In a mash-up survey of 450 real estate agents and 1,660 homeowners, homeowners get it - most of the time - when it comes to home improvements that help induce sales and higher prices.

Realtor.com's home improvement survey, conducted online from June 6 to June 13, 2012, tapped agents and Realtor.com users who are homeowners planning to improve their home before putting it on the market.

Given today's home buyers are aware of soft market conditions that can put a drag on values, they want a home that's ready to appreciate and that's a home in the best shape possible.

Nearly 90 percent of real estate agents believe home improvements can help a home sell faster, and nearly 73 percent say home work can boost the price, provided the home improvements are the right home improvements.

Nearly three in four (71.4 percent) real estate agents say sellers too often underestimate the power of simple home improvements - repairs, painting and cosmetic upgrades.

Not so, say more than one in four (75.21 percent) of homeowners polled. They most certainly plan to repair broken household items before listing their home for sale.

Also, 65.9 percent of real estate agents said another common mistake among homeowners is not making 'the right' home improvements for the local market. Like upgrades from home to home help pull up values overall.

Agents, 62 percent of them, also said too many homeowners make specialty improvements based on their own tastes rather than what might appeal to a buyer.

Recommended home improvements

The most common home improvements recommended by real estate agents included:

• The vast majority, 96.5 percent, of real estate professionals surveyed recommend sellers repair household items that are broken before putting a home on the market.

• More than half, 63.8 percent, of real estate agents recommend sellers make kitchen improvements.

• Most, 59.3 percent, of real estate professionals recommend sellers make bathroom improvements.

What sellers improve

Are sellers complying with real estate agents' recommended home improvements? Again, for the most part, yes.

The most common improvements made by home sellers:

• A majority, 75.21 percent, of sellers planning renovations will repair broken household items before selling their home.

• Most, 53.43 percent, of owners plan to add new flooring before selling their home.

• Also most, 53.37 percent, of sellers plan bathroom improvements before selling their home.

Homeowners appear to have dropped the ball on kitchen work, but they aren't pinching pennies when it comes to home improvements that sell.

Home improvement budgets were $2,001 to $5,000 for 24.1 percent of home sellers planning improvements; $5,001 to $10,000 for 22.23 percent and $10,001 to $20,000 for 16.63 percent.

Written by Broderick Perkins

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