How to Avoid Over Improving Your Santa Cruz Home

Posted by Lauren Spencer on Sunday, March 20th, 2011 at 11:01pm.

As a homeowner, one of the biggest traps you can fall into is over improving your Santa Cruz home. 

Turn on any home improvement channel, and they will show you all the latest and greatest in must haves for your Santa Cruz home.  What they don’t tell you is that even the best upgrades won’t guarantee an increase in your resale value.  In fact, most remodel jobs only recoup 60% to 70% of their costs.

Here are some tips to help you avoid over improving your home:

Assess the value of homes in your neighborhood. 

Unless you plan on staying in your Santa Cruz home forever, do some research on the home values in your neighborhood before you begin any home renovations. Ideally, you want to add improvements that increase the resale value of your home while staying within the average market price of homes in your neighborhood. 

For example, if the homes in your area sell for an average of $250,000, with the highest priced home in the area going for $350,000, make home renovations that increase the value of your property to the average home price of $250,000 or less.  You do not want to be the highest priced home in your neighborhood.  And, the last thing you want to do is to put more money into your home than you can get back. 

Pick the projects you want to tackle. 

Start with home maintenance and repair projects like fixing the foundation, roofing, painting, carpeting and upgrading windows.  If your home isn’t well cared for, it will show and potential buyers will move on to the next home for sale.

"Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes."  Sound familiar?  Excluding location and price, this is a true statement.  Updating your kitchen and baths are excellent projects to tackle to increase the value of your home.

Refinish or replace rather than completely renovate. 

You don’t have to do a complete kitchen or bath renovation.  Minor improvements such as refinishing cabinets, replacing old hardware and adding new fixtures make a big difference in the appearance of baths and kitchens.  And, you’ll conserve your financial outlay.

If you’re planning to renovate your home before putting it on the market, I can help you identify the projects that will increase your resale value or get your home sold faster.  Give me a call today at 831.662.6522 or email me at

For additional information please visit my website at


Over improving your home
Home maintenance and repair projects

Refinishing cabinets

About Lauren Spencer

Award-Winning Santa Cruz REALTOR®

Lauren Spencer is your local real estate expert, specializing in Santa Cruz real estate and surrounding communities—this is where she lives, works, and plays too. Let her know your questions about the community and county and she'll be happy to fill you in on all you want to know! Lauren Spencer has consistently been voted best local REALTOR in Santa Cruz and is always happy to offer her advice and expertise. Call her at: 800.226.4717.

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