These around-the-house upgrades and improvements make great investments. Take a look at this list, starting with the upgrades most likely to recoup your investment, and get ready to appreciate your space more than ever. One note: No home upgrade is going to completely pay for itself. (If it does, you’re one lucky home seller.) With that in mind, make sure you’re picking home improvement projects that will increase your enjoyment of your space; see the opportunity to increase the value of your home as just a bonus.
Painting - provides dramatic results with little investment; the cost to paint a room is much less than that of other home upgrades, and it’s an easy home improvement.
Building a deck - provides you with more than a place to soak up the sun and barbeque. Buyers see a deck as offering a seamless transition from inside to out.
Updating the kitchen - It’s hard to go wrong with remodeling your kitchen, which can net up to 77 percent of the cost. If you’re upgrading with resale in mind, though, just avoid making overly personal decisions with the décor to make your kitchen more sellable; the features of your dream kitchen may populate someone else’s nightmares.
Replacing the windows - If you’re experiencing cool and blustery weather in your living room, it’s time to buy new panes, pronto. Not only are you losing precious heat but your utility bill could also be skyrocketing. Energy-efficient windows eliminate drafts, so your home feels warmer.
Modifying a bathroom - Bathroom upgrades, like updated countertops and new fixtures, provide solid returns. Choose classic features, like off-white subway tiles, that will appeal to people with both traditional and contemporary tastes.
Landscaping - The front of your house is the first thing people see (hello, curb appeal), so it makes sense that any improvements―from planting petunias to surrounding your home with a hedge―will be worth your while. Don’t be afraid to spend money on perennials, which come back year after year. As for big-ticket investments, like trees, they aren’t just nice to look at; they also stave off erosion, block storm-water runoff, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and filter groundwater pollutants.
Fixing up the basement - There’s nothing worse than that unmistakable damp-basement smell. A dry basement is far more important than worrying about the right lighting or furnishings. If your basement is prone to flooding, leaks, or excess moisture, call in a pro. If you do want to finish your basement by adding drywall, insulation, laminate flooring, or even a bathroom, be sure it’s proportional in quality to other areas of your home.