5 Habits of Highly Successful Real Estate Agents

5 Habits of Highly Successful Real Estate Agents 1920 1280 Skyler Nelson

Success looks different to every real estate agent. Whether it’s increasing your income, getting your name in front of more clients, or finding ways to give back to your community, the end result may vary, but the path to success calls for the same qualities. Daily discipline, measurable goals, and a clear vision of how you arrive at your version of achievement must be present for sustainable success. Here are the five habits to incorporate in your routine to be a top-ranking Realtor.

Make Up Your Mind

If you can’t envision your success, you can’t achieve it. Do not entertain the possibility of failure. You have a unique opportunity to play a pivotal role in someone’s life as they take their first steps into a new home or rely on your expertise to move them out of one.  Although you may not always achieve your desired result, staying the course and identifying what actions produce the best success rate will strengthen you mentally.

Form A Game Plan

The most successful real estate agents – or any professional for that matter – have a specific plan to achieve success. Your plan will look different than that of a partnering Realtor, but success requires planning nonetheless. Great achievement does not happen by accident. Decide what it will take to get where you want to be – better marketing, specific classes, heavy networking – and take the steps necessary to get there.

Measure Your Success

In order to obtain your professional goals, they must be measurable. Otherwise, you can’t hold yourself accountable. If you want to increase revenue, set a dollar amount, define a timeframe, and check your numbers regularly to ensure you’re on the right path. To strengthen a marketing plan, define what that looks like. Will you measure your reach in fans and followers, or in website traffic and lead captures? Clearly define measurable goals and check in with yourself routinely to stay on track.

Enhance Client Communication

Strong communication will make closing your deals easier, increase your referral rate, and make your clients feel they are a top priority. Don’t mistake strong communication for frequent communication – make what you say matter. Set expectations with clients as to when and how you’ll communicate (and then actually do it), return phone calls within 24 hours, and never forget the power of a hand-written note. Your strategic communication will leave a lasting impression on buyers and sellers.

Delve In Digitally

Connect with potential clients with an easy-to-use, informative website and engaging social media content. With nearly 98 percent of house hunters using the internet during their search, how you present yourself digitally affects your real estate success. Add relevant content to your site and measure your analytics to determine what works best. Promote positive testimonials and reviews to encourage leads to partner with you for their real estate needs.

Whether you’ve worked in real estate for decades or you just launched your career as a Realtor, these tips will help you find and keep lasting success with an established Austin, TX real estate team.


How To Stage Your Client’s Home For A Quick Sale

How To Stage Your Client’s Home For A Quick Sale 2913 2265 Skyler Nelson

The reasons for staging a home are simple: downplay the weaknesses, highlight the best selling points, and allow the buyer to see themselves in the home. Making a home attractive through staging helps bring in your asking price (or more) in the shortest time possible. As a realtor, it’s your job to coach your client on how to present their home in the best way possible. Here’s how to stage your seller’s home for a quick sale!


Family photo collages and the autographed collection of Texas Rangers gear needs to go. The best staged homes allow the buyer to picture their own family living in the space – which can be hard to do with reminders of another family in each room.


Your seller may be used to the pile of shoes in the mudroom or stack of unopened mail on the kitchen counter, but house hunters should see maximum space. Piles of clutter or unorganized stuff gives the impression the home doesn’t have enough storage and is smaller than it actually is. Encourage your sellers to rent a small storage unit if needed or take inventory of their items and make a donation pile to create open space.

Deep Clean

A thorough cleaning of your seller’s home will help it stand out on the market. A few ways to create noticeable results include:

  • Pressure washing the outside of the home
  • Cleaning the outside and inside of windows
  • Cleaning carpets or having wood floors waxed
  • Scrubbing bathrooms (even the no-one-can-see-that-spot behind the toilet)
  • Remove pets from the home during showings and place any kennels or toys in a hidden space

Everything in the home may not be new, but a detailed cleaning will give buyers a great first impression.

Create Conversational Areas

Rearrange or remove furniture that makes the seller’s home feel cramped and makes the rooms feel smaller than they are. Arrange chairs and the sofa to face one another to create conversational areas rather than lining walls with furniture. Appropriately sized furniture will accent the space in the room while also giving buyers a realistic feel for what can fit.


If you know the lime green kitchen walls will affect a buyer’s response to the home, encourage your seller to invest in neutral colors for a faster sell. Even if the paint color is acceptable, scrapes from everyday life can leave the walls looking worn. A fresh coat of paint can make buyers feel like there’s less work to do before moving in.

