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Pack it up, and get the house ready for market

When it comes time to put the house

When it comes time to put the house on the market, pack up the clutter and clean. Credit: iStock

The lowly scrub brush could be a more valuable investment than a new kitchen appliance when it comes to preparing your home for sale. That’s according to a new survey by HomeGain, a real estate website, that shows that cleaning and decluttering tops the list of low-cost, do-it-yourself home improvement projects that gave sellers the highest return on investment – a whopping 403 percent on average.

Meanwhile, kitchen upgrades such as replacing a microwave or updating cabinet hardware showed only a 66 percent return on investment.

A clean and clutter-free home costs next-to-nothing, yet it makes it easy for buyers to imagine themselves living there. “If you stuff your closets, people think you don’t have enough storage, not that you have too much junk. Organize so it looks like there’s room for everything,” suggests Diane Saatchi of Saunders & Associates.

Decluttering provides a double benefit, she explains. “Have a tag sale first. Get some cash, use that to replace the carpet or have the windows cleaned or whatever it is -- but at the same time, you’ve also cleaned out the basement and attic and closets and gotten the place to look more spacious.”

Other projects that made the top five were lightening and brightening the interior (299 percent return), repairing electrical and plumbing (293 percent), landscaping (215 percent) and home staging (196 percent).

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