25 Home Improvement Projects That Add Value to a Home

September 21st, 2023

Selling | Buying | Realtors®
25 Home Improvement Projects That Add Value to a Home

Home Improvement Projects That Add Value to a Home

Here are 25 home improvement projects that go a long way to boost home value. 

Home improvement projects are one of the best ways to add value to a home. Every year, Americans spend more than $567 billion on repairing and renovating their residential homes. Not all home improvement projects will add value, though, so pay close attention to the ones that are likely to do so.

Whether you are looking to make upgrades for yourself and your family to enjoy or you are doing so before putting your house on the market, an important consideration is a return on investment. From curb appeal to bathroom remodels to the best flooring options, we will dive into all the ways you can add value to your home with home improvement projects.

So, which home improvement project can help you to sell your house for a higher price? Let's take a look at seven home improvement projects that add value to your home.

Home Improvement Projects That Add Value

Make the House Feel More Spacious

One of the most important things that buyers are looking for in a home is whether or not it has enough space. The folks moving to the area are seeking space as their top priority—especially those who are relocating from highly expensive areas or are searching for a home that is handicap accessible

The priority for space has only increased since the COVID-19 pandemic and the reality that many people are being forced to spend more time at home. Time to create more space. 

If you want to make your house seem more spacious but can't actually add any square footage, you might consider opening up the floor plan. This can help to allow for more natural light and create an open environment. It's important to put a lot of consideration into which walls you are knocking down, though.

Finish Your Basement

Depending on your location and the price range of your home, certain upgrades might be more or less common. For example, a finished basement is particularly popular with high-income buyers in the Pacific Northwest, Northeast, and Middle Atlantic states. While the cost of renovating a basement will vary, on average, people recoup up to 70% of the cost that they invest in this upgrade.

Beautiful finished basement with carpet and a staircase

Add a Bathroom

Another important thing that buyers are looking for in a new home is how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are. If your home only had one bathroom, you might consider adding another.

This is not a particularly cheap home improvement project. However, it is estimated that the return on investment is between 80% and 130% for this type of project.

Convert the Attic

Not all homes are suited to have a bedroom in the attic. However, for some structures, it might make sense. You'll need to ensure that your HVAC system and structure can withstand the load of another room. Converted attics have a 56% average return on investment

Another upgrade that people might choose to make is to add a mother-in-law suite. These appealing spaces are detached from the main house and serve as an additional living area.

This was increasingly appealing to people during the Coronavirus pandemic, when family members worked from home, and more space was needed. Adding this type of accessory dwelling unit can be expensive, but many people choose to do so rather than add it to their home.

It's important to understand that adding an accessory dwelling unit requires that you check into your zoning laws, local building codes, and neighborhood association rules.

 Converted Attic in home with large windows and hardwood floors

Remodel the Kitchen

It is quite common for prospective homebuyers to be looking for kitchens that are updated and modern. A Kitchen remodel will increase your final sales price, and it will also increase your home appraisal.

That being said, it's important to determine what makes sense for your space. You do not want to invest nearly the same amount in remodeling your kitchen as your house is worth, for example.

You can expect to recoup between 62% and 81% of your investment. It may only be worth doing a full kitchen remodel if the kitchen is completely outdated. Instead of doing a full remodel, you might consider replacing hardware, cabinets, and other small updates.

Improve Energy Efficiency

The reason that energy-efficient homes are still healing is that buyers believe that they will help them save money on their future utility bills. You can therefore increase your home value by updating different aspects of your home.

Purchase Energy-Efficient Appliances

Appliances that are considered energy-efficient tend to be seen as either desirable or essential by moderate-income homebuyers. Your appliances, such as dishwashers, refrigerators, clothes washers, and dryers, can be replaced with Energy Star-compliant products.

Install Energy-Efficient Windows

No one wants to heat or cool a house only to have all the air escape. Replacing windows with energy-efficient windows can help you save an average of 12% on your energy bills

Replace Toilet With Low-Flow Fixtures

Another energy-efficient upgrade you can make is replacing the toilet with low-flow fixtures. This can help to reduce how much water is used with each toilet bowl flush.

Enhance Your Curb Appeal and Exterior

When selling your house, one of the most important things is to make a good first impression. A prospective homebuyer will see the outside of your house first, and it will therefore color the way they see the house from then on. It is for this reason that curb appeal is such an important part of the home-selling process.

Get a Steel Door

Replacing an entry door with a steel door is appreciated by buyers because they are low maintenance, cold-blocking, and energy-efficient. This can recoup between 69% and 91% of the resale cost.

Add Stone Veneer

This upgrade can recover about 96% at resale. If you are looking to increase your curb appeal by replacing existing vinyl siding, you can replace the bottom third of the side of the house that faces the street with a manufactured stone veneer.

Replace Your Garage Door

Replacing the garage door will typically fetch you a 103% return on investment which is one of the highest. That is if you reuse the existing motorized opener.

Garage Door on a home with windows and black features

Touch Up Exterior Paint

Repainting the entirety of your home can be a pricey endeavor. Luckily, you don't necessarily have to restain your whole house to really improve its condition. You can have the exterior pressure washed and have the paint touched up. You also might consider taking only the trim in the front door.