  • Living room: Create an illusion of a bigger room with a light color. If the home is sectioned off with numerous rooms, opt for a uniform paint color throughout so the rooms flow seamlessly.
  • Bathroom: Soft white, light gray or cream will create a fresh, open feel in the bathroom.
  • Master bedroom: Appeal to all buyers with a neutral tone. Avoid the gender specific décor by using a taupe or gray shade.

Use Awkward Space

If your seller’s home has great square footage but the layout of the space is unusual, find creative ways to stage the areas to give them purpose. The nook under the stairs could be used as a work station, or add shelving to an unused area of the living room to offer more storage.

3 Steps To Master Social Media for Seasoned Real Estate Agents

3 Steps To Master Social Media for Seasoned Real Estate Agents 1920 1280 Skyler Nelson

The skills needed to be a successful real estate agent in Texas has changed drastically over the decades. What used to be a cold-calling, word-of-mouth dependent profession now relies on likes, follows and retweets. Becoming a master of real estate social media takes skill, but for those who can build a following, it’s worth the time and energy. As a real estate agent, you should focus your attention on the three most popular (and powerful) social media outlets: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Using Facebook As A Realtor

Facebook is the outlet that lets you connect with real estate clients from every generation, on the buying and selling side of the transaction. You don’t have to be a technical guru or Photoshop expert. Start by building your business Facebook page, add attractive property photos, and share the content you or your broker use on your real estate blog. Building your Facebook page is free, but it is important to know how to create a Facebook ad.

Before you launch a Facebook ad, it’s important to set goals. Facebook provides choices like making people aware of your brand, increasing engagement, and converting lookers into buyers.

You’ll also want to know your audience. Be specific with your ad targeting to reach the most relevant audience. For example, you can choose an audience that is “likely to move,” which is created by Facebook’s algorithms.

Consistency and engagement are key factors to success as a real estate agent on Facebook. Answer questions, post daily and start conversations by asking questions.

Instagram Leaves A Good Impression

Nearly as popular as Facebook for real estate agents is the use of Instagram. Real estate Instagram use is a great way to market your business and the social media site’s dependency on good visuals means spotlighting properties is a great fit. Consistency and really good, relevant content win the Instagram battle.

Because Instagram is focused on visuals, the platform has a number of tools to edit photos, allowing you to create high-quality content.

Instagram photos and videos should be more than awesome properties (that, oh by the way, happen to be for sale). Use this platform to give a behind-the-scenes look of your agency, awesome parts of your city or a hobby that you love. With a good mix of professional and personal photos, you’ll build an engaged following.

Get To The Point With Twitter

Twitter is the social media tool that is fast paced and conversation driven. You’ll need to find the conversations that are relevant to your business to succeed with real estate on Twitter. The site uses a 280 character limit, so you have to get to the point.

Twitter posts do well with images or video. Because the site is based on live feeds, your tweets need to be eye-catching and well-crafted. Generate engagement by using relevant or trending hashtags. Find a way to incorporate them into your posts.

If you’re ready to partner with one of the best Austin, TX real estate firms where you’ll find continued success and ongoing growth, check out what Resident Realty offers new agents

5 Tips For Downsizing This Summer

5 Tips For Downsizing This Summer 724 483 Skyler Nelson

Deciding to sell your home can be a stressful choice, but the process of how to downsize can be easier than you think if you get organized. The overwhelming feeling of what will make the move to the new home or condo in Austin, TX and what will be eliminated can be calmed with a few steps. Start by taking inventory of everything you’ve accumulated over the years and end with a smaller, more organized space where you can begin a new chapter in your life.

Take Inventory of your Life

Take a close look at your life and the things you have in it. What household items do you actually use on a regular basis, and which are collecting dust? If you have a gym membership or a workout space in your office building and the treadmill in the garage is more of an expensive clothes hanger, it’s time to move it out. From clothes to small kitchen appliances, there are items you use daily, and they will clearly make it into the “keep” pile, but everything else needs to be divvied into a donation, sell, or waste pile.

Sort Your Items

As you go through your each room in your home, make sure each thing clearly fits into one of four categories: keep, donate, trash, sell.

Moving into a smaller space means you’ll take less with you, so if something doesn’t immediately make the keep pile, it needs to go. Create a sell pile for a garage sale before your move or take the items by a second hand shop to be purchased. There should also be a pile for donations – GoodWill, community shelter, or place of worship—and for the old, broken, or beyond their years items, it’s time for the trash.

