Whether you’re planning to put your home on the market soon, refinancing, or looking for a home equity loan, you want to maximize your property’s value—but there are some improvement projects that increase a home’s value more than others. Some changes can even lower the value of your home. How do you decide which projects to take on?

Let’s take a look at the most cost-effective home improvement projects that add value to a home, along with which improvements to skip. That way, you can make the most of your time and budget and increase your property value as much as possible. It’s time to take a deep dive into home improvement projects!

Home Improvement Projects

Which Home Improvements Add the Most Value?

While many homeowners think big when aiming to increase property value, that’s not always the best route to take.

Many smaller projects, such as installing double-glazed windows or attic insulation, can go a long way in increasing your home’s price tag. By reducing your HVAC system’s workload, you can make your home much more energy-efficient—and both buyers and banks alike pay attention to energy ratings.

Working to improve areas that buyers tend to focus on during walkthroughs is also a good strategy. Kitchen remodels, loft conversions, and structural changes to open living spaces all generally score points with buyers. Conservatories and sunrooms rank high on many home shopper’s wish lists, as well.

All these options can completely transform the interior aesthetic of your home, but don’t limit your efforts to inside. Your home’s exterior also plays a significant role in its price tag.

Exterior renovations can be an excellent option to supercharge your home’s curb appeal. Consider re-landscaping your garden, repaving your driveway, or updating shutters and other external façade elements.

If you have an appetite for a larger project, subdividing your house into flats, adding a new bathroom, or converting a cellar into a living space are good options. Increasing your finished square footage is one of the easiest ways to increase your home’s appraised value.

How Can I Increase the Value of My Home for Cheap?

Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are plenty of cost-effective home improvement projects that will increase your home’s value and offer an impressive return on investment. Some of the cheapest remodeling projects happen to be the types of projects you’ll find in your favorite remodeling magazine. Whether it’s minor kitchen remodeling, painting your front door, or any other small-scale home improvement project, you don’t have to break the bank to add value to your property.

Start by cleaning up your home – removing clutter can quickly enhance its appeal. Next, head to your garden. Weeding, flower planting, mulching, and other affordable tasks can all contribute a lot to your home’s curb appeal.

In a few cases, such as fence graffiti or unaddressed storm damage, you may be able to increase your home’s value without spending anything—except your deductible—if your homeowners insurance policy will cover the damage. Working with a loss assessor is an excellent way to increase your chances of a successful claim and expedite the process.

What Home Improvements Do Not Add Value?

Many property owners make the mistake of overinvesting in projects that have little impact on home value. The most common offender? Adding a pool to your backyard. The same rings true for installing a wine cellar. While both of these vanity projects can improve the functionality of your home, they’re not a significant factor for valuators.

Another common mistake that homeowners make is knocking down walls to extend rooms. If you extend a living space but lose a bedroom simultaneously, you might appeal to certain buyers more, but your property assessment will stay the same or could even drop. Likewise, the cost of installing solar panels is often too high to offer a good return on investment in the short term.

What Brings Down Property Value?

If a recent valuation from a real estate agent indicated a lower price than you anticipated, a few things could be to blame.

A messy or worn-down exterior is one of the most prevalent factors that reduce a home’s value. Potential buyers will be searching for homes with curb appeal. A sloppy exterior can have a big impact on price. Projects such as repainting your house, pressure washing grime, replacing exterior light fixtures, or replacing your garage doors can all restore your home’s curb appeal.

Likewise, avoid any changes that buyers may have to undo. For instance, stay away from overly personalized projects, anything that might reduce your home’s energy efficiency, or projects that might violate local law or HOA requirements.

Most importantly, don’t skip over obvious signs of damage to make cosmetic repairs or remodel. Issues such as water damage, termites, or mold will tank your property value and scare away prospective buyers. Some of these issues, such as water damage, can often be covered by making a homeowners property claim, so long as you can prove the damage wasn’t a result of lack of maintenance.

What to Do Next

Now that you understand the types of home improvement projects that increase a home’s value, it’s time to determine which renovations are right for your home. Develop a cost vs. value report to determine your home’s shortcomings and which projects are likely to offer bang for your buck. If selling your home is on the horizon, it’s also essential to determine if there are any factors currently detracting from your home’s value.

Analyzing your options is the smart move if you want to engage in worthwhile improvement projects. Many of the projects mentioned here are DIY-friendly. Whether it’s painting your home, decluttering your living space, or revamping your gardens, you don’t necessarily need to hire a contractor to improve your property’s value.

If you do opt for a larger project, comparing quotes from contractors is essential. By shopping around for the best prices, you can increase your home improvement project’s return on investment.