How to Earn Top Dollar for Your Coastal Sonoma County Home

Kris Lepore


Naturally, if you want to earn the most significant payday from selling your home, you need to maximize its appeal (and value) to buyers.

There are some investments worth making—and some to avoid—that work together to help ensure you get top-dollar for your Sonoma County home for sale. An experienced Sonoma County realtor will help this process by providing a personalized plan for your sale. You can also do a few items yourself (or hire professionals to do) that will universally increase your home’s sale price.

Use the following tips to earn top-dollar when listing your Sonoma County home.

Accurately price your Sonoma real estate

While pricing your home too high can discourage potential buyers from bidding, you also don’t want to price it too low. If the asking price is less than it should be, you’re starting negotiations from a weaker position, and you’re much less likely to maximize your return on the property. Your real estate agent is your best resource on this, as they understand the current market, can perform a comparative market analysis, and know what numbers potential buyers want to see.

Do your research

When you list a house for sale in Sonoma County, people from all over the world (and from all walks of life) may be looking at it online. Single or married, child-free or a family of six, young professionals, or retired empty-nesters—they may consider buying it if your house fits their budget and wishlist.

However, your home will likely appeal primarily to only a few specific demographics. If you have a two-bedroom condo, it’s more likely to appeal to young, single professionals, while a four-bedroom house with a swing set in the yard will be more appealing to families with multiple kids. Research which demographics are ideal for your house and see what they’re looking for. A thorough Google search can tell you if they care more about an upgraded deck or a home gym, a chef’s kitchen, or a handicap-accessible shower.

This information can help you determine what projects will increase your home’s value. Work with your Sonoma realtor to fine-tune your asking price and adjust your marketing efforts to target likely demographics to view and purchase your home.

Deep clean

You may be pretty consistent at keeping your house clean, but bringing in professionals to prepare your Sonoma home for sale is necessary. You’ll have lots of other decisions and items on your to-do list while selling a home, and you can’t afford to miss any nook or cranny if you want high-quality offers from every potential buyer. A cleaning crew will save you time and repay their fee in the form of a more significant sales price.

Hire qualified professionals

A professional stager will ensure that every rug, piece of furniture, and decorative accent shows your home off to its advantage. They’ll depersonalize your space so that potential buyers can envision themselves in the space.

A real estate photographer serves almost the same purpose. Every photographer has their specialties, whether landscape photos or portraits, so hiring someone experienced in real estate is crucial. Something as simple as the angle of a photo can change the whole vibe of the listing. You want someone who knows exactly what they’re doing to be taking these photos, as they’ll offer the first perspective that many potential buyers will have on your home.

Go the extra mile by hiring a real estate videographer to do a video tour or a 360° video of your home. This will make your online listing more eye-catching and make your house a better option for buyers who live far away and won’t be able to conveniently (or repetitively) visit in person.

Conduct inspections in advance

While buyers will likely want to arrange inspections before closing the deal, there are multiple advantages to having your own professional inspections done before you list. You’ll get an idea of any hidden issues–maybe a secret termite infestation or some minor wiring issues. You can immediately remedy these problems and save yourself a lot of time and unexpected trouble during the closing process.

Second, having those inspection results in hand means you won’t have to bend much, if at all, on contingencies. Without surprises, the buyer won’t be able to negotiate the price down because the plumbing has to be redone or the roof needs to be replaced. With your own inspections complete, you’ll be able to show the certifiable quality of your house to buyers and may be able to push the asking price higher than you initially thought.

Host an agent showing

Hosting an agent showing before the house is officially listed is a great way to get feedback from the people who know what their clients want. Perhaps one agent has a client who will love everything except that garden border. Removing it is a simple fix and can score you an immediate offer. Not all their feedback will offer changes you find worth it, but some are sure to point out a minor, often-overlooked detail that can provide a better offer once the home is listed.

Check your curb appeal

First, replace your mailbox. It seems like a minor, even pointless purchase, but the first thing people see when they come to your home is the outside, and an upgraded, shiny, new mailbox can do wonders. At the same time, check that your driveway and any pathways are in good shape, your siding is clean, your gardens are weeded, and the mulch is refreshed. Whether you do it yourself or hire a landscaper, make sure your home gets off on the right foot with buyers.

Provide a local guide

This is one of the best-kept secrets. People buy a house, but they also buy a lifestyle. Spend an evening putting together a guide to the area—favorite restaurants, the local delivery menus, and a list of some of your favorite activities nearby. Include some brief information on the local schools, and if you’re in a particularly pet-friendly area or your house has a fenced-in yard, write down the local veterinarian, groomer, pet shop, and dog park. You can also include neighborhood information—the teenagers on your street who babysit and the community pool hours. Put it all in a binder and store it in a highly-visible place.

Be choosy about upgrades and renovations

Home decor trends have settled on farmhouse kitchens, open floor plans, and marble countertops. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to replace your granite or butcher block counters or knock down some walls. Even if your house looks a little outdated, you don’t need to—and shouldn’t—invest in significant renovations just to sell. A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color is absolutely worth it. However, redoing the entire master bathroom is not a good way to spend your time or your money.

If your house hasn’t been updated since the 1970s, you may need to do a little more. Look for upgrades to ensure buyers know your house’s framing, wiring, and plumbing are up-to-date and replace dirty and dingy fixtures. Your real estate agent can help point out what projects are worth taking on and what to skip to ensure that you make back your investment and increase your profit.

If you’re considering upgrades, a few areas tend to produce the most return. Removing wallpaper, painting the walls, replacing the floors, and upgrading your kitchen appliances tend to pay off well.

Ready to list a Sonoma County home for sale?

If you’re selling a coastal Sonoma County home, you’re already in a prime position to make a profit. Don’t spend too much on an extensive renovation or skimp on the maintenance and professional support to help close your sale. Sonoma County real estate agent Kris Lepore can help you fine-tune the suggestions above based on your unique location and will help you maximize the sale of your Sonoma real estate. Wherever you are in the process of renovating or listing a Sonoma County home for sale, contact Kris with all your questions.


Grounded in professionalism, honesty and integrity, my approach enables me to deliver on my commitment to providing the best real estate services to our clients in the Greater Sonoma County and Coastal Sonoma areas.

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