Storage Space First

The attic, storage closets, or basement should be the first places to clear out. These spaces often hold items that we haven’t used – maybe even seen – in years. A good rule is to get rid of anything you haven’t used or worn in the past year. The boxes you’ve been hauling during any move over the years need to be cleared out. Don’t pack something away knowing you’ll never use it in your new home.

Stay Dedicated

Downsizing a home is no small task, so don’t wait until the last minute before your move to lighten your load. Begin weeks in advance, so you can take one room at a time and won’t become overwhelmed with the process. When you’re trying to rush through your items, you may be tempted to discard things you’ll actually need once you make the move. Finish your storage spaces then move to individual rooms in your home. If your move is close enough, you could use this time to begin packing boxes with the things you want to keep.

Take Measurements

If you’re living in a large family home in Austin, TX, measure your new space and then your furniture. Ensure that none of your pieces are too large for the desired room. It may be necessary to eliminate a piece or downsize to smaller pieces so your new home isn’t packed with oversized furniture.

Remember to give yourself plenty of time, be honest when it comes to how often you use or wear something, and if you’re unsure, put it in the donate box. Use this move as a way to cleanse the old from your cabinets and closets and enjoy the downsizing process.

7 Signs Of An Up-And-Coming Neighborhood

7 Signs Of An Up-And-Coming Neighborhood 1920 1440 Skyler Nelson

As Austin continues to grow at a rapid rate, you’re likely to drive through a neighborhood and wonder when it developed from a bleak land to an area bursting with new businesses and high property values. House inventory is a challenge for those looking to purchase, so buying a fixer-upper is one way to buy into an up-and-coming neighborhood. Here are the signs the community is poising to turn the corner from frightful to fabulous.

New business

Has a new high-end food market or organic restaurant popped up lately? It’s worth looking into a community if retailers are flocking to the nearby storefronts. As new businesses grow (especially supermarkets) the housing industry generally follows.

Code enforcement

Take note of areas where municipalities are governing the appearance of buildings more closely. Strict building and appearance codes indicate the demand will be high for business owners and homeowners to maintain the appearance of their property, making the neighborhood more desirable.

Different perspective

You may hear phrases like, “The area is really growing,” or, “Now is a good time to get into that neighborhood,” which means the perception of an area is changing. A boom in new business, stronger public safety (less crime) or a new school can drive property values up.

History repeats itself

New construction homes have seen a surge lately, but more established neighborhoods always make a comeback. Neighborhoods with Tudors, Victorians, Spanish-style homes, or even Mid-Century Moderns see periods of emptiness, but those neighborhoods are now in very high demand. Communities with unique houses and mature landscaping lure homebuyers in to pay a premium, so if you find a neighborhood with an open property – add it to the must see list!

Booming economy

Check out the unemployment rate in the community. See where leaders are making an investment in jobs and which industries are moving into the area. Where there’s an increase in job opportunities, property value will follow.

Schools being built

If new schools are being built or current ones renovated, that’s a great sign of growth. When a school district needs new or better schools, there’s likely an expected population boom. Look in neighboring communities for home growth or a property value surge. If school leaders are planning for more students, you could be on the fringe of an up-and-coming neighborhood.

Short market time

What’s the average time a home stays on the market in your desired area? Get a brief history of the real estate trends in the area. If homes were once sitting for months but are now selling within weeks or even days, there’s a growth trend in the area. Consider the opportunity of buying into the area while housing prices are still reasonable.

There are a number of reasons to consider an up-and-coming neighborhood for your next home purchase. Jobs are plentiful, housing prices are reasonable and the city is pumping cash into the area’s infrastructure. Work with your real estate agent to find a developing neighborhood and benefit from future growth.

5 Ways Technology Is Changing The Role Of Real Estate Agents

5 Ways Technology Is Changing The Role Of Real Estate Agents 1920 1341 Skyler Nelson

The role of a real estate agent has drastically changed over the past decade. The dramatic advances in mobile technology, speed of information dissemination, and use of photos and videos has made it easier for agents to communicate with clients, but only if they’re keeping pace with the ever-evolving tech tools. Technology allows home buyers to view a property, schedule a booking, and make an offer – all online – so agents need to understand how to harness the best digital tools designed for real estate. Here is a list of our favorites.

