How to Increase the Value of Your Novato Home

  • Glen Barras
  • 06/2/21

Few areas in Marin County offer a more idyllic setting than Novato. Long overlooked as a simple waypoint on the journey to Sonoma Valley, recent years have seen an influx of individuals discovering all that Novato has to offer, which includes a spectacular setting, intimate neighborhood vibe, near-perfect year-round weather, and a stellar real estate scene.

Not only are there great communities in Novato, but there’s also an abundance of outstanding luxury housing. Opulent estates, grand mansions, mid-century moderns, and the ever-popular California ranch home are all on offer in Novato. Though every Novato home offers a homeowner something to love, there's always a little room for improvement, whether it's to make a splashy sale or upgrade an already ideal living situation.

Let's explore how to increase the value of your Novato home — from the exterior updates that will attract plenty of attention on the open market to those interior improvements that turn a great home into truly something special.

Exterior Improvements

When we think about home improvements and increasing the value of one's home, we instantly turn to the home's interior. It's true that upgrades to a kitchen or adding living space will improve a home's flexibility and are popular ways to improve a home's value; however, few areas of the home offer more value than upgrades to a property's exterior. This proves vitally true if you're planning or ever plan to sell your Novato home.

After all, your home's exterior is often where a potential homebuyer generates their first impressions on the house. Even online, the first picture they usually see is of the property's facade — its front door, the garage, its windows, the exterior paint, the landscaping, and any of its architectural flourishes. Even if you're not selling your home, investing in the exterior will not only boost its value but help keep the property in top condition, making it easier to maintain and care for.

Two of the most straightforward upgrades include your home's exterior doors, specifically the front door and the garage door(s). Replacing your garage door offers an incredible ROI in California. Replacement runs from $3,500 to $4,500, yet this switch will yield a return of 117%. It's a great boost, considering the improvement itself is relatively nominal. If your home possesses interesting architectural elements that you can tie the door to, it will heighten the property's curb appeal by a considerable margin. The ROI is not as significant with the front door — an 88% ROI for a $2,000 to $3,000 steel door upgrade, including updated trim and threshold. The value-add here is that coupled with a fresh exterior paint scheme or simply power washing your facade, and this update will add a considerable amount of wow-factor to your home.

It's hard to measure, but a portion of your home's value will derive from the perception of the right buyer connecting with its style and condition, so in addition to the front door and facade updates, upgrading landscaping will further enhance your property's value without an exorbitant investment. If you're seeking to make a larger investment in your home's exterior presentation, there's no better improvement than manufactured stone veneer. Also referred to as a concrete-based veneer, the relatively simple exterior improvement carries one of the highest ROIs of any home update.

In California, adding manufactured stone veneer to your home's exterior results in an ROI of nearly 120% percent. Install costs from $10,000 to $20,000, based on how you incorporate the material. Most often, you install the veneer on a home's bottom third — from the foundation to the bottom of the home's first-floor windows. Manufactured stone veneer is also used to line decks or porches, frame garages, or wrap exterior posts. The beauty of the veneer is that it can be crafted and colored to fit any style. If your Novato home features unique architectural elements, you can use the manufactured stone veneer to further enhance your home's exterior design, and at the same time, increase its value.

Should you want to consider additional exterior upgrades that will earn back at least 75% of your investment, siding replacement carries a 78% ROI, and the addition of a new deck or outdoor space (which also enhances your enjoyment of the residence) returns 77%.

Interior Improvements

Considering Novato's diverse housing mix, interior upgrades may vary wildly from home to home. When trying to increase the value of your residence, you may find yourself limited by your home's lot, its physical footprint, the home's age, or individual building codes. That said, for those wanting to increase their home's value, there are several universal updates that will boost its resale value regardless of the home type or its limitations.

While conventional wisdom says that big, bold updates will offer big, bold returns, that's rarely the case. Modest upgrades will have the most positive impact on your Novato home's value. For instance, a major kitchen remodel, on the scale of between $125,000 to $150,000, typically returns a 54% ROI in California. Obviously, there's some variation to this, especially if you're remodeling a kitchen stuck in the 1970s or 1980s or expanding what amounts to a galley space into something grander.

However, a relatively minor, mid-grade kitchen update including new energy-efficient appliances, updated countertops and flooring, new cabinet fronts and hardware, and a fresh paint scheme will run from $25,000 to $35,000. Its ROI, however, will net you roughly 90% upon resale. Just the new energy-efficient appliances and one or two other improvements, like an updated backsplash, refinished flooring, or a new countertop, will do wonders for the most popular space in your home.

Moving beyond the kitchen, the presence of energy-efficient windows throughout a home is often high on a buyer's wish list. The bonus for you is that these can cut down considerably on your heating and cooling costs while you still occupy the home. Standard window installation costs for your Marin County home will run anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000, depending on the type (vinyl or wood). The more windows, the higher the costs, but the return on this upgrade is a solid 75%. Upon resale, it could prove even more lucrative should your listing be one of the few with this feature.

More than assisting with heating and cooling costs, new windows will help your home feel bigger and brighter. This brings us to another interior improvement that possesses considerable value — new lighting. Particularly in the kitchen and bathroom spaces, new lighting packages completely alter the way a home looks and feels. It increases a property's sense of space without the costly addition of square footage. You can further enhance your new lighting package with new window treatments and interior paint, specifically bright, neutral colors. 

Additional Improvements to Consider

If you're looking to increase the value of your Novato home without a considerable financial outlay, there are a few non-traditional alternatives worth considering especially when listing your home. Foremost, similar to lighting improvements, if you want to improve the perception of space without actually altering its physical footprint, stage your home.

Most effective for those ready to actively market their Novato home, staging will show off a home's flexibility, like converting a den into an office or playroom or showing off an extra bedroom as a home gym or TV room. Although staging does involve certain costs, as it can run from $3,000 on the low end to $10,000 depending on the size of your home and how lengthy the staging timeframe, it also returns some considerable value. Staged well, you could potentially see an increase in value anywhere from 5% to 15%.

Don't mind physical renovations? Instead of staging, renovate an unfinished attic space or basement area into that office or home gym. Specifically for the basement, larger laundry rooms are growing in popularity with home buyers. If your home can accommodate it, an expanded laundry area is worth the effort.

Finally, even small touches make a difference. One such area includes smart home technology. Although they may not carry a sizable impact on your property's direct value, financially speaking; intelligent thermostats, fire and carbon monoxide detectors, security systems with cameras and locks, and upgraded exterior lighting will enhance a home's value in the eyes of buyers looking to the latest in smart home technology. In addition, these tech touches will help your home sell faster versus those without them. Not selling for a while? Smart thermostats and home security will both save you money and ensure your property is safer and more secure.

Ready to explore the best of Marin County real estate? Contact Glen Barras today to start your home buying or selling journey. From Novato real estate to Corte Madera or San Rafael homes for sale, allow Glen and his team's years of experience to be your guide to the Marin County luxury real estate market.


Work With Glen

Always been involved and active in following and participating in buying, selling, and improving properties, learning many valuable lessons along the way (Don’t forget to ask me about 2008). I’ve focused specifically on the Marin County real estate market and have gained a great deal of knowledge, and can’t wait to share that with my clients.

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