Which Home Improvements Add Value?

All too often, homeowners spend an excessive amount of money upgrading their home prior to listing. Unfortunately, most sellers only realize a fraction of the money back. Knowing the upgrades to make on your home that actually increase the price will ensure that your time and money are not wasted. In the post, we put together a list of the best home improvements that increase resale value you can make before hitting the market.

Home Improvement Value Chart

Data Sourced from: https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2022/

Indoor Home Improvements That Increase Resale Value

Home Office

A home office has quickly become a frequently searched item buyers are looking for when looking for their new home. According to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders, 63% of today’s buyers want a home office. Buyers are even willing to pay a premium for homes that have an office. Data shows that homes with offices sell for 3.4% more than homes without.

what upgrades add value to home

When looking for a home office, buyers state they are looking for a room that’s closed off but also one that allows for sun & light. Some buyer also asks about soundproofing and strong Internet connections.

Take out Walls – Create an Open Floor Plan

Removing walls allows for more natural light to be exposed within the house. In return, this makes your home feel not only larger but also more inviting. Starting first with the rooms most frequented, the kitchen and dining room, 85% of buyers favor a house that has an open layout between these spaces.

Finish The Basement

Expanding your living space by finishing your basement can be a wise investment, as it can greatly enhance the value of your home. Remodeling Magazine’s 2021 Cost vs. Value Report revealed that a basement remodels can recoup up to 63.6% of the cost at resale, making it one of the most worthwhile home improvement projects. A finished basement adds livable square footage to your home, which is highly desirable to potential buyers. This extra space can be utilized as a bedroom, entertainment area, or even a home office, offering versatility and convenience to the homeowner.

Besides the added square footage, a finished basement can also enhance the overall functionality and flow of your home. With the extra space, you can create a more open floor plan, which is a highly sought-after feature in modern homes. A finished basement also provides additional storage space, which is always a plus for potential buyers. By maximizing the livable space in your home, you can make it more appealing to a wider range of homebuyers, ultimately increasing your home’s value and reducing the time it takes to sell.

Moreover, if your basement is already finished, there are still many easy upgrades you can make to enhance the space and add even more value to your home. Consider installing a wet bar for a perfect entertainment space, upgrading the lighting to create a cozy atmosphere, adding a fireplace for warmth and ambiance, installing built-in shelving for more storage space, or creating a home theater for an ultimate cinematic experience. These small upgrades can make a big difference in upgrading your finished basement.

Upgrading the Kitchen

Before going all “HGTV” on your kitchen, it’s important to first understand where the highest ROI is seen. A study conducted by Remodeling Magazine found that a minor kitchen remodel can have a return on investment of up to 81%. By their definition, a “minor” remodel would include replacing cabinet fronts, hardware, and appliances. Based on this data, spending $20,000 on a kitchen remodel could increase your home’s value by $16,200.

upgrades that add value to a home

Now looking at a major renovation, one could expect an ROI of up to 59%. A major renovation is classified as on where the entire kitchen is overhauled. As you can see, just by spending more, one should not expect to receive a higher ROI. A notable mention in the study found that homes with outdated kitchens spent more time sitting on the market.

Outside of increasing the value of your home, kitchen improvements do wonders for potential buyers. With the majority of buyers having a modern, functional kitchen at the top of their list, your home will stand out from the competition.

Remodeling bathrooms

In 2020, The National Association Of Realtors found that bathroom renovations were on the top of the list for renovations that increase a home’s resale value. The data showed that homeowners can recoup roughly two-thirds, or a 64% ROI, of the renovation cost.

home improvements that increase resale value

In a similar study, Zillow found that homes with renovated bathrooms sold for roughly 1.5% than the expected sales price. In addition to an increased sales price, they also found that homes with renovated bathrooms sell roughly 22 days faster than other homes.

Increase Curb Appeal

When selling your home, the goal is to get buyers from in front of the computer to in front of your home. Once they are in front of your home, you then want them to go into their home. With humans being so quick to form an opinion, it’s important that the exterior of the home does not give them any bad impressions.

