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I would suppose that the popularity of "house flippers" who buy fixer upper properties, fix them up and then sell them for a much higher price reflects this bias of buyers for a house that is already fixed up.

House flipping as portrayed by TV is highly romanticized. Worked well during the bubble, but many if not most flippers lost their shirt in the down fall.

That implies that there is likely a significant premium to be had for spending the time and money to meet the supposed high standards buyers want these days, as reflected by comments in this thread.

So I would suppose that people should expect to get back their costs and then some.

Of course that has to be done with a degree of shrewdness and a sensitivity for what people will pay for.

Buyers have always preferred a home that meets their high standards, though I will agree there are probably fewer today who are even able to see the potential of a place, rather than what is simply in front of them.

Article after article warns about what provides best value for fixing up. Here's one that shows you need to chose your rehab carefully:

A neighbor who was selling his home last year was bemoaning how no one wanted to pay for his custom built house with fine materials like a mahogany stair case. Another just finally sold his extensively tiled home with beautiful granite and travertine at about 20% less than his asking. These people most certainly did not recoup their money.

Sure, selective home improvements, particularly those that push emotional buttons, help sell the home...but it still has to appraise and that is set mostly by comps, or what the market will bear.

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