Top Ten Home Improvements that Increase the Value of Your Home

When renovating or remodeling your home it is important to consider the return on your investment (ROI). The best way to insure a good ROI is to focus on the projects that are most likely to increase the value of your home. Even if you do not plan on selling in the near future, look at your home from the fresh perspective of a potential buyer.

Here is our list of the top 10 Home Improvements that can increase the value of your home.

1. UPGRADE THE KITCHEN – The kitchen is the heart of the home and it’s appearance can be a big selling point.  Many homebuyers won’t even consider a home with an outdated kitchen, primarily because it’s costly to upgrade, but also because of the psychological barrier of preparing food in a space that appears worn and dated.

Fortunately, if your countertop and cabinets are still in good shape, you don’t have to do a complete gut and rebuild – simply installing new cabinet doors, hardware and a tile backslash can make a great difference in the look and feel of the space.

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If your countertops and cabinets need updating as well then consider quartz (solid surface) or granite countertops with sleek and modern cabinets. Think light (bright) and functional, and they don’t need to be the most expensive.  Clean and fresh goes a long way towards making your kitchen sell-a-ble.

Don’t forget about updating the appliances!  Stainless steel appliances are expected in today’s market and a key feature in any kitchen update. Many manufacturers are now marketing stainless steel finishes in bronze or charcoal gray tones, that can further enhance your kitchen and make it look unique and custom.  

2. UPDATE BATHROOMS – Similar to kitchens, outdated or heavily stained bathrooms can be a deal breaker for homebuyers. A new toilet, sink and faucets can go a long way, but if your floor, tub and tiles are in bad shape then a full bathroom renovation might be in your best interest.  Focus on simple clean designs for your materials and warm colors that are comfortable.  

Lighting can enhance the space and the people using it.  Manufacturers now sell medicine cabinets with lights built into the mirrors which look custom and also allow people to see themselves clearly as they prep to start their day.

Make your shower appealing to men and women by installing a rain spray shower head and a hand held sprayer, and you’ll hear plenty of “nice” comments from potential buyers.

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3. OPTIMIZE FLOOR PLANS – It’s no secret that people, especially millennials, desire open floor plans and spaces that connect easily to backyards.  Remove that wall between kitchen and family room and double the appeal to buyers.  Connect more spaces directly to your yard by removing a window in a master bedroom and installing french doors.  The additional glass will also make the room seem bigger and extend the view to lawn and garden.  It will also make the room feel more like a retreat from the rest of the home.

4. GET ENERGY EFFICIENT  – Many homebuyers know that they can save a lot of money on utilities by purchasing a home that is energy efficient. New windows, LED lights, and energy efficient appliances are a great start, but take a good long look at your furnace and hot water heater.  If yours appear dated, they most likely are, and they’re costing you money every day.  Old furnaces and hot water heaters are a roadblock to a potential buyer, and certainly a bump in the road during the home sale process.

5. USE RENEWABLE ENERGY – Solar panels are becoming more affordable and can provide a good return on investment if you understand the pluses and minuses.  Tax credits have been lowered and in some instances eliminated, and the technology continues to improve.  Consider the lifespan of the system versus your anticipated longest term occupancy in the home.  Also explore whether you can sell power back to the grid during peak generating times before making the investment.

6. REPLACE YOUR ROOF  – After spending their savings on the downpayment and closing costs, the last thing that homebuyers want to do is spend more money on replacing the roof.  Make sure that your roof is in good shape and with a life expectancy of at least 10 years.  If your neighborhood has experienced damaging hail storms, have your roof inspected by your insurance company.  Insurance companies know that good roofing is important, and you may qualify for a free roof replacement.

7. HARDWOOD FLOORS – That old shag carpet has got to go!  Carpet is nice in bedrooms, but in most living areas, hardwood floors are desired by most buyers.  If you’re looking for something more durable, consider kid and pet friendly laminate flooring.  It’s scratch resistant and cleans up easily after spills and deposits from your new puppy.  It also doesn’t required re-finishing, and that can save a great deal of money and inconvenience over the life of a house.

8. FRESHEN UP WITH PAINT – You might like your blue accent wall in the living room and bright yellow kitchen, but not every homebuyer will agree. Fresh paint is an easy do-it-yourself project and can make your house much more attractive to homebuyers.

When selecting colors choose neutral colors. Light grey walls and white trim are always a safe bet.  If you’re uncomfortable selecting colors, check out paint manufacturer websites.  Most show photos of spaces and tell you what colors were used.  It’s a good way to feel certain about your choices and to get great ideas for improving the appearance of your home.

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9. IMPROVE CURB APPEAL  – The first thing potential homebuyers see is the outside of the house.  A nicely landscaped yard, fresh paint and clean siding will make you the star of your block.  Stick with light earth tones for colors and look for ways of distinguishing your home from the neighbors.  A rich cranberry red front door will carry the eye to the entry and make your home appear more distinguished.  If you’re unsure about the color, look at the historical paint collections offered by paint manufacturers.

10. LIGHTING – Replacing old lighting fixtures is an inexpensive way to make your house look modern and more desirable.  Keep them simple and clean looking and you’ll find great options online or at your local home improvement store.  Forty dollars can buy you a fixture that looks reasonably well crafted and from this century.  Think of your light fixtures as jewelry that adds the finishing touch to your spaces.

When replacing fixtures or re-lamping existing fixtures, choose lamps that have a color temperature of 3000 kelvin (3000k).  The light from these lamps is warm and clear and not the yellow color of old incandescent lamps.  Also should also choose LED fixtures to maximize life and energy savings.  Almost every lamp type is now available with an LED light source; even candelabra bulbs!  And the cost of LED lamps continue to fall, so no more excuses, time to update.


Every home has the potential to be more appealing and enjoyable, whether you are selling now, plan to sell in the future; or just like positive change.  Many home improvement projects, like painting, can be done yourself, or with the help of a hired professional.  As you consider making improvements, know that you are improving the value of your home and gaining a positive return on investment.  

It’s often difficult to have perspective about one’s own home, and to see it with a fresh eye.  If you need help, ask us to tour your house with you and tell you what we see.  Feel free to contact us for a Discover Potential Tour and we’ll help you make a home improvement shopping list.  We’ll prioritize improvements that will make your house more valuable and your life more enjoyable, too!