  • Social Media: Part of networking to gain new clients is meeting prospects where they are, and 85 percent of U.S. consumers use social media. Not only is it important, but social media is a free tool to market your real estate listings, or congratulate new buyers who used your services to land their dream home.

Make it work: Consistency is key. Post regularly and respond to followers when they ask questions.

  • Videos: Facebook Live is a great tool for real estate promotions. Whether you’re hosting an open house or want to announce a new listing you’re putting on the market, users find live video five times more engaging than images. In addition to live opportunities, use video to promote listings and your services. Do a brief explainer of your custom marketing plan for each of your listings or showcase a few properties with a video tour.

Make it work: Keep your videos engaging. If you’re on Facebook Live, ask users questions, respond to their comments and include a link to your website so people can reference it later. Produce quality videos (no shaky, blurry images) because 90 percent of users say quality of video is most important.

  • Blog: Getting people to your website should be a top priority. Once users are on your site, you have an opportunity to request their contact information, showcase your listings, or offer good real estate advice. An updated blog is a great way to attract users to your site. Even if they’re not currently looking to buy or sell, you can offer a free Comparative Market Analysis to help evaluate the value of their home.

Make it work: Be consistent and don’t always explicitly market yourself. Offering quality content will bring people back to your site again and again.

  • Mobile Optimization: Nearly all millennial homebuyers – 99 percent – use the Internet during their home search. More than half of all homebuyers use a mobile device to search listings. Design your website to be optimized for mobile devices, so if your prospects are on a tablet or phone, your site is still easy to view and use.

Make it work: Look into local companies to help build a website designed with mobile optimization. Ask your friends and family to test the site and get feedback for future changes.

  • Mobile App: Even if you have a website for your real estate content, a mobile app is an efficient way for clients and prospects to contact you. You can also use the app to streamline your business and easily send clients information and listings.

Make it work: As with your website design, if you’re unfamiliar with how to build out a mobile app, partner with a local agency and keep the design simple. Feature crisp, clear photos and easy-to-find contact information.

With an increase in access to data, homebuyers are savvier than ever. Real estate agents must learn how to use technology to their advantage and build personal relationships with clients, playing into the emotional aspects of buying and selling – the space technology cannot reach.

How to Sell A House To An Indecisive Millennial

How to Sell A House To An Indecisive Millennial 1920 1244 Skyler Nelson

Half of the current home buyers searching the market today are under the age of 36. Homebuyers in the millennial age group (18 – 34) make up 42% of all home buyers. Understanding this new generation of buyers is crucial for real estate agents to make connections and be successful at pairing clients up with the right property.

Rent Longer, Buy Higher

Zillow released a study of 13,000 homeowners, buyers, and sellers. Statistics show that millennials tend to wait longer than previous generations before making an investment in a home, and Zillow’s research confirms that with two-thirds of millennial house hunters consider sticking with renting at some point during the home buying process.

While Baby Boomers settled for the American Dream in a starter home, today’s 30-somethings shell out $217,000 as a median home price. The generation after that will spend even more, the study suggests, with those from Generation X spending 11% more than millennials on a home. The key take-a-way: today’s homebuyers aren’t getting any more house for the money, with the median millennial home sizing out to roughly 1,800 square feet.


The new generation of home buyers also shows greater diversity than all other homeowners.

  • 66% are white

  • 17% are Latino or Hispanic

  • 10% are black

  • 7% are Asian or Pacific Islander

There’s far less diversity among other (non-millennial) homeowners:

  • 77% are white

  • 9% are Latino or Hispanic

  • 9% are black

  • 5% are Asian or Pacific Islander

Community Amenities

About one-fourth of 30-something home buyers seek out large, urban regions, with more than half looking for desirable shared amenities. With 54% of the generation’s house hunters looking for communal conveniences, realtors may trend toward condominium communities with luxury amenities.

Savvy Digital Presence

Realtors have to have a strong digital marketing reach to attract house hunting millennials, as 90% of the group will utilize an online source during the home buying process. Zillow reports 25% of the home buyers will use at least five different digital platforms to find the right home, and two-thirds will evaluate their finances with affordability tools to judge mortgage options.

If you want to keep a steady stream of millennial clients, as a realtor you better have a good reputation online. Millennials aren’t afraid to shop around for the realtor that best fits their needs – contacting at least two agents when buying a home and three when selling. The best way to gain a 30-something client is to ask previous clients for good reviews. Six out of every 10 millennial homebuyers read online reviews about a realtor before agreeing to work with them. If you need to talk to your millennial client, most prefer to speak on the phone.