Spruce Up the Landscaping

While it might not exactly be a home upgrade, you'll want to ensure your yard is lush green and well-kept. You'll also want to be sure that any bushes or shrubs are pruned.

There are endless things that you can do to your landscaping to boost your curb appeal. Whether you put down mulch on your lawn, line your driveway with planters, or install exterior lighting, it's amazing how much of a difference some outdoor work can make.

Whether or not you are planning on engaging in large home improvement projects outside your house, it's incredibly important that the outside of your home is inviting and clean.

Make sure to clean up your yard, front porch, and driveway so that they look as desirable as possible. Creating a positive first impression is one of the most important things you can do to help swing the odds in your favor.

Add a Porch, Patio, or Deck

Depending on where you live, adding an outdoor space like a patio, porch, or deck, the return on investment can vary widely.

Typically, though, the return on investment for this upgrade is quite high. This is because they do not cost as much to build per square foot, but they increase the living area of the home.

Remember: When it comes time for a home inspection, this is one of the top things home inspectors will look for to be up to code.

Beautiful garden patio in the backyard with a fireplace and seating

Reduce Maintenance Hassles and Add Value to Your Home With These Upgrades

Upgrades are not just about the aesthetics of the house. Homeowners are looking to know what they're getting into regarding future maintenance and replacement.

Redo the Roof If Necessary

While replacing a roof is a big project, it can recover, on average, 107% of its cost at resale. Having your house on the market with a new roof will certainly make it more appealing and at a higher price than the same house with a 15-year-old roof.

An asphalt shingle roof replacement can offer a 61% return on investment while a metal roof replacement can offer a return on investment of 49%. 

Replacing the roof on a home with a nail gun

Fix Any Siding Problems

Before listing your house, you want to ensure your siding is in good shape. Make sure to look into which brand of siding your house has and the date it was installed.

There have been some issues with certain brands, and you might find that it is better to replace your siding than to sell it as is. Replacing your siding tends to recoup between 63% and 76% of the replacement cost at resale.

Look Into Your HVAC System

Depending on how old your HVAC system is, you might consider replacing it. Buyers will find a newer HVAC system appealing. This can recoup roughly 85% of the cost of replacement.

Budget Home Improvement Projects That Can Increase Home Value

You might be looking for ways to make your home more valuable that doesn't break the bank. There are several things you can do that are not as major as some of the options listed here.

Do a Minor Remodel

You might consider remodeling your kitchen or your bathroom in a minor rather than a major way. Actually, during a minor kitchen remodel, you can have a better return on investment than a major, upscale kitchen remodel.

One thing that you might do to save money is to replace cabinet fronts while leaving the cabinet boxes in place. When conducting a minor bathroom remodel, you might consider replacing the fixtures and putting in ceramic tile floors.

Swap Out Bathroom and Kitchen Fixtures

It is quite amazing how much of a difference upgrading features such as faucets, knots, and drawer pulls can make. You want to check in with your real estate agent about local trends.

Refinish Hardwood Floors or Install Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are appealing to a large percentage of homebuyers. When you refinish your hardwood floors, it typically recovers 100% of the cost at resale. Installing new hardwood flooring costs 106% of the cost.

It's important to understand how much money any project recoups has to do with your house price range in the current condition of what it is that you are replacing or upgrading.

Repaint in Neutral Tones

Few things can spruce up the house as much as a fresh coat of paint.

However, if you're going to be selling your house in the near future, you won't want to paint your walls anything too crazy or bold. Instead, you'll want to stick to a neutral color palette.

When it comes time to show your house to prospective buyers, the most important thing is that they can envision themselves living in the space with their own belongings. A neutral color palette can help prevent a blank canvas on which they can picture their future in your home.

If your paint choices are too creative and "out there," it can be more difficult for an individual to really picture themselves living in your home.

When choosing a neutral paint color, another thing you will need to decide is whether you want a paint with a warm, cool, or neutral undertone. All paint colors have an undertone that impacts how the paint looks in a different light.

Home Improvement Projects: Which Projects Will You Undergo Before Listing Your House?

Choosing which home improvement projects are worth doing and which ones are not can be a difficult decision. Whether or not it is worth making upgrades can depend on whether you are selling your house right away or if you're planning to live there for several years before listing your house on the market.

If you purchased a new construction home there's a chance some items may still be under warranty

Are you looking to sell your house in the Raleigh or the Triangle area? If so, fill out our form to receive a free home evaluation!

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! Nice to 'meet' you and thanks for visiting our Raleigh Real Estate Blog! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I'm a REALTOR® in Raleigh-Durham, NC, the owner of Raleigh Realty. I work alongside some of the best Realtors in Raleigh. You can find more of my real estate content on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and more. Realtor Magazine named me a top 30 under 30 Realtor in the country (it was a long time ago haha). Any way, that's enough about me. I'd love to learn more about you if you'd like to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram or connect with our team at Raleigh Realty. Looking forward to connecting!

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