The Leak: Springing for a Pricey Renovation Before Putting Your Home on the Market

  • Owen Thomas and Amy Kover
The fix: Renovating your kitchen at a national average cost of about $43,860 doesn't always mean you'll make it back when you sell your house. In fact, you'll probably recoup only 91 percent, or $39,920, according to Remodeling and Realtor magazines. On average, you'll recover 85 percent of the cost of a new roof ($9,460 of $11,160) and 90 percent of the cost of new windows ($8,680 of $9,680). A bathroom renovation is the project least likely to lose money (a return of $10,730 on the average cost of $10,500, or 102 percent). A wiser option is hiring a professional who can give your home an inexpensive makeover. "A home stager adds furnishings, decorative touches, and details," explains Alan Montgomery, a real estate agent in Seattle, "down to setting your dining-room table." Montgomery had a client whose home sat on the market for six months at an asking price of $334,000. After spending $5,000 on staging, the owner sold the place in three months for $379,000. Ask your real estate agent or broker if she knows anyone in the home-staging business, or go to interiorredesigndirectory.com, a directory for interior decorators, many of whom also stage homes.
Savings: Vary with type of renovation.