How to Increase Your Home’s Value


When you’re getting ready to sell your 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 usually takes 2­–3 years or longer for your investment to pay off. The better option when you’re planning to sell your home is to focus on the few major upgrades that do pay off (kitchens and baths) and on small, relatively inexpensive changes that will have the biggest effect on potential buyers.

Here’s a guide for the return on investment (ROI) of popular home improvements:

  • Kitchen remodeling – 90%
  • Add a bathroom – 90%
  • Bathroom remodeling – 80%
  • Install central heating – 90%
  • Install central air – 75%
  • Add a deck – 70%
  • Replace windows – 70%
  • Add a room – 55%
  • Install a swimming pool – 45%
  • Finish a basement – 40%


Best Improvements for Selling Your Home


Kitchens — Installing new kitchen cabinets, upgrading appliances that will stay with the home, making sure the countertops look nice (granite is preferred, if possible), as well as updated flooring and lighting are the best kitchen repairs to make.

Bathrooms — The most important bathroom in your home is the master bath. You don’t need to go overboard on the expense of bathroom repairs, but you should focus attention on the tub/shower, as well as the vanity. You’ll earn bonus points from prospective buyers if you make sure bathrooms are well-lit.

Carpet/Tile/Paint — New carpet, tile, and paint can go a long way toward enhancing the appeal of your home.

  • If money is tight, you may be able to get away with a thorough deep cleaning of the carpet.
  • If you install new tile in the dining room, try installing at a 45-degree angle. It will enhance the visual appeal of the room.
  • Paint is relatively inexpensive and quickly adds value to your home because obvious wall blemishes can be quickly eliminated. 
  • Be sure to keep things neutral, which will appeal to the masses.

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.

Improvements That Aren’t Likely to Pay Off


Swimming pools — Swimming pools can be a poor investment if installed for the sole purpose of increasing a home’s value; it’s rare that a pool’s cost will be recovered in a home sale. It can also be a negative feature for potential buyers with very young children.

Adding a third bathroom — If you live in a neighborhood where most homes have only two bathrooms, adding a third one in your house probably won’t bring high ROI.

Building a large addition — If you increase the size of your home so that it’s twice as big as the others on the block, you probably won’t get your money back in the sale.

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 Home-Selling Tips

  • Never rearrange the interior of your house in a way that reduces the total number of bedrooms to less than three.
  • Never improve a house to the point where its desired sales price would be more than 20 percent higher than the most expensive of the other houses in the neighborhood.
  • Protect the character of your home. Nothing sticks out more than a new addition that is in a completely different architectural style. Recognize your home’s character and stay within its framework.
  • If you can do the work yourself, you can save significantly on the cost of the project and greatly improve the chances of getting a good return on the investment. Otherwise, hire a reputable contractor and make sure to obtain permits before starting your project.
  • Replacing a discolored toilet bowl, making sure all the windows work or getting rid of dead trees and shrubs is trivial compared with adding a bathroom, but such things can have a big and very positive impact on prospective buyers

Contact Me for Advice


I’ve worked with dozens of buyers and sellers in the Campbell area over the years. Because I know Campbell neighborhoods 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 — about where you should focus your efforts before you put your home on the market. Give me a call at (408) 210-2400 or email

Let’s get your home ready to sell!

About the agent
Debbie Marino, Broker, RealtorĀ®, GRI
BRE# 01840227
Contact info
Cell: (408) 210-2400
Fax: (408) 370-9633
1790 Winchester Blvd, Suite 3, Campbell, CA 95008