What are the best pre-sale upgrades to make to my home?
I have been working in the Silicon Valley real estate market since 1999. This question has arisen repeatedly over the years, and often comes up when I speak to people wanting to sell in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside or nearby cities in the Peninsula. Most potential sellers think that in order to prepare their home for the Silicon Valley Real estate market, they should remodel the kitchen and baths, along with the more typical upgrades of curb appeal, landscaping and paint.
In most cases, this is overkill, and sellers don’t get as large of a return on their investment as they would with more modest improvements. While each case is different, most often the best strategy for preparing a home is to take a measured approach, and prioritize the upgrades. This would include paying very close attention to the “curb appeal” of the home. The old adage of first impression is really true, and it all starts with how the home looks from the street. Is the exterior paint fresh? Is the landscaping and entrance inviting? If not, that should be tended to first.
From there, the next step is interior paint and carpeting. Most homes can be painted and re-carpeted for the cost of replacing one or two large appliances, adding a significant visual value. Major upgrades, such as kitchen and bath remodels, are usually best left to a potential buyer. As our local Peninsula housing market has developed and matured, buyers have become much more particular about how they want their homes appointed, and generally prefer to perform these upgrades to their own taste. Sellers who invest major dollars into upgrades risk having those upgrades changed by a potential buyer after the sale is completed. The best way to determine what upgrades are made to a home is to determine which will give the biggest bang for the buck.
As always, the way to determine this is to work with a well qualified, LOCAL professional Realtor, who knows your market and can advise you on what updates will contribute to the highest possible sales price.
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