When you’re getting ready to sell your Silicon Valley home, you naturally want to do everything you can to increase its value. But which improvements and repairs are the most likely to do that?
Many major improvements rarely pay off in the near term – it typically takes two to three years or longer for your investment to pay off. The better option when you’re planning to sell your home, and you have the money, is to focus on the few major upgrades that do pay off and on small, relatively inexpensive changes that will have the biggest impact on potential buyers.
In reality, it’s those small, inexpensive changes that bring in the largest return on your investment:
- Staging 590%
- Improving lighting 570%
- Landscaping 475%
Projects with the highest ROI when selling your Silicon Valley home
- Insulation – Adding fiberglass insulation to the attic may return a whopping 272 percent of your investment. Good news, since the national average cost of this project is $1,343.
- Entry Door – Replace your wooden door with a steel one and you’ll realize a 123.8 percent return on the money spent. Add a fiberglass door instead and you’ll realize a 138.5 percent ROI. For even more bang for the buck, Zillow suggests that if you paint the door navy blue or dark gray, you’ll net an extra $1,514.
- Manufactured Stone Veneer – Apply this to the home and you’ll realize a 128.2 percent ROI.
- Minor Kitchen Remodel — Install new kitchen cabinet fronts with wood panels and add new hardware, replace laminate countertops, add energy-efficient appliances, replace the sink and faucet, repaint the walls and trim and replace the flooring. ROI? 124 percent.
- Garage Door Replacement – Replace a 16×7-foot garage door with an embossed steel, uninsulated, single-layer, four-section door and replace the tracks with galvanized steel tracks. Keep the existing motorized opener for a ROI of 116.8 percent.
The type of project you do and how it fits in with other homes in the area can have a big influence on payback. If you put your money into the wrong type of improvement, you won’t get your money back. But if you’re smart about what you do, you can add value to your home, which will make marketing it in the future even easier. The payback will be better on improvements that are in demand and conform to your neighborhood’s standards.
The 5 improvements that aren’t likely to pay off
- Deck Addition 88.9% ROI
- Roof Replacement 88.3% ROI
- Bathroom Addition 77% ROI
- Backyard Patio 61.6% ROI
- Backup Power Generator 60% ROI
Consider carefully the following additions:
- Swimming pools — Swimming pools can be a poor investment in most parts of the country. In the Pacific Southwest, especially here in California and the Gulf states, if your neighbors all have pools, then it’s wise to invest in one as well.
- Highly personal upgrades — The popularity of a project will factor into how much it pays back. An improvement heavily customized to your wants and needs won’t pay back as well as something more common to other homes in the neighborhood. Remember: appeal to the masses, and keep things neutral.
Other Silicon Valley Home-Selling Tips:
- Never improve a house to the point where its market value is more than 20 percent higher than the most expensive home in the neighborhood.
- Protect the character of your home. Nothing stands out more than a new addition that reflects a completely different architectural style. Recognize your home’s character and stay within its framework.
If you can do the work yourself, you will save significantly on the project. Otherwise, hire a reputable contractor and make sure to obtain the appropriate permits before starting the work.
Replacing a discolored toilet bowl, ensuring all the windows in the home work properly or getting rid of dead landscaping may seem trivial compared to the larger projects, but such things can have a big and positive impact on prospective buyers.
Contact me for advice
I’ve worked with dozens of homebuyers and sellers in Silicon Valley over the years. Because I know the valley so well, I can help you determine which repairs and upgrades will make the most sense for where you live.
I’m happy to visit your home and give you my honest opinion — for free and with no obligation — about where you should focus your efforts and money before you put your home on the market.