Update Mailbox

Although a mailbox is considered one of the smallest elements of your property, it brings a significant impact on your curb appeal. In fact, it is often the first thing that visitors or potential buyers notice when they approach your house. For that reason, a weekend DIY project of upgrading to a modern mailbox is an excellent way to enhance your home’s exterior appearance.

In today’s age, you have an abundance of options with varying styles. From sleek and minimalist to ornate and decorative, you can find the one perfect for your house. Over the years, material selections have also expanded. Some popular material options include stainless steel, aluminum, brass, or even stone, and can feature unique design elements, such as embossing, engraving, or colorful finishes. Installing a modern mailbox can instantly boost your home’s curb appeal, making it look more stylish, contemporary, and sophisticated.

While enhancing your home’s exterior appearance is the main benefit, it’s important to not dismiss how a new mailbox can also improve your home’s functionality and safety. For instance, a few mailbox brands come with added features such as lockable compartments, oversized slots, or weather-resistant coatings, protecting your mail from theft, vandalism, or harsh weather conditions. Further, intentionally picking out your mailbox color and design can complement your landscaping, match your house’s color scheme, and increase your home’s overall value, making it a wise investment in the long run.

Pressure Wash

Pressure washing your home is an inexpensive and quick way to enhance the appearance and value of your property. Pressure washing can help your property look cleaner and more appealing, which can translate into a higher selling price or appraisal value. Pressure washing results in a brighter and more vibrant appearance for your home’s exterior, which can be especially beneficial if you’re considering selling your property. A sparkling clean exterior can make a powerful first impression on potential buyers, and may even increase the perceived value of your home. In addition to enhancing the appearance of your property, pressure washing can also help to prolong the life of your home’s exterior surfaces by removing harmful buildup that can cause damage over time.


Possibly the best ROI out there, HomeLight found that an investment of $268 in lawn care service adds roughly $1,200 in resale value. Based on this data, your ROI would come out to 352%! In addition to an amazing ROI, basic yard maintenance is one of the easiest ways to create a great first impression on buyers.

outdoor features that increase home value

Outside of basic yard care, more extensive landscaping projects should also be considered. Extensive projects include adding trees, shrubs, or flowers to your yard, and building a garden. It’s worth mentioning that not only makes your home more attractive to buyers but it will also enhance your quality of life and enjoyment of your outdoor spaces while you’re still living there.

Exterior Lighting

Surprisingly, “Exterior Lighting” is tied for first place with “Laundry Room” as the most sought-after feature buyers are looking for. While safety and security are the main priority, quality exterior lighting will also allow you to highlight design elements and enjoy the yard, no matter the time.

Home Exterior Improvements

New Roof

Not only does a new roof add curb appeal and aesthetic value to your home, but it can also increase its resale value significantly. In fact, according to a recent study, homeowners who installed a new roof can expect to recoup about 68% of their investment in terms of resale value.

The best part is that if your old roof has been damaged by a covered peril, like a severe storm or fire, your homeowner’s insurance will usually foot the bill for a new one. Just keep in mind that insurance policies can get a bit complicated, so it’s always a good idea to double-check what your policy covers before getting your hopes up.

If you’re considering replacing your roof, I recommend heading over to Roofle. You are able to type in your property address and receive an instant quote for roof replacement.

Front Porch

Improving the front porch can sometimes be as simple as washing it off. While the realtor is unlocking the lockbox, potential buyers will be standing right there, looking around. It’s important to clear off any dirt, mildew, or spider webs that may have formed over the years. Be sure to also check for peeling or faded paint on the door or porch railings/columns.

easy outdoor home improvements

Garage Door

Replacing your garage door is practically risk-free. The National Association of Realtors Remodeling Impact Report shows that with 100% of the value was recovered when selling. With garage door replacements costing an average of $2,000, this can be a great way to boost the appeal of your home, have better security, and even increase energy efficiency.

