Alan Chu, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

Before selling, how does one decide on what to remodel?

Asked by Alan Chu, San Francisco, CA Mon May 14, 2012

Should certain rooms be a higher priority? Should certain elements within a room be a higher priority? What's a reasonable budget when you are about to move? Anything else to consider?

Help the community by answering this question:


If I was selling a house, I would consider the type of buyer that would like to buy my house before spending money on remodeling....if my house was in a desirable neighborhood then I may not do any remodeling and just sell it as is.

ie: Noe Valley and other hot areas will always recieve multiple offers on fixer uppers....especially if it is a large square footage house...similiar homes in inner richmond received multiple offers on fixer uppers before it even hit the market on mls.

I would look at your neighborhood block and see similiar houses; are they all fixed up and remodeled?
Then maybe you should do a little remodel yourself so that you don't look like the exception and look more standard.

Also, focus on the kitchen and bathrooms; the other rooms could be done inexpensively with a licensed handyman painter.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 14, 2012

Generally speaking kitchens and baths are at the forefront of most remodels and provide the highest ROI. Flooring is also something to focus on if you can allocate it in your budget.
Each individual persons financial means will dictate the product choices they will be able to afford. Often higher end products are sought after by prospective buyers and will aid in selling your home faster and for the most amount of money.
I recommend you consult with 2-3 contractors and obtain bids on the cost of remodeling. Then you'll have a better idea of what you'll have to budget to meet these goals.

Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 14, 2012
Contact a real estate professional who knows your neighborhood and ask him or her to view your home, then to provide their professional opinion about specific improvements. While kitchens and bathrooms are definitely high remodeling priorities, speaking with a professional who knows the homes in your neighborhood will provide focus. Next, contact 2 or 3 contractors and get some bids on the remodel you have in mind.

Feel free to call me at 415-200-7202.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 14, 2012
Yes, kitchens and bathrooms are important, but they're also among the most expensive tasks you can take on, so your ROI may not be there if you're selling quickly. And as a seller, you're probably looking to do just enough so that you can maximize value on your sale.

Another consideration is that your personal taste is just that, personal. Not all potential buyers may like your new choice of tile or dishwasher or paint color, so it helps to remember to keep your changes fairly neutral to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible.

And don't underestimate the little changes like fixing chipped paint on window trims or regrouting old tile, as per this recent blog post from Tara:…
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 14, 2012
I totally agree David...
Flag Mon May 14, 2012
Lee, just wanted to touch on what you mentioned regarding ROI- (which you're completely correct about)- but here's another way to look at it: say you put in $50k in a kitchen reno but only get $45k back, so you in essence lost $5k right? Sort of... If the kitchen reno helped you sell your home quicker (say 30 days quicker) you can also look at the mortgage, insurance, taxes, staging etc. you saved by getting the property sold 30 days quicker, and your net cost might actually be a profit. But I agree with being careful to not reno something that will not appeal to the masses, and as I had said earlier, it might be better to make sure the property is up to code as far as POS ordinances, having a clean termite report, etc...
Flag Mon May 14, 2012

Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes!

That said, those are the most expensive remodels as well. There are obviously many variables to consider when deciding to remodel or not, so as Axay has mentioned, it is best to contact a Realtor for a consultation. They should be able to tell you the benefits and costs of remodeling your home in your particular area, situation, etc...

Also, something to consider when deciding on remodeling/renovation are the city or county point of sale ordinances- as at times it may be smarter to bring the property up to current code in lieu of undergoing cosmetic renovations.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!

Davey Cetina
Buyer’s Specialist | DRE# 01887446

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate
2095 Rose St, Ste 100 | Berkeley, CA 94709
[t] 510.517.7238 | [f] 510.780.2110
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 14, 2012
For example, San Francisco has an Energy and Water Conservation Ordinance that each property must be compliant with at the point of sale. These ordinances vary city by city.
Flag Mon May 14, 2012

You need to speak with a professional who has a lot of experience in these matters as recommendations will vary depending on your circumstances, location, and budget. Not only do I own the company but have completely rehabbed a number of buildings and resold so I know what works, plus I have a lot of resources for materials and contractors. Contact info below:

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 14, 2012
I would recommend you get with a local Realtor and find out what types of home improvements have the best impact on sales price in your market. Each Real Estate market is different and only a local Realtor can give you the best answer. In San Francisco, i would recommend you contact, Donna Chan, a Bay area Realtor that i have talked to in the past. she can be reached at for more information
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 14, 2012
The varied answers below tells you that there are plenty of opinions. Here's a thought: what happens if you spend your time, value and money to redo room X, which will yield you anywhere from X to 2x to 3x in the sale price but then you hear the buyers hate room x and will redo the whole thing? While you got more money out of the deal, you still spent the time to do the renovations. On the one hand you may not care, but on the other you may. Consider that in the equation too.

But apart from general contractors another avenue you may want to consider is a home stager that does light remodeling too. They will be able to offer you a range of choices with different price points. There's calcutta marble and carrera marble vs. corian vs. cesar stone each with different impacts. But in the end, remember the first thing people will see is the outside and entrance, so focus on those areas too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 14, 2012
Kitchen, Bathrooms, Floors, Paint, Clean, and Stage is where I would generally start my checklist.

However, if you want a specific recommendation for your own place, then I would definitely need to actually be able to visit your property to give you my opinion.

Let me know when you're ready to get it sold and I'll be more than happy to help.



Simon Shue
Zephyr Real Estate
2523 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Cell 415-806-2610
Office 415-674-6578
Fax 415-277-3969
DRE License # 01888097
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 14, 2012
It all depends on the property type, style & current condition while taking into account the possible profile of the likely buyer. If you would like to have a no-strings consultation, feel free to contact me.


Oggi Kashi
Broker Associate, Paragon Real Estate Group CA DRE 01844627
All data from sources deemed reliable but subject to errors and omissions, and not warranted. truonly
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 14, 2012
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