Spruced-Up Front Door
Adding a new front door -- or simply painting an existing door and installing new hardware -- makes a great first impression and increases your home's curb appeal.
As the hub of the house -- and its hardest-working room -- the kitchen deserves special attention. New appliances and refinished or refaced cabinets can pay off handsomely.
Few other fix-ups can give you so much improvement for so little money and effort. Use a unified color scheme of neutral shades.
Flowerbeds, foundation plantings, paths, and borders can make a huge difference in your home's appeal. If you buy small plantings and let them grow into their role, you get a particularly high value per investment.
Additions and Outdoor Living Spaces
Additions that suit your home's style, scale, and traffic flow generally add value -- as do well-designed outdoor living areas such as porches and decks.
Added or Upgraded Bathrooms
Generally, adding a bath to a home that has only 1 or 1 1/2 baths will pay off at resale. Elements that prove most popular include ample storage, natural light, and ceramic tile on the floor and tub and shower surrounds.
Updated Faucets and Fixtures
Add allure to baths and kitchens with good quality, stylish fixtures and faucets. These changes are relatively easy and inexpensive.
New Knobs, Pulls, and Light Fixtures
As with new faucets, these easily installed off-the-shelf items boost style and have a big impact with relatively little cost and time.
Worn flooring and chipped, scarred countertops turn off buyers; refinishing or replacing these surfaces with good quality upgrades provides instant appeal.
Projects That Don't Pay Off
Not every remodeling project will increase your home's value. Some, in fact, can really turn off potential buyers. Value-reducers include:
A built-in pool that takes up most of the yard.
A super-large garage.
Strange room layouts, such as a bedroom that can only be accessed through another bedroom.
A poorly designed addition that looks "tacked on."
Too much white marble.
Any upgrade that prices a house significantly above those in the neighborhood.