Consumer Reports Uncovers Expert Ways to Increase a Home’s Value

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New exclusive CR survey of real estate pros reveals which upgrades can boost a home’s selling price by up to 10 percent; Plus, money-wasting mistakes sellers should avoid

“You don’t have to spend a ton of money to increase the value of your home," said Dan DiClerico, senior editor for Consumer Reports. “Some simple, inexpensive fixes throughout the house can make it more appealing to potential buyers.”

With housing prices at recent highs, it’s a great time to sell; and still-low interest rates also makes it a good time to buy a home. Findings from a new, exclusive survey of more than 300 licensed residential real estate agents by the Consumer Reports National Research Center point to certain factors, such as smart pre-sale fix-ups and negotiable agent fees, that can financially benefit both sellers and buyers.

Fifty-three percent of real estate pros surveyed by Consumer Reports said the kitchen is among the most important rooms of the home to have in good shape before selling. Forty-two percent also said the same about bathrooms.

“You don’t have to spend a ton of money to increase the value of your home," said Dan DiClerico, senior editor for Consumer Reports. “Some simple, inexpensive fixes throughout the house can make it more appealing to potential buyers.”

Here are some other highlights from CR’s survey:

  •     The pros CR surveyed said the best time to sell a home is during the second quarter of the year (April through June) with April being the single best month.
  •     The main reasons people are selling today are because of job relocation and downsizing.
  •     Sixty-four percent said all or most of their buyers did their own housing-market research online.

Money-Wasting Home-Sale Mistakes
Here are some seller slipups to avoid:

  •     Overpaying the commission. All agents (unless a relative or close friend) will charge a commission based on a percentage of the sale price, and may even lead sellers to believe that the fee is inflexible. In Consumer Reports’ survey, 63 percent of the agents admitted to negotiating their fees at least half of the time. And despite the widely held belief that 6 percent is the standard broker’s commission, almost half of the agents surveyed typically charge four percent or less.
  •     Overpricing a home. This is the most costly mistake, cited by 43 percent of the agents CR surveyed. A home priced too high will just sit on the market. Expect buyers to know what the markets like; a good agent will show sellers the sale price for at least five similar homes nearby that sold in the past two months.

The full report, “How to Make Your Home More Valuable,” can be found at ConsumerReports.org and in the March 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine. It also features five top ways to increase a home’s value, appliance upgrade recommendations, Ratings of toilets and interior paints, tips for making a home shine online, real estate agent secrets, and more.

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

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January 2015
© 2015 Consumer Reports. The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®.

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