Tips on Improving Home Value

Tips on Improving Home Value

Follow these guidelines to maximize the sales price of your home. All may not apply but you may find something in this list that you might otherwise overlook.


  • Trim all trees and shrubs that block the view of the house.
  • Remove any dead plants, flowers, and shrubs.
  • Keep walkways, paths, sidewalks, and gutters free of weeds and debris.
  • Mow the lawn weekly during the spring, summer, and fall. Mow as necessary during the winter. Spot seed or patch brown spots with sod.
  • Plant flowers and shrubs that add color and brighten your lawn and landscaping.
  • Use redwood compost, decorative bark, etc. as dressing around the base of plants, shrubs and trees.
  • Keep tools, garbage cans, toys, and other items stored neatly in the garage or shed when not in use.
  • Repair any cracks/corrosion present in gutters and touch up with matching paint.
  • Check for broken or cracked shingles or roofing tiles. A pre-emptive roof inspection with repairs can save a lot of headaches later.
  • Check for worn, corroded, or rusted flashing around vents and chimneys. Spot clean and use protective paint on all areas to match.
  • Clear patios and decks of barbecues, charcoal, utensils, etc.
  • Check for rotted boards and posts in decking and fencing. Add support for weak fenceposts by adding ‘sister posts’ or consider replacing posts.
  • Use outdoor stain, sealants, and protectants to brighten up bleached decking and fence.
  • Add low voltage outdoor lighting in the front and backyard to enhance landscaping and prevent accidents on dark walkways.


  • Increase the brightness of bulbs in light fixtures to the maximum that is safe.
  • Keep entryway flooring spotless and have a mat outside for wiping feet.
  • Check tack stripping in corners of carpeted rooms for gaps. Consider stretching carpet where it’s loose.
  • Vacuum often. Dirty carpets wear out faster and unevenly.
  • Keep all windows and sills clean. Use razor blades to remove paint, decals, etc.
  • Keep all woodwork spotless. Use ‘Liquid Gold’ or a similar wood restorative to make cabinets and trim look new.
  • Dust regularly and watch for cobwebs in corners and on light fixtures.
  • Paint any room that needs more than a little touch up. If you aren’t sure, take down a picture from the wall and look at the room again.
  • A very popular color right now for interior walls is KM Featherstone (Flat or Eggshell). Swiss Coffee (Semi-Gloss) is very popular for trim. Darker and bolder colors work for you but my not be universally appealing to a variety of Buyers.


  • Replace worn or dated furniture and keep traffic areas clear. Too much furniture will visually reduce the size of the room. Too many pictures on the wall will do the same.
  • Keep bookshelves neat and organized. Try to eliminate clutter. Don’t hesitate to box up excess magazines, videotapes, CD’s, albums, personal collections, etc.
  • Visit model homes, designer showcases, and furniture showrooms for more ideas.
  • Remove old or worn curtains with new. Mini-blinds and vertical blinds are preferable to heavy drapes.
  • Display fresh flowers from the garden, florist, or supermarket in several rooms. Avoid strong potpourri and other air fresheners.


  • Professionally clean all appliances, counters, backsplashes, cabinets, and floors.
  • Replace broken, worn or outdated knobs and hinges on cabinets.
  • Make sure all cabinets close properly and all drawers operate smoothly.
  • Replace or reface if practical; stovetops, ovens, fan hoods, and other appliances that are avocado, pink, blue, yellow, or brown. White, almond, or beige are the preferable colors.
  • Keep counters clean and clear. Anything not used daily in the kitchen should be stored out of sight. The more space you have available on the counter, the larger and more inviting the kitchen appears.
  • If linoleum is cut, pitted, worn, or a loud and a busy pattern; consider replacing it with a neutral and subtle-patterned sheet.


  • Always keep counters clear. Put away bath toys, shampoo bottles, etc. Keep daily toiletries in a basket that can be stored underneath the sink or in a cabinet.
  • Strip out and replace old grouting and caulking at the slightest hint of discoloration.
  • Make sure faucets don’t leak and replace any fixtures that have lost their finish.
  • Strip old wallpaper and paint. Three-dimensional or foil wallpaper must go makes a home feel dated.
  • Keep bathrooms spotless and smelling slightly of cleaning products. Tilex, Lysol, Bathroom Duck, etc., work great.
  • Consider replacing tiling around tubs and showers if the colors are dated.
  • Consider replacing old shower enclosures, curtains, etc.


  • Keep curtains open to let in more light (unless they face a busy street, freeway, etc.)
  • Keep extra furniture to a minimum.
  • Limit pictures, paintings, photographs, and wall hangings to a minimum.
  • It’s okay to use the closets to store toys, clothes, etc.


  • Keep as many items as possible neatly stored in rafters, cabinets, or boxes.
  • Try to make the garage – one, two, or three car – appear to accommodate that many vehicles, even if it’s full of stored items and boxes.
  • Remove unwanted or seldom used items often through garage sales and donations.


  • Keep fireplaces clean. Replace old grates and screens that are worn or unattractive.
  • Make sure window screens and vent screens are in good repair. If screens are not necessary for certain windows, remove and store them in the garage.
  • Make sure doorknobs aren’t loose and all doors latch properly.
  • Replace yellowed, worn, cracked, broken, or missing faceplates for switches and outlets.
  • Patch and paint settlement cracks on a regular basis.
  • Don’t use the front yard, side yard, or backyard to store cars, boats, and other large items. Get a storage unit for this and anything else that affects the visual impression of the property.
  • Have pets out of the way as much as possible. Even iguanas, parakeets, and aquariums distract a buyer from focusing on the house. Also keep in mind that many buyers may have allergies. Try to keep the property as hypoallergenic as possible (i.e. remove excess cat hair, dog hair regularly, visible cat boxes and pet bedding, should be placed discretely during the sale, etc.)


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    *Since 2007 in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View and Sunnyvale