Buying a house can be a great investment, but only if you increase its resale value while you live there. That means exploring which remodels and upgrades are worth the time and effort.
Instead of losing yourself in a sea of home improvement ideas and dreams, evaluate which pursuits come with the highest return on investment (ROI) to ensure you not only improve your space for you and your family but for potential buyers in the future as well.
10 Home Improvement Projects That Add Value to Your Property
Whether you buy a brand new home or one that’s already been lived in, there are always upgrades and renovations you can take on to improve the space.
From a simple fresh coat of paint to a full kitchen remodel, here are some home renovation projects that will help to increase your property’s value and add comfort and convenience to your life as a homeowner.
1. Major or Minor Kitchen Remodels
Kitchen upgrades, whether major or minor, are a great way to increase the value of your home. According to Remodeling Magazine, you can expect to recoup anywhere from 53% to 72% on your kitchen remodel depending on the type of renovation you do, the materials you use, and where you live.
Minor kitchen upgrades include small projects such as:
- Putting in a new backsplash
- Refinishing cabinets
- Updating light fixtures
- Adding an island
- Increasing storage space
- Upgrading faucets
Major kitchen renovations include:
- New cabinetry and countertops
- Installing wood, laminate, or tile flooring
- Adding windows, doors, or even square footage
- Upgrading to high-end appliances
- Adding seating, dining, storage, or cooking space
When considering a kitchen upgrade, remember to stick within your remodeling budget and keep the space functional and relevant to the rest of the property.
For example, if you live in an older home with a lot of old-fashioned charm, a modern restaurant-style kitchen with industrial appliances might feel out of place and could be a turn-off for prospective buyers.
2. Bathroom Upgrades
Bathroom remodels are another way to increase your home’s value and make it more appealing to future homebuyers.
Depending on your bathroom renovation budget, you can explore a variety of potential projects, including:
- Installing new sinks, tubs, showers, or toilets
- Painting, retiling, and reflooring
- Adding storage space
- Putting in a vanity or mirror
- Upgrading lighting
Another option is to add a bathroom to your home, especially if you only have one to begin with. Homes with multiple bathrooms are a hot commodity in the real estate market, and you’ll likely appreciate the convenience as well.
Popular ways to add a bathroom include adding an ensuite to a master bedroom or turning a closet or other unused space into a half-bath on the main floor. Just beware that adding a bathroom or creating a master suite where one doesn’t already exist can get expensive quickly and may not add resale value to the home.
3. Transforming an Unused Space
Many homes come with extra, unfinished space that’s just waiting to be used, such as basements, attics, and bonus rooms.
As a homeowner, leaving that space untouched just means you have square footage you aren’t taking advantage of. Making the most of those unused rooms will increase your living space and make your home appealing to potential homebuyers.
Plus, it’s typically much less expensive than adding additional floor space to your home.
Some projects to explore include turning an unused space into a:
- Game room
- Home gym
- Home office
- Separate suite
- Second living room
- Library or study
- Guest bedroom
4. Outdoor Oases
Projects that make your outdoor space more accessible and functional also increase home value. Depending on the materials you use, such as wood or composite decking, decks and patios can have an ROI of more than 64%.
Other options include stone and brick patios and lower decks, which can make great DIY projects if you happen to be handy.
If you already have a deck or patio, pressure wash and refinish it if necessary. Repair or replace any old, rotting boards or broken pavers, and strip flaking paint and stain. Sprucing up your existing outdoor structures is a low-cost way to increase your home’s appeal to buyers and add to the overall desirability of your property.
5. Keeping the Home Up to Code
Depending on the age of your property, there are probably some home improvement projects that can be done to bring it up-to-date in terms of residential building codes.
For example, many older homes may benefit from new:
- Electrical wiring
- Hot water heaters
- HVAC systems
Home renovations like these are typically best suited to older homes that haven’t been updated in the past. And while they can be pricey, they’re often worth it because they’ll add value to your property and make it safer and more comfortable for you — and future occupants — to live in.
6. Energy-Efficient Extras
Energy-efficient appliances and building materials come with a host of benefits. Not only do they help to save money on energy costs, but they can also reduce your home’s environmental impact. Here are some projects to consider:
- Install solar panels
- Purchase Energy Star appliances
- Invest in a smart thermostat
- Replace old windows
- Swap out poorly insulated exterior doors
- Improve insulation
Many of these energy-efficient remodeling projects qualify for federal and state green energy tax credits, benefitting you in more ways than one.
To figure out how to improve your home’s energy efficiency, consider a professional home energy audit. Many gas and electricity providers offer evaluations that provide you with an energy score and tips for how to boost your home’s efficiency.
The ROI of energy-efficient home improvements varies greatly based on the project you take on. For example, according to EnergySage, insulating an attic comes with an average return on investment of just under 117%.
7. Interior Design
A little interior design goes a long way. Simple and straightforward design updates help to stage your home for sale and come with relatively small price tags.
If you’re looking for some easy but worthwhile home improvement projects to increase your property’s overall value and entice buyers, consider:
- Updating light fixtures
- Replacing light covers and heat registers
- Swapping out old door knobs and hardware
- Installing custom window coverings, such as blinds
- Modernizing your paint colors
- Repainting baseboards, ceilings, and interior doors
- Adding crown molding
Although these jobs may seem less impressive than large-scale renovations, don’t underestimate how much the visual appeal of your home can affect its value. The color you choose to paint a room can have a major impact on how much your home sells for, as a recent Zillow report shows.
8. Curb Appeal Boosters
Your home’s curb appeal is directly related to whether it makes a positive first impression on potential buyers. And there are a variety of different ways you can make your home stand out, even from the street.
Some of the best home projects for improving curb appeal include:
- Replacing, repairing, or painting wood, brick, or vinyl siding
- Painting or purchasing a new entry door
- Replacing a weathered garage door
- Adding stone veneer to your entryway
- Installing new lighting
According to the same Zillow report, simply painting your front door a darker color, such as black or charcoal, can increase your home’s sale price by more than $6,000. That’s pretty impressive, considering a can of paint typically costs less than $100.
Landscaping your property also adds to curb appeal and makes your home look more enticing. Potential landscaping projects include:
- Reseeding or resodding your lawn
- Weeding flower beds and planters
- Adding hanging baskets, flower beds, or planters
- Planting trees
- Replacing old mulch
- Removing dead trees and bushes
- Raking up old grass and leaves
Many of these projects are low-cost and have the added benefit of being DIY-friendly, meaning you won’t have to pay a professional to do them for you. The Washington Post puts the potential ROI of landscaping projects between 150% and 1,000%, meaning they’re likely to pay off handsomely in the end.
10. Smart Home Automation
Smart home devices are becoming increasingly popular in the real estate world, helping to boost home values and add new appeal for prospective buyers. Some of the most in-demand smart home upgrades are:
- Smart thermostats
- Smart home security systems like doorbell cameras
- Smart smoke, carbon monoxide, and radon detectors
- Smart lights
Consumer Reports estimated smart home automation can increase a home’s overall value by 3% to 5% in 2016, which is likely to increase as more people become familiar with smart home devices and home automation.
While it can be hard to figure out exactly how much value these upgrades add to your home, your real estate agent will be able to help you price your home accordingly.
Home improvement projects can be difficult to prioritize and budget for, which is why it’s important to choose the ones that come with the most benefits. If you plan to sell your home at some point down the road, focus on remodels and renovations that will boost your property value instead of decreasing it.
Stick to a budget and work with a realtor to figure out where to start as you prepare your property for sale.