Outdoor Living Features That Increase Home Value


Does adding a patio increase home value? Yes, according to research, adding a patio does increase value. It costs between $4,380 and $10,080 to build a deck, HomeGuide estimates. But due to the rising desirability of outdoor gathering spaces, you’ll recoup an average $7,014 when you sell your home, data from our survey shows. That means if you paid a middle-of-the-road price for a deck, you’ll recover most of that spend.

home improvements that increase resale value

Outdoor Kitchen

According to figures obtained from HomeAdvisor, the cost of building an outdoor kitchen can range from $5,500 for a basic setup to as much as $22,000 for a more advanced setup. While initially, this may come across as a significant investment, it can pay off in the long run.

In fact, Homelight found that the value of an outdoor kitchen has increased from an estimated $6,156 to $9,751 since 2021. In return, this means an outdoor kitchen is now becoming popular “want” item for buyers.

Beyond just adding value to your home, an outdoor kitchen does wonders for enhancing your outdoor living space- allowing you to enjoy cooking and entertaining outside during the warmer months. It can also be a great way to expand your living space and create a seamless indoor-outdoor transition, which can be particularly appealing to buyers who are looking for a home with plenty of space for entertaining.

Overall, adding an outdoor kitchen to your home can be a smart investment that can enhance your outdoor living space, improve your home’s value, and potentially make your home more appealing to buyers.

Fire Pit

In a study conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the most popular outdoor design elements included fire pits and fireplaces. Among those surveyed, 66% indicated that they were planning to include one in their outdoor living space.

An outdoor firepit allows you to utilize your outdoor living space, year-round. In the cooler months, you receive the benefit of warmth and creating a great ambiance for a gathering. In the summer, fire pits become a great focal point while entertaining outdoors.

Energy-Efficient Improvements

Upgrading insulation

With 90% of homes in the United States under-insulated, there is a real chance your energy bills are suffering. The best way to determine if you fit into the 90% is to view the recommendations provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. On their site, they will provide you with the recommended R-value, based on your location.

energy saving improvements for home

The EPA estimates that by upgrading your insulation, you can expect to save up to 15% on heating & cooling costs. Those who live in cooler climates can expect to save even more, up to 20%. In addition to saving on heating & cooling expenses, you can expect to, at the very least, recoup your investment when it comes time to sell your home.

Replacing HVAC Systems With Energy-efficient Options

Every year, more options for energy-efficient HVAC systems become available. Systems that are 10 years old seem archaic as technology becomes more robust. Replacing an HVAC system that is even 5 years old will result in a 20-40% reduction in your energy expenses. Additionally, you could expect to recoup 20-30% of this investment when selling your home.

If you’re on the fence about making the investment, you can use the Energy Star Savings Calculator to get a better idea of what to expect.

Resources For Home Improvements


I put the vetting process of hiring a contractor up there with vetting the person you are going to marry… seriously. Anytime you are hiring someone to work on your house, there is a lot at stake. From the contractor simply disappearing (with your money) to completing the work not up to code (only to be discovered when you try and sell your house) spending the necessary time upfront is well worth it.

To mitigate this risk, here are a few tips:

  1. Ask for referrals from within your network, and make sure the person who is referring the contractor to you has hired them in the past for a similar job.
  2. Search the licensing board for your state. Here, you will be able to search the contractor by name (or company name) and ensure that their license(s) are active. To find this, search ” {your state} board of licensing”.
  3. Utilize sites, like thumbtack, where you can find a contractor by the work you need to be completed. I am a huge thumbtack as you can see all of the reviews for said contractor and you can simultaneously receive multiple quotes from various contractors.

Cost Vs. Value

If you are considering doing an upgrade not mentioned here, you can always head over to Cost Vs. Value. There, they break down the improvements and the % of the cost that is recouped when your home is sold.


If you ever run short of ideas, I recommend heading over to Pinterest. There, you can instantly see thousands of design and renovation ideas for whichever project you are looking to tackle next.

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