In the wake of the 1999 earthquake destruction in Turkey, the urgent need has arisen to evaluate the benefits of loss mitigation measures that could be undertaken to strengthen the existing housing stock. In this study, a benefit-cost analysis methodology is introduced for the comparative evaluation of several seismic retrofitting measures applied to a representative apartment building located in Istanbul. The analysis is performed probabilistically through the development of fragility curves of the structure in its different retrofitted configurations. By incorporating the probabilistic seismic hazard for the region, expected direct losses can be estimated for arbitrary time horizons. By establishing realistic cost estimates of the retrofitting schemes and costs of direct losses, one can then estimate the net present value of the various retrofitting measures. The analysis in this work implies that, even when considering only direct losses, all of the retrofitting measures considered are desirable for all but the very shortest time horizons. This conclusion is valid for a wide range of estimates regarding costs of mitigation, discount rates, number of fatalities, and cost of human life. The general methodology developed here for a single building can be extended to an entire region by incorporating additional structural types, soil types, retrofitting measures, more precise space- and time-dependent seismic hazard estimates, etc. It is hoped that this work can serve as a benchmark for more realistic and systematic benefit-cost analyses for earthquake damage mitigation.