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Cleaning and decluttering will garner sellers a 403 percent return on their investment when they sell their homes this spring compared to a 293 percent return for electrical and plumbing upgrades and 196 percent for staging.

Sellers Get More from Cash from Cleaning

Cleaning and decluttering will garner sellers a 403 percent return on their investment when they sell their homes this spring compared to a 293 percent return for electrical and plumbing upgrades and 196 percent for staging.

The results from HomeGain’s annual 2012 D-I-Y Home Improvements for Sellers spiked a few myths about what improvements pay off in marketing homes today. Nearly 500 real estate agents nationwide participated in the survey to determine the top 10 low cost, do-it-yourself home improvements for people getting their home ready to sell.

Cleaning and de-cluttering continues to rank as the top suggested home improvement (since the survey was originally conducted in 2003). This low cost home improvement is recommended by 99 percent of real estate professionals. The average recommended cost is $402 with a returning value of just over $2,000 to the home’s sale price, or a 403 percent return.

In past surveys, home staging and lightening and brightening were battling it out for the number two spot on the top 10 list. In the 2011 survey, lightening and brightening reclaimed the number two position and held on to it in 2012. Home staging, however, fell to the number five position this year behind landscaping the yard and repairing electrical and/or plumbing.

The three least remunerative improvements were painting the interior (107 percent ROI), improving kitchens and bathrooms (66 percent ROI) and painting the exterior (55 percent ROI).

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