home improvement mistakes

Improving Property Value: A Guide for Real Estate Agents

home improvement mistakes

As a seller’s representative, part of your job is guiding your clients on improving their property value before the house goes on the market. But what type of projects have the greatest rate of return? 

First, we will tell you what the latest cost vs. value reports say about home renovation projects. Then, we will advise you on free or close-to-free tasks your seller can complete to increase the purchase price of their home.

Remodeling Projects With the Best Return on Investment

Your clients will ask you for advice on what projects to complete before selling their home. Here’s what the latest reports say regarding home improvement projects and return on investment. A handy homeowner can undertake some of these projects. Others may require professional expertise. 

Garage door replacement

Garage door replacement sits at the top of two reputable studies about home remodeling. Although the national average on the cost of replacing a garage door varies, both studies show a return on investment of over 90%

Replacing the garage doors is one part of increasing a home’s curb appeal. Look for more curb appeal tricks of the trade later in this article.

Minor kitchen remodel

Of course, defining a “minor remodel” is tricky because it depends on the property. However, a minor kitchen remodel might include replacing the cabinet door fronts, hardware, and pulls. (Cabinet refacing can be a DIY project for homeowners who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.) 

You may also encourage your sellers to replace old cooktops, ranges, and refrigerators with new energy-efficient models. New mid-range countertops and flooring, of course, make a huge difference – as does deep cleaning.  

Midrange bath remodel

A 30×60-inch porcelain-on-steel tub with a ceramic tile surround is a great starting point for a midrange bath remodel. Also, encourage your client to focus on a new single-lever temperature and pressure-balanced shower control. A solid-surface vanity countertop with integral sinks can be affordable. Upgrade to ceramic tile floors if possible. Finally, remind your client to focus on lighting.

Windows and siding

New windows and siding offer a considerable return on investment, but that investment will be pretty steep. As a real estate professional, you understand your local market and will be able to advise your client on which upgrades are most valuable in your area.

Smart Home technology

Encourage your homeowner to incorporate Smart Home features like thermostats, security systems, and lighting controls. Buyers may be drawn to the convenience of such systems and the potential energy savings that often result from such technologies. 

Regarding energy efficiency, encourage homeowner clients to install energy-efficient appliances, windows, and lighting to attract environmentally-conscious buyers.


It is amazing how a fresh coat of paint makes such a massive difference to a room. Neutral, light-colored paint can make rooms feel larger and more inviting. Encourage homeowner clients to address any stains on the ceilings or chips in the paint. 

Other Strategies for Improving Property Value

We understand how frustrating it is to deal with a disengaged seller. Your commission depends on the sales price of the home. However, some homeowners can’t or don’t want to spend a penny to complete simple, affordable upgrades.

If that describes one of your clients, give them this list of relatively simple and free (or almost free) tasks to complete to improve the appeal of their home.


Some agents go as far as helping clients declutter. Of course, this is going above and beyond what is expected of a real estate agent – and might make some clients uncomfortable (or angry!) – so proceed cautiously.

Rent a truck (or a dumpster), hire some movers, and start by going through each room with your client and disposing of large items that are no longer needed, functional, or utilized. 

Once you have helped with the big items, move on to the small belongings that add to the room’s clutter. Remember that potential buyers will open kitchen cabinets, closets, and other built-in storage, so encourage your client to reduce the clutter in these areas.

If your client has gone through the house and still has piles of belongings out in the open, encourage them to rent a storage unit for a short time. 

Obvious maintenance tasks

Encourage your client to fix broken windows, appliances, and fixtures. Roof leaks should also be addressed – as well as any insect infestations.

Most real estate agents find it helpful to have relationships with local contractors, painters, and handymen who can complete projects for clients who need help with maintenance tasks.


Hire a professional cleaning service and real estate stager to ensure your client’s home is photo-ready. Even if your client refuses to replace the house’s 30-year-old appliances, make sure those appliances are squeaky clean.


Encourage your client to mow the grass and make sure the landscaping is weed-free. Trim the bushes and add a few annuals to the flower beds. 

Hard Work Pays Off in Real Estate

To conclude, as a seller’s agent, being well-informed and aware of the types of renovation projects that will help with improving property value can really set you apart from your competition. It is not always necessary to do huge renovations, but simply choosing the right investments could make all the difference.

Being knowledgeable about which areas give the greatest rate of return is a must. If you want to make sure you are in the top of your game when it comes to increasing a property’s value before listing, it is also important to be updated with market trends. Additionally, staying current with continuing educational requirements in the field is essential for success and growth in your career. By actively empowering yourself with these skills and resources you are helping yourself in becoming even more of an authority within the real estate industry.