2. Create a dazzling kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms for those searching for new real estate. Potential homeowners search for a kitchen in which they’ll want to spend time, one with an atmosphere that encourages family time and good cooking. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to spruce up your home and redo your kitchen’s feel.

According to Zillow, painting your upper and lower kitchen cabinets with contