Realtor® to Buyers and Sellers in Encino | Sherman Oaks | Studio City | Van Nuys | Tarzana

What Renovations Add the Most Value and Which Are Overkill?

Home-RenovationIt’s important to prepare your Encino home before listing it, but what can you do to get the best bang for your buck?

Here’s a quick list originally published in this article.


If the carpet is worn out, often in high traffic areas, is dirty, or outdated in style, it’s time to replace it. Flooring is kind of semi-permanent, in that most people intend to keep it for 8-10 years and so it’s expected to be in very good condition.  The prospect of having to replace carpet is a huge deduction off the top.  Berbers are out, and you won’t want to go with anything too dark, too light or too colorful, stay neutral.  If the carpet is not worn, and is a good color, clean them if you can.  If replacing use a high quality pad!


Paint should be neutral and have modern colors, while what is acceptable sometimes varies from region to region, clean paint that looks crisp and professionally done always makes a big difference in marketing a home. This is one of the biggest bang for your buck renovations.


No matter how great you make the place look, if it smells like cigarettes, pet odors or strong spices, it will be a turn off for most buyers.  Ionic air filtration systems can remove even the strongest smells, and renting one of these for a few hundred dollars will be a great investment for some home sellers.

Garage Doors

Old wooden doors that have rot and flaking paint are a huge obstacle, and these can be replaced relatively inexpensively.  We recommend buying the hardware to make a normal garage door look like a carriage house door.  This renovation will make a big difference in curb appeal.

Exterior Doors

Badly dented metal doors, or wood doors that have a lot of water rot or where the stain is in terrible condition really hurt your curb appeal.  Staining, painting, or replacing doors as necessary makes a big difference in first impression.


For $400-600 in materials you can often change outdated light fixtures to modern light fixtures, making the home feel so much more modern.  The difference here can be dramatic, and going form a regular light to a ceiling fan in bedrooms is a big value add.  Don’t skimp here, a $69 ceiling fan will add a lot of value, but putting in a $12 one won’t get you much return.

Programmable Thermostats

These save energy costs, but also make the home feel so much more updated. For $50-75 this is an item that just makes sense.  Some of them can actually be linked to your cell phone so you can control the climate without getting up or from a distant location.  In harsh winter areas they may help preserve your pipes!

Roof leaks

If the home has a pretty good roof with life left in it, but has a leak from a boot that needs caulking or a problem spot that needs to be addressed, a few hundred dollars repair can make a huge difference in the sale of your home.  Make sure to paint the ceiling too show no concern is created after the repair has been made.

Heating and Air

You will want to make sure that the furnace heats and the air conditioning cools.  Getting the units serviced so that you can show records of them being well maintained will make people feel very comfortable.

Termite Bond

Active termites can kill your deal very quickly, and a lot of buyers can’t look past this issue, or will discount your home severely.  Replacing visible damage, and getting the home treated and  under a bond can be a great investment.  Often the damage isn’t as expensive to fix as you would think, but this can be a deal killer.

Staining Decks

Replacing any rotted boards, and putting new top plates can make a big difference, and pressure washing and staining a deck may cost you $100 to do yourself but will really make a difference to the bueyr.

Pressure Washing Cement

Cement that is blackened from years of stain never looks great, and for less than a couple hundred dollars you can rent a pressure washer with a walk behind disc attachment that will make your cement look brand new.


Making sure the lawn looks green, is free of weeds, and is freshly mowed and edged, while also making sure flower beds have fresh pine bark or pine straw and flowers and neatly trimmed shrubs will add to curb appeal and make a buyer feel that you pay attention to detail.

Clean Windows

Windows should be in good repair and should open, close and lock.  Having them clean will make a very good impression.

Granite Remnants

Often laminate bathroom countertops can be replaced with granite countertops that have low proflie stainless sinks for $500-700.  This is often only a little more expensive than using new laminate, but makes a big difference in look and often a very positive for appraisals.

Framing in Mirrors

We love taking trim and trimming the outside edges of the mirror for a much more expensive look at a very low price!

Paint Cabinets & Replace Hardware

Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, and having very dated cabinets with ancient hardware is a big negative, and it’s not very expensive to paint them and put new hardware on them! This can make one of the biggest differences!

Reface Cabinets Instead of Replacing them

This is a great way to make the kitchen feel much more updated for about half the cost of replacing the cabinets with new ones.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, but it does give some low cost options that can improve the likelihood, timing and price your Encino home brings on the market!

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