In a cooling housing market – one where home values are remaining flat or rising more slowly than they did in recent years – existing homeowners are looking for ways to increase the difference between what they owe on their home and its value.
One of the most popular ways homeowners add value to their homes is by making repairs or renovations. And beyond adding value, home improvements almost always result in greater enjoyment of your home.
But not all home improvements are created equal. So, before you commit your time, energy and money, check out our list of projects that have a track record of adding value to a home.
Make a great first impression
According to the National Association of Realtors®, improving your home’s curb appeal is one of the best ways to add value to your home. Projects range from simple do-it-yourself items you can tackle in a day to major renovations requiring professionals:
- Trim overgrown landscaping and keep your lawn tidy
- Power-wash the exterior and clean your windows
- Paint your front door an updated color
- Repair any damaged or weathered siding, trim, shutters, etc.
- Replace siding or have the whole house repainted
- Install new garage doors
- Repair or replace your roof
Create a dedicated home office
With more and more people working from home these days, the kitchen counter or dining room table just don’t cut it anymore as an office. According to a National Association of Homebuilders survey, 63% of homebuyers want a dedicated workspace in their home and nearly one quarter of buyers say a home office is “essential.” So essential, in fact, that homes with an office sell faster and for more than similar homes without one. You can inexpensively add an office by converting a spare bedroom or an unused formal dining room. You can also spring for a pricier option, such as an attic renovation, building an addition or finishing new space in your basement. Keep in mind that, while building out new space might be more expensive up front, any time you add square footage to your home you’re adding value, too.
Spruce up your kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home, so it’s no surprise renovating this important space almost always lands on lists of best home improvements. Once again, you don’t have to spend a fortune to make changes that add value. If a whole-kitchen renovation isn’t possible, consider doing any of the following projects to appeal to homebuyers or simply make your kitchen more functional:
- Painting cabinets and adding new hardware
- Upgrading your countertops to natural stone or quartz
- Increasing or maximizing your storage space
- Installing new stainless steel appliances
- Adding an island
Refinish or add wood floors
According to the National Association of Realtors 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, one of the best places to invest in your home is in new or refinished hardwood floors. The report indicates refinishing wood floors may get you a nearly 150% return on investment. Installing new wood floors also yields a positive return.
Turning your home improvement dreams into reality
Many of the ideas we’ve shared here are low-cost improvements many homeowners can make happen with a little elbow grease and/or with savings they’ve set aside. If you’d like to make improvements to your home, talk to your banker about setting up a savings account where you can set aside money each paycheck for your projects.
If your projects are larger – or you have several you want to tackle over time – and you already have equity in your home, consider using a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A HELOC is a revolving line of credit that allows you to take out only as much money as you need, up to the predetermined credit limit. You may even have a HELOC you haven’t tapped into. Check with your banker or apply online.