Real Estate Math: What Can Increase and Decrease a Home’s Value

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Little things can make a big difference in how much you ultimately sell a property for, according to a group of New York brokers who say just a few small, smart improvements to a home can increase the sales price by 5 to 10 percent.

They’ve calculated it down to a science. In a recent New York Times article, “To Sell an Apartment, No Detail Is Too Small,” brokers in New York City share how seemingly small defects in a home can drastically affect the home’s final sales price and how just a few small staging upgrades–like throw pillows–can actually increase the value.

Here are some examples of what these New York brokers have found that can impact a sales price. (Keep in mind these are based on New York rents so the prices reflected below may be higher than many other markets.)

WHAT CAN DECREASE A PROPERTY’S VALUE

  • Chipped plaster or broken bathroom tiles: Knock $500 to $5,000 off an offer
  • Dirty rugs: Subtract $5,000
  • Clutter: Subtract 5 to 15 percent from sales price

WHAT CAN INCREASE A PROPERTY’S VALUE

  • Fresh towels and throw pillows (estimated cost: $700): Add $25,000 to sales price
  • New lights (cost: $2,000 replacing lighting fixtures and $250 for a professional lighting designers expertise): Add $32,500
  • Professional paint job (estimated cost: $10,000): Add $50,000 to the sales price
  • Replacing cabinets (estimated cost: $20,000 on new kitchen cabinets and paint): Add $107,000