#1: Clean and Conquer Clutter
If you’re on a tight budget, cleaning and decluttering is by far the most cost-effective way to add value to your home. A clean and clutter-free home looks larger and more livable and makes a great first impression on homebuyers. So scrub, dust, mop and vacuum each room until it shines, and while you’re at it, seriously scrutinize your possessions and toss or donate anything you haven’t used in a year. If you’re selling your home, put away your favorite knickknacks and family heirlooms. Buyers want to see a clean, neutral space where they can envision their own belongings.
#2: Add Insulation
Energy-efficient upgrades have two advantages: they add value to your home, and they save you money in the long run. The most inexpensive way to increase your home’s energy efficiency is to add insulation. Proper insulation can reduce heating and cooling costs as much as 30 percent and make a home feel more comfortable. No matter what your home’s price range, this upgrade will add value and marketability to your home. Call your local utility company to have an energy audit conducted on your home. This can help you determine what areas of your home could use an insulation update.
#3: Build a Fence
Adding a fence to your property can enhance its appearance, give you extra privacy and add value to your home overall. If you’re trying to sell your home, buyers with children or pets will appreciate this addition. Wood and vinyl are two popular options, but before you start buying supplies, check your local zoning codes and homeowners association rules, if applicable. Some materials may be off limits, and there may be rules on how tall your fence can be.
#4: Finish the Basement (if you have one)
If you’re willing to take on a major remodeling project, finishing your basement can add value and more usable space to your home. It’s a far more cost-effective way to add living space than adding on a whole new room. First, check for moisture problems in your basement. If your basement is dry enough for finishing, transform the space by adding insulation, flooring, drywall and recessed lighting.
#5: Repair Gutters
While they’re certainly not a home’s most exciting feature, gutters should be at the top of your list of exterior updates. Gutters keep the rest of your home’s exterior — siding, windows, foundation and doors — free from water damage, so maintaining them is crucial to maintaining your home overall. Start by cleaning gutters of debris, patching holes and securing them in places where they’ve pulled away from the house. If they’re still in bad shape, replace them. Aluminum gutters are a popular option because they’re durable and resistant to rust, while vinyl gutters are inexpensive and fairly easy to install yourself.
#6: Add Outdoor Lighting
Adding outdoor living space to your home is almost like adding square footage, and more square footage equals more home value. If you have a patio or deck that doesn’t get much use, start making it more welcoming by installing outdoor lighting. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to make your home’s outdoor spaces safer and more appealing.
#7: Tidy Your Lawn & Landscaping
When it comes to adding value to your home, curb appeal is key. A patchy lawn looks sloppy and detracts from your home’s overall appearance. Before you take on any major landscaping projects, start small by getting your lawn in shape. Reseed any bad areas and have the soil tested for any chemicals needed for healthy grass.
#8: Maximize Storage Space
Real estate professionals agree that ample storage space tops most homebuyers’ wish lists. If your home has a large garage and walk-in closets, you’re in great shape. If not, you can make the most of the storage space you do have with organizers. Closet organization systems employ strategically-placed shelves, drawers and bars to use space efficiently. These systems can be customized to fit most closets, and you can often install them yourself.
#9: Refresh Fixtures in your Bathroom
Like the kitchen, little changes go a long way when it comes to bathroom updates. Simply replacing old fixtures and hardware can give an outdated bathroom a stylish, contemporary look. If you want to go one step further, consider updating your sink. Vessel sinks that sit directly on top of the vanity are a trendy, modern option.
#10: Upgrade Appliances in your Kitchen
The kitchen is one room where upgrades almost always bring a large return on investment. However, you don’t have to gut your kitchen and tackle a major remodel to add value. One way to improve your kitchen is to simply replace your old appliances. Stainless steel is the current standard, but you don’t have to buy the $9,000 commercial-quality Viking range or the most expensive Sub-Zero refrigerator. Any updated appliances will look better, run better, and give your kitchen more appeal.