  • 30% of millennials prefer to talk to their agent on the phone

  • 24% of millennials prefer to talk to their agent in person

  • 18% of millennials prefer to talk to their agent via text

If all works out well for the sell or purchase of a property, you’re in luck – millennials are more likely than any other home buying group to stay in touch after the sell – recommending your services to friends and family members looking for a new home. With the cutting edge agent resources at Resident Realty, you’ll have all the tools you need to attract and retain this new market of millennial buyers.

7 Reasons For Sale By Owner Is A Bad Idea

7 Reasons For Sale By Owner Is A Bad Idea 600 356 Skyler Nelson

The idea of saving money is so appealing to some home sellers that they’ll jump into an area where they likely have little experience, potentially putting themselves at risk for losing time, money, and a legal battle if the process goes awry. A good realtor is able to communicate their value to a potential client, helping the seller realize that listing a home as for sale by owner (FSBO) is not only time consuming, but can make them the target of scams and bring in a lower asking price than with a qualified realtor.

Piles Of Paperwork

For clients thinking selling a home is a quick listing with a few photos with good lighting, the 2015 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers introduces the idea of intimidating paperwork. The study shows that the number one challenge for FSBO users is understanding the paperwork necessary in selling property. A sales contract, property disclosures, occupancy agreements, and other land records are all required in the sale.

FSBO Properties Sell For Less

If saving money on realtor fees is the goal, FSBO users should take note of the drastically lower offers being made to home owners attempting to sell their own house. The NAR report mentioned above explains that in 2015, the median FSBO property sold for approximately 16% less than the median home listed with an agent.

The money lost is even greater if the FSBO seller sells the home to a friend or relative at 39% less than the median home sold through a realtor.


FSBO scams happen to buyers and sellers. For example, when a potential buyer hands over an earnest money check to a FSBO seller, there may not be a written contract in place, leaving the would-be buyer out a few thousand dollars if the seller changes his mind.

Common scams include fake paperwork, out-of-state buyer deposits (scammer sends too much in a bad check and then requests a refund), requesting personal information, or purchases made through a third-party fake attorney or fraudulent mortgage lender.

Complete Liability

Even if the seller isn’t purposefully trying to deceive a buyer, a seemingly small mistake can hurt you in court. For example, when a homeowner lists “hardwood floors” in the home, but the buyer finds that the floors are just a wood veneer could lead to some serious consequences. That language could potentially cost the seller, as the difference in product would change the value of the home.

Inspections Are Tricky

Knowing what to expect during a home inspection is crucial to understanding what you do and do not have to change as the seller. A realtor is educated on the inspection process, frequently deals with buyer demands, and can inform the seller on changes that must be made compared to those that can be left for the buyer.

Lack Of Marketing

An experienced realtor has a detailed, specific marketing plan for each listing in their portfolio. A FSBO seller relies strongly on a sign and word of mouth. The NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports that 42% of FSBO sellers depend on a yard sign, 32% relied on friends and family, and 15% used social media.

On Market Longer

Properties listed through FSBOs spend more time on the real estate market. Buyers know that the longer the house sits, the less a seller will likely accept to complete the sale. On average, 18% of FSBO listings were unable to sell within their chosen time period in 2015.

Partnering with a qualified, experienced realtor is the best way to sell your home in Austin, Texas. Remove the time, stress and paperwork from your shoulders and allow the team at Resident Realty Austin to market your home and bring in top dollar.

6 Pieces Of Advice To Share With Your Seller Client

6 Pieces Of Advice To Share With Your Seller Client 1920 1440 Skyler Nelson

As a seller’s real estate agent, your clients trust you to get as much money in as little time as possible while avoiding any major headaches along the way. As one of the top realty teams in Austin, TX, Resident Realty understands that a Realtor’s obligation is to walk the seller through the process, do the heavy lifting, and make it look easy along the way. Most sellers you work with will know very little about the home selling process. Developing a smart sales process will not only please your client, but you’ll also build a reputation for great work, leading to more referrals. As you work with a home seller, there are pieces of advice you should share that will make their home more appealing, and help get it off the market faster.

Right Price

Be direct with your seller. Let them know where you stand with a reasonable asking price for the home. Use a comparative market analysis from the neighborhood to back your figure. Pricing a home properly is the most important thing you can do as a realtor to get a property sold quickly and at a fair price.

