Best Projects For Adding Value To Your Sacramento House

Have you ever dreamt about living in the prettiest home on the block? As fleeting as that may be, every house at one point in time was new and someone’s dream house. Home improvement projects were planned and they were family quests. It was part of living the American dream. We planned and saved for decks, patios and gardens. They were family commitments of passion, time and money. Most of all it was the priority to the ideal and that is hard to maintain week in and week out. As younger homeowners, we found the best projects for adding value to our houses were the projects that we would use. What we didn’t count on, was that after a while those projects would age as well.

So what happened to a lot of those houses, how did they fall from grace?

Most of the time, it was just life’s changing priorities. We age, we lose our focus, our priorities change our access to resources, money and sometimes the ability to continue physically living the dream. Whatever the reason, when that happens, houses often suffer a slow decline from what is commonly referred to as deferred maintenance. It’s usually one thing that leads to another… a sort of domino effect that plagues homes over a period of time.

It happens to the best of us and it can be and often is reversed. The question is how much time and money are you willing to spend to maintain that dream house because it  takes a vision, money and a constant commitment. It is not for the faint of heart, and I know that for the average homeowner  it takes a lifelong quest to keep it that way.

So what happens to some houses that they cease to sparkle? How do you really reverse that aging process. Some paint and elbow grease?

Unfortunately, your house is a living and breathing thing with connected components of sorts. The landscape, the structure and the mechanical systems start out as separate, almost equal and certainly eaches health is connected and and dependant on the other,  but when left to their own devices, things begin to fail. It usually starts outside and creeps inward. The outdoor elements, the weather, the influence and proximity of trees and shrubs, to burrowing animals to wood destroying pests like termites, dry-rot or mold. They all take their toll.  Settling foundations, a roof leak, a broken pipe in the bathroom or kitchen, a backed up toilet. Things happen and systems fail.

When they do, owners of these houses are NOT normally equipped to deal with the ongoing deferred maintenance  on their own and some houses rack up so much deferred maintenance over the years that its no longer a weekend project that a couple of thousand dollars will overcome. I know from first hand experience because I am a real estate investor and We buy Houses in Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto to fix them and give them a second and third chance at that dream.

I also write about them in these articles. It  is what I do for a living day in and day out and I can tell you that for the hundreds of families and houses that I have helped, $30,000 to $50,000 is the low end of the spectrum that we have to spend to rehabilitate a house. That is important, because I am also a General Contractor and I pay 30% to 50% less on average than any homeowner to fix any house. That is a conservative estimate, because it’s usually a larger spread as we take less time, make less mistakes, do much of the work ourselves and because of experience we know what to fix. We understand the difference between a return on investment and value with every project. We know the best projects for adding value to your Sacramento house and we are competitors of sorts when we buy and sell houses. We have the advantage.

Confusing Value with a Return on Investment

For me its a pretty simple formula and everyday I am confronted with making choice,s but today I read an article that I just have to say is absolutely WRONG! Best intentions and all, if you have a house that you want to sell and you are chasing the top of the market to get the highest possible price…. then you need to go on a spending spree to fix everything that is wrong with your house. I am not kidding here… It is important that you eliminate every visible flaw. I am NOT saying that you need to add bathrooms and bedrooms or build a pool. I am saying that if you converted a garage to a bedroom, change it back and do it right. I am saying that if you have old wood framed pullied windows, it’s time to replace them and upgrade.

Do not confuse adding value and the term return on investment (ROI). They are NOT the same thing and home improvement writers that confuse the two do not understand that value is based on perception and a ROI is a measurement of making money. In fact, you can lose money on an individual  home improvement project but add considerably more value than the loss when you look at what you accomplished in total. You must keep in mind that home improvement projects for the express purpose of boosting the value of a house, i.e. the sales price,  must be taken in context by adding the sum of all of its parts to value, rather than analyzing each one individually.

My name is Peter Westbrook. I am a real estate investor in Sacramento and  while I have NEVER had my own TV show, I know what I am talking about when it comes to home improvement projects that sell houses. It’s why people hire me. I cut through the crap. I sit back and I think about problems and formulate plans and I write about the solutions that I implement in real life.  I want to assure you that the projects that I write about are mine and I use my own money that I put at risk. So yes, I might have something to say that experience backs up. So adding value is paramount to achieve ROI and in my latest post, I want to let you know about the best and worst projects for adding Value to selling your Sacramento house.

The do’s and don’ts of a successful home improvement project are not for the faint at heart and are best left to those that are fully committed to the results. Unfortunately, most homeowners do not have what it really takes to tackle a problem house or its reconstruction. What you need is a vacant house, a family on the same page with one voice…. an unlimited budget to just remake the home into something that will compete with a 2019 version of a New Model Home.

Now what the heck does that mean? It means that you can remake that house into a new version of itself. It can be the prettiest house on the block once again and it can attract the highest possible sale price. And that can be accomplished in every neighborhood, with virtually every house. The only caveat to any of this is your cost. Your cost of the house (your baseline, what you owe) and your cost to complete the projects.

So, “What is the catch”? You have to determine whether chasing the highest possible sales price is worth the time, money and effort it will take without over improving. It is really that simple and its really that complicated all at the same time. You start with your base cost, what you owe. You look at what the best house in the neighborhood sold for. You look at the trends in the neighborhood… low inventory, higher prices? Maybe you can catch that top of the market? Are you willing to risk it? Read on…

To do so requires some resources that most homeowners dont have access to.

  1. A crystal ball or home improvement savant to tell them what to do (by the way this is not your nephew that is a run of the mill or part time real estate agent or any general general contractor)
  2. Detailing and formulating plans with a materials list for construction
  3. Experience at deconstructing and rebuilding a house structurally
  4. A Vacant house in which messes do not impact your family or life
  5. An nearly unlimited budget or  line of credit
  6. Highly skilled labor
  7. A sixth sense of what buyers want and pay for
  8. 2 months to complete, markets can change in less time
  9. A Cash Home Buyer is Sacramento so you can forget this crazy plan

Impossible? Not really, but it’s difficult for someone to envision that is not trained and committed to going all in. By the way it all mey end up being a big mistake.

So what are the alternatives to either going all in or selling my house in Sacramento As-is? I think all too often people that find themselves  in a position that need to sell that house, with a lot of deferred maintenance dont know where to turn. The resources are limited, the advice is BAD, and conventional wisdom is non existent.  “I think what happens is that people just throw their hands in the air and it becomes a no brainer to just call a real estate agent. It’s kind of like Pavlov’s Dog, and it’s what we are trained to do. What we should be doing is thinking outside the BOX and calling Peter Westbrook… We Buy Houses Sacramento.

I think if most people only knew that there was an alternative to trying to catch the highest price by spending all of that money, they may take seriously the all cash offer by looking at Fair Market Value minus the repairs offer.  The clients that find me do. Look its a tradeoff. Why take the risk if you dont have to? No Fees and No Commissions and no holding costs…  It is a real alternative and you get to avoid the insanity of;

Selling a house the conventional way is stressful and if you could sidestep all of what could go wrong you may need to ask yourself the hard questions. Is it really worth it and what can go wrong if we decide to spend all of that money and it doesn’t work?

Maybe now is the time that you need to be asking who will buy my house in Sacramento, or How can I Sell my House Fast in Sacramento or We buy Houses in Sacramento. I can help you and this article will help you evaluate and analyze the projects that are best suited for adding value.

Like I said earlier, there is risk in every decision and not every renovation project is good for your bottom line (ROI) but if you can add value sometimes that loss leader may just catch the eye of the buyer in a more important way that convinces them that your house is worth more. Some renovations simply aren’t worth it. Below, we will discuss some of the best and worst projects for adding value to your investment property.

Essential Projects For Adding Value to Your Sacramento House

In looking at the list below you might think that the existing 70’s style aluminum dual pane windows are good enough. But what you are missing out on is the value that someone sees when they walk in and ask…. are those new windows? Today’s buyers want move in ready, like NEW, maintenance free houses. They dont want weekend projects that they will never get to. I can assure you that 98% of all buyers are going to order at least one and possibly three home inspections before they sign that mortgage. You need to be prepared to do the following at a minimum. You want inspectors saying WOW, this is a beautiful house. Buyers want validation.


  • New Dual Pane Vinyl Windows
  • New Siding and
  • New Facia
  • New Rain Gutters and Downspouts
  • New Interior Doors
  • New Exterior Doors
  • New Garage Door and Openers
  • New Kitchen Cabinets
  • New kitchen tile, rock or glass backsplashes
  • New Countertops Granite or other (no Tile)
  • New Fixtures
  • New Can Lighting throughout the house with Dimmer Switches
  • Oversized Baseboards
  • Crown Molding throughout the house
  • New Vanities and Countertops (No Tile)
  • New Toilets
  • New fixtures
  • New Vanity Lights
  • New Outlets and Switches in all rooms
  • All new plumbing fixtures to the wall including hoses and angle stops
  • New ABS pipes to replace cast iron
  • Replacing cracked and broken concrete patios and walkways
  • New wood or laminate flooring
  • New Tile in bathrooms for flooring, tub and shower surrounds
  • New Mirrors in Bathrooms
  • New Lighting Fixtures around the house including security lights
  • New or repaired fencing

NON Essential Projects For Adding Value to Your Sacramento House

  • Adding a Bedroom
  • Expanding a Bedroom
  • Expanding a Bathroom
  • Expanding or Creating a New Master Closet
  • Adding A Bathroom

Having an extra bedroom or bathroom is a feature most people would love, but when it comes down to it, they aren’t always willing to pay the thousands of dollars that extra bathroom cost to build. An average bedroom addition will cost $40,000+. however, when it comes to time to sell, you’ll only be able to up to about a $25,000 bump in price, add a bathroom to it and who knows? The magic question is can you add that third or fourth bedroom and/or bath and add value beyond the initial investment.

I usually tell people that an addition of rooms for their own purposes or for lifestyle should not be viewed as an investment for other than personal value, especially if its unconventional \in any way. Certain additions such as bedrooms that can only be reached by entering another bedroom add no value at all for future sale and may be a liability to the sale. The same with a garage conversion to a bedroom. Its just not a good idea.

So the question is will the addition or the remodel allow you to chase the top of the market? I know this, if you do that and the rest of the house is not perfect and you have not followed my advise regarding the essentials, your effort will have failed. The last thing you want is a buyer questioning why you took the time to do somethings and didn’t address the other things that they notice are are important to them.

Kitchen and Dining Room

I believe that remodeling of an entire kitchen or bath is real the way to bring buyers in to a house and wow them. Hear this loud and clear… Men and Women buy houses for different reasons. Women look at the kitchen and baths and if they are not in love with the house its hard to bring the husbands along. But like the bedroom, if you take the time to remodel the kitchen and you dont pay attention to the detail in the rest of the house it is a waste of money. The details are essential and a major remodel is always good idea when you’re looking to add value for a top of market sale.

Keep in mind that major renovations are expensive and can often times lead to additional repairs you weren’t anticipating.  Contractors are not always specialists or old house rehabbers and dont make a living gambling on what project is going to add value or give you a high ROI. They are notorious for cost overruns for the unforeseen items because quite frankly rehabbing an older house is a different skill set than building a new one. Those unforeseen costs can quickly snowball without the value of your home rising enough for the project to  pay for itself.

Also keep in mind that whether in the bedroom, bathroom or kitchen, renovations that are highly personalized will inevitably turn off most buyers away. Not everyone has the same taste for colors or uses of space, so offering buyers a credit to update or repair according to their own preferences may be an alternative for potential buyers, but it is not going to get you to top of the market value. My recommendation… fix it.


While the idea of a sunroom is lovely, adding one can be very expensive and not every buyer wants one. Some buyers understand that a sunroom actually represents another room to furnish, clean and maintain.  It requires attention to detail in construction that leads to extra construction costs. A sunroom can be an extremely enjoyable space, but you’re likely to get only a small percentage back in return upon the sale of your home. A sunroom can also increase your heating and AC costs each month.

Garage or Shop Addition

Garages are a necessity for getting top dollar and whether you are storing your car or just your stuff, everyone is bound to find a use for a garage. That said, the overall value of your home isn’t going to increase enough to justify the cost of building a new garage in most cases. There is always that one off it can be done correctly that the addition of a garage or shop is paramount to the sale because the house begs for it and it has the space to contain it. In general the permits, materials, and construction costs will add up, making a garage or shop addition virtually not worth it if you are looking for the highest profit margins.


Who doesn’t love the idea of floating in a pool? Having a pool is a wonderful idea, but it doesn’t add much to the value of your home unless you find the right buyer. That said, adding a pool for your own use is a different story. There are plenty of buyers in California looking for a pool. But keep in mind it is not the addition that you want to add to just sell a house. Focus on all of the essential projects above first.

Pool maintenance can be expensive and may even deter some buyers who would have been interested in your house otherwise. Sometimes, pools are a popular feature in your neighborhood, but that isn’t a good reason to put one in.

Before making any renovations to your house, consider what the return will be like for you. Some projects will be great additions to the house, but won’t provide much of a return on your investment. Run the numbers to really understand which improvements and renovations you should be making to your Sacramento house.

Some Real Estate Problems Are Resolved With the Sale of the House

At “Westbrook REI” and “We Buy houses Sacramento“, we are the best at what we do because we work at it every day. We understand that a commitment to a customer and a commitment to our business only happens with hard work. We have years of experience and a plan that we follow. We are a real company with real people that are committed to helping you achieve your goals.

Again, we’re not real estate agents. We are actually Sacramento house buyers and have our own cash… so we can make you an offer without waiting for a banks approval. Once we make you an offer, you can take that offer, shop it around if you want, talk it over with friends and family, and think about what you want. We won’t pressure you at all.

We Buy Houses Sacramento CA, Get Your Offer at or call Peter Westbrook today at (209) 481-7780.

If you should decide to sell your house to a cash home buyer in Sacramento I would like to talk to you.

To learn more about the best and  worst projects for adding value to your Sacramento house, Call Us, we are here to help!

Why Houses Don't Sell -


Peter Westbrook

Peter Westbrook is a local Cash Home Buyer / Real Estate Investor in Stockton, Sacramento and Modesto CA and Tulsa Oklahoma. He has written numerous real estate articles that have been published here and by other blog and news outlets. Peter has appeared on several local and national news reports regarding the state of the Stockton and Sacramento Real Estate Markets.

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