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Fixing Up Your Home for Resale: Is It Worth It? Hamilton Novato Case Study

Fixing Up Your Home for Resale: Is It Worth It? Hamilton Novato Case Study

We just published a video about how we helped a Novato home seller realize a 167% return on investment in fixing up their home to sell. The video from Realtor Erin McGinnis is below (click the photo). Read on for more details about this successful project and sale!

The house ‘before’

When we first met our sellers (a very friendly couple with children), they were getting ready to move. They had purchased another home after living in this Hamilton home for many years.

The house was built in 1998 and still had its original finishes. Many homes in Hamilton were built in this era, which was during what you might call the “Tuscan” trend of home design, where builders used lots of dark earth tones and dark cabinets.

The main floor had ceramic terracotta-look tile. Some were cracked as a result of poor workmanship, we were told by a flooring installer. The upstairs had carpet that was in need of replacement.

Photo taken on day one of the flooring work, after the owners moved out

The kitchen had tired maple cabinets (well used surfaces) and basic ceramic tile counters with dark grout. The appliances were original and white.

The improvement plan

We knew exactly what the house needed to show its best, without going overboard on remodeling. There were a hundred details, but the main improvements were:


For the first floor, the most economical solution for new flooring was luxury vinyl plank. It looks somewhat similar to engineered wood, wears well, is great with pets, and is easy to install. Sometimes it can float over existing flooring, but many of the tiles here were not in good shape, so all the tile had to go. The licensed flooring installers we used had everything done in a few days.

Here are the family room and dining room after the new flooring was installed (and before our staging):

The Kitchen

We knew painting the cabinets would be a big improvement, but to get the best return on investment in the kitchen, it needed quartz countertops. The existing tile would be a distraction to buyers.

Changing the countertops opened up the opportunity to extend the length of the island a little (allowing room for a stool or two) and eliminate the curved edge for a more modern rectangle.

Below is another before and after of the kitchen. Just love it! The appliances are from Costco. The new cabinet knobs are from Amazon. My advice is always look for solid knobs and handles (hollow ones feel cheap, even when installed).

We did a full backsplash with the quartz which is a popular look right now.

The homeowner and I met at the kitchen countertop store in Rohnert Park and selected a quartz product. After we picked it, I could then select the cabinet and wall colors. The background of the quartz was a true white (many are grayish), so our cabinets were Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace.

For the walls in the kitchen and family room, I chose a white with a cool/bluish undertone to relate to the blue-gray veining in the quartz, Benjamin Moore Pure White.

The carpet we installed upstairs had a warm, taupe color, so we chose a pale taupe wall paint for the rest of the house (Benjamin Moore Wind’s Breath).

The primary suite bathroom benefitted from lots of new additions: paint, new tile grout, light fixtures, a new shower door from Novato Glass, luxury vinyl plank flooring and shiny new faucets.

Home staging

We staged the home at no additional cost to our sellers because it’s part of our service.

Return on investment

The return on their investment was significant.

Again the as-is value of the home was approximately 1,175,000… They invested about $60,000. And The house sold in one week for $1,275,000.

That’s a 167% return on investment.

And what’s also great is they used Compass Concierge to help pay for the improvements. That’s a program exclusive to our company that will front up to $40,000 for pre-sale improvements and you can use any contractors you want. There are no fees and no interest on that loan.

Our sellers were very happy with the process and the outcome. Here’s some of what they said in a Google review:

“Kevin and Erin were very responsive in all forms of communication: text, emails, or phone calls. They got the house staged, and got marketing video and photos ready quickly with professional quality. The open house generated good interest with offers followed. They helped us negotiate with the buyers and got the deal completely closed less than 4 weeks after it got on the market. We were very satisfied with the process and the result, and we would recommend the team without reservation.” –W. Hou

If you want to know how to get the most money for your home when you sell, please contact us today!


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