Explain Your Marketing

Sellers want to know that their home is in front of potential buyers. Communicate with your client to put their worries at ease and let them know the popular home websites where you’ve listed the house, show them direct mail flyers you’ve sent to the surrounding neighborhoods, and invite them to connect with you on social media, where you’ve featured their property listing. When the seller can see that you’re putting money and effort into selling their home, they’ll be less likely to make daily calls just to “check in” on any offers.

How You’ll Communicate

When you take on a client, explain to them how you communicate with sellers. If email is best for you, make that known. Be honest with how often you will call and how long it will take you to return a missed phone call. Setting that expectation up front lets the seller know how the process will work and what to expect from you.

Stage Your Home (or at least clean it)

Clients have pets, kids, dirty jobs, or just untidy habits. Let them know ahead of time when the home will be shown and set an expectation for the home to be clean. In some cases, that conversation may include removing photos, décor or clutter. Explain that de-personalizing the home allows a potential buyer to envision their own belongings and furniture in the house – making it more appealing to house hunters.

Make Viewing Easy

If buyers can’t see the house, they won’t make an offer. If your client lives in the property for sale, encourage them to make it as easy as possible for other agents to be able to show the home. Limiting hours, refusing to leave while potential buyers visit the home, or questioning the buyer’s seriousness in the purchase can quickly cause agents to overlook your listing knowing how difficult the home is to get into for a viewing.

Prepare For Feedback

Often realtors or potential buyers will voice feedback on a home for sale on why they’re not making an offer. Reasons can vary from bedroom size to the condition of the roof, but prepare your client that the feedback is coming and it can be very helpful. You’ll get direct insight into how potential buyers view the home, which may give your client the opportunity to make some small changes to better meet the needs of buyers.

Resident Realty works with each of our agents to ensure their understanding of the Austin real estate market translates into positive results for every client. Check out more about our team and let’s talk about any questions you have about joining one of Austin’s best team of Realtors.

Save Money Selling Your Home With New Tax Deductions

Save Money Selling Your Home With New Tax Deductions 1920 1440 Skyler Nelson

If you’re planning to sell your home in the coming year, there is a new tax break designed specifically for you. Understanding the details of the tax deductions for selling a home – single-family house, condo or co-op – means you’ll save money and pay no taxes to the Internal Revenue Service up to a certain amount.

For married couples who file taxes jointly, the exclusion is capped at $500,000 and $250,000 for married couples filing separately and for singles. Here how to get the most out of your tax break when you sell your home.

Claim tax deductions for selling a home

In order to qualify for the new tax break when selling your home, the property must be the personal home that you have lived in for two of the past five years. Your time in the home doesn’t have to be consecutive, just two years total.

To determine how much of a tax break you’ll earn, begin with the cost basis – the original cost – of your property. Add the totals from any investments you’ve made through home improvement projects as well as costs incurred through the purchase or sell of your home, like real estate commissions.

Keep record of all the improvements and expenses incurred for your projects. New windows, sunroom, swimming pool or sprawling deck – there are a number of improvements that count toward your deduction. If you sell your home for more than the original cost plus home improvement investments, the profit you make would normally be taxed as a long-term capital gain tax and an additional state tax.

For a married couple filing jointly, the house selling tax break allows an exclusion of up to $500,000 of profit from any capital gains tax.

What home improvements are included in the tax break?

The IRS offers online worksheets to help guide you in tallying up the total cash you’ve spent in qualifying home improvement projects.

Home improvements that can be added to your cost basis:

  • Additions: Bedroom, bathroom, deck, garage, porch, patio
  • Exterior: Storm windows/doors, new roof, new siding, satellite dish
  • Interior: Built-in appliances, kitchen modernization, flooring, wall-to-wall carpeting, fireplace
  • Lawn and Grounds: Landscaping, driveway, walkway, fence, retaining wall, swimming pool

Home improvements that cannot be added to your cost basis:

  • Altered upgrades: Improvements you made and then later changed, like installing a swimming pool then having it removed and refilling the hole.
  • Temporary upgrades: Home repairs that have a life expectancy of less than one year.
  • Upkeep: Normal repairs and maintenance that keep your home in good working order. To include: fixing a leak, painting, filling a hole or crack.

Before you make the move to sell your home, itemize your improvement costs. Add the total home improvement investment into your cost basis prior to filing your tax returns.