%) of sellers don’t think it’s necessary to make repairs before selling, while 77% of buyers indicate they won’t consider homes that aren’t move-in ready. 

In the ongoing tug-of-war between what buyers want and what sellers are willing to do, a new report sheds some much-needed light on both. 

Curbio, Inc. just released Preparing to Sell: 2022 Home Improvement Report, based on its analysis of thousands of home improvement projects across 30+ major U.S. markets. 

As the leading pay-at-closing home improvement solution for the industry, Curbio surveyed homeowners to gather insight into what buyers and sellers expect in today’s market—as well as which home improvement projects net the biggest seller returns. 

The first major insight has to do with pre-listing home improvements and updates, as almost half of homeowners (43%) said they didn’t think it was necessary for them to update their home before listing it. 

Turns out, more than three-quarters of potential buyers disagree. 

What buyers want

According to Curbio’s report, buyers are still selective enough in today’s market to make it worthwhile for sellers to get their homes move-in-ready. 

Three findings, in particular, spell it out: 

  • 67% of potential buyers focus solely on homes with updated features and layouts
  • 68% of them say their biggest deal-breaker is a home in disrepair with visible wear and tear 
  • 77% won’t even consider a home that is not move-in ready 

So, more than three out of four potential buyers will walk away from a home that’s being sold “as is”—a bit like a pair of rollerblades that have been sitting in the garage since the 90s. 

Projects with the biggest seller returns

Sellers who are wise to buyer expectations may still wonder which home improvement projects will net them the biggest return on their investment. 

Aside from any repairs that are necessary to get the home back to the condition in which they found it, different renovation projects can yield very different results. 

Here are the top five home improvement projects, ranked by their ROI:

  • Kitchen refresh (upgraded appliances and hardware, painting cabinets, new countertops, new flooring): 377%
  • Refinishing hardwood floors: 348%
  • Basic listing prep (minor fixes, interior electrical updates): 297%
  • New roof: 288%
  • New carpeting: 280%

A homeowner spending $15K on a kitchen refresh can expect buyers to pay, on average, an extra $71,550, resulting in a seller profit of $56,550. 

Survey data also shows bigger returns for home refresh projects focusing on specific areas of the home—like a kitchen or bathroom—than for full remodels. A bathroom refresh, for example, yields a 256% return while a full bathroom remodel has an ROI of 120%. 

Sellers often have the misconception that putting work into the home means they need to fully renovate their homes before listing, but simple refreshes in your kitchen or to your floors actually have much higher returns and take a lot less work. In a competitive housing market, it’s important for agents and sellers to work to attract potential buyers and make a home stand out. We created this new report as a tool for realtors and their clients to make smart, savvy choices when getting a home ready to sell.

Olivia Mariani

Chief Marketing Officer at Curbio

Home sales this April, according to the National Association of Realtors®, were 23% lower than the previous April. Buyers have more options to choose from, but the industry is still dealing with a severe shortage of new listings and affordable new construction. 

That said, today’s buyers, at least in some markets, are choosy enough to pass over homes in disrepair, leaving them with the additional cost of making their new home livable. 

The Curbio report also revealed that 77% of homeowners would choose an agent who offered a pay-at-closing home improvement solution over one who didn’t. 

Read the full report for more details. 

Takeaways for real estate agents

Keep this report and its key findings accessible to show your sellers what buyers in your market are likely to expect at different price points.

In markets where affordable homes are nearly (or completely) extinct, buyers looking for them may be less likely to turn down a home in need of a few minor repairs before move-in day. 

That said, encourage your sellers to make sure their homes are move-in ready before listing them to increase their odds of a quick sale at a good price.