Really? Granite countertops, stainless steel appliances still popular with homebuyers

Zillow Digs survey nails down top 5 home improvement projects for sellers

Making minor improvements to homes rather than full-on remodeling is the most cost-effective way for sellers to boost the value of their properties, according to Zillow.

Real estate agents and interior designers who responded to a survey from Zillow’s home improvement marketplace, Zillow Digs, said that low-cost projects like landscaping and painting walls in neutral colors offer sellers more bang for their buck than full-blown renovations, whose addition to a home’s value might not outweigh their cost.

Granite countertops image via Shutterstock.
Granite countertops image via Shutterstock.

According to the survey, the five home improvement projects delivering the most bank for the buck are:

  • Curb appeal (fresh potted flowers, a fresh coat of paint on the front door).
  • Staging (“neutral colors and minimal furniture are best”).
  • Small home improvements (updated lighting fixtures, cabinet or door handles, and minor kitchen and bathroom updates).
  • Decluttering (“Old appliances and furniture can be overlooked if a space is clean, simple and well-edited.”)
  • Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

Most high-end finishes “don’t equal high-end returns,” says Zillow Agent Advisory Board member Bic DeCaro of Westgate Realty Group in Falls Church, Va. Interior design trends come and go. But most buyers are still requesting granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, DeCaro said.

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