Spruce Up Your House! Home Makeover Tips for Santa Cruz


|5 min read

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Fast Expert partner and real estate agent, Megan Kilmer, provides her expertise on makeover tips for Santa Cruz. With her own pre-market renovation team, Megan has a plethora of experience to share!

Greetings, homeowners! Spring has sprung, and so has the housing market. Let’s dust away those cobwebs and add value to one of your best assets, your home. As your Santa Cruz County Realtor, I’m here to share tips on how to make your home shine in 2023.

Whether you have a cozy beach bungalow, a quaint cabin in the woods, or a multimillion-dollar beachfront home, I’ve got some value to add to your investment.

Let’s get to it!

Quick & Easy Home Improvements

Minimalist Homes Sell, and First Impressions Matter

Decluttering, Cleaning, and Depersonalizing

A clean and clutter-free home looks more spacious, organized, and inviting. Giving potential homebuyers a way to visualize themselves in the space works for you!


A fresh coat of paint can give your home a new and updated look. Stick to neutral colors that appeal to a broader audience. I know it’s cliché, but “agreeable gray” is still a number one performer for long and short-term rentals and single-family homes on the market.


A well-maintained yard sells, but lawns are out. Try a native plant garden! Native plants are easier to maintain and cost less to water. Santa Cruz loves being eco-friendly, and who doesn’t love saving money!? Colorful flowers can create a great first impression.

High Cost, High Value, and Bang for Your Buck

Kitchen/Bathroom Remodeling

Historically, the kitchen and bathrooms have the most bang for your buck regarding home reno.

Add a Living Space

Do you have a room in your house with an exterior door? That is an excellent opportunity to add a small kitchenette to create a separate living space, improve the value of your home and potentially make income from a rental source! Santa Cruz County is notorious for its high cost of living. A studio unit costs, on average, $2000 a month in Santa Cruz County; according to Santa Cruz Housing Authority, that’s guaranteed income!

Add a Residence

Ask me about the whole new world of Tiny Homes! Yes, they are trendy, but they’re also a gold mine. California has approved up to four units on parcels zoned for single-family residences. Why have one income property when you can have four?!

Projects to Avoid

Swimming Pools

While a pool may seem like a great addition to your home, it can be expensive to maintain, and not all buyers want the added responsibility. A pool can also be a liability if you rent out your property. If you have a pool, consider creating a gated area around the pool or installing a hard top cover. This can save you from future liability.

Extensive Landscaping

While well-maintained landscaping can add value, extensive or complicated landscaping can be a turn-off for potential buyers who don’t want to do maintenance. Adding a lawn, trees too close to the home, or water-retaining plants can add headaches down the road. Lawns retain water, and they need maintenance and upkeep. Trees can cause foundation problems with their root systems, and water-retaining plants can cause mold issues.

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Minor Projects

Replace Hardware

Swapping out outdated cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, and door handles can quickly update your home. Think about staging a charging station for your tech-heavy buyer pool.

Upgrade Lighting

Installing new light fixtures can make a big difference in how your home looks and feels. Avoid personalized lighting choices; the go-to trend is recessed lighting. Avoid random chunks of recessed lighting. It will pay to have a lighting consultant assess your situation.

Your House as Your Best Investment

Think of your house as your best and most significant investment.

With the recent crash of Silicon Valley Bank, Bay Area customers are looking to protect their wealth and investments. With interest rates on the rise and no additional inventory peaks for housing in the foreseeable future, real estate is still considered a “safe” bet for investment.

That said, cashing in on your home investment at the right time means looking at the signs. No one has a crystal ball, but in today’s market, we are seeing prices decline in Santa Cruz three months in a row. Bay Area buyers are savvy and know there is some leverage as a buyer in today’s market.

Therefore, avoid doing quick, low-quality, pre-market renovations. Buyers now notice cheap work and will avoid those homes.

Use these makeover tips for Santa Cruz to make your home shine. The money and work that you put into it will show!

Use a Pre-Market Concierge Service

If you don’t have the time or energy to makeover your home, you can use a pre-market concierge service. These services provide pre-market renovations at no upfront cost.

I help front renovation costs and thoroughly prepare your home for the market so you get top dollar when you sell.

House flippers make billions of dollars a year in the United States. I aim to put those dollars back in the hands of Santa Cruz homeowners. We have successfully given homeowners a 250% return on investment when selling their property in Santa Cruz County.

The best part is that these home renovation services have no additional fee or interest payment. My team takes care of everything, from design to execution, and you pay nothing until your home sells. Interested? Message me today.

In conclusion, get your home ready to list by focusing on the right projects. Ask yourself will this renovation increase the value and attract potential buyers? Remember, to Bay Area Buyers, first impressions, quality, and intentions matter.

Need help selling your Santa Cruz home? I got you! 

Megan Kilmer Revest Homes, Inc.

Megan Kilmer is a Santa Cruz County local with a passion for housing. Megan has a background in Social Services and is an expert on goal setting and motivation. With a wide network of trusted local resources, she is a problem solver! Need to buy, sell, lease, manage, or finance a real estate project? She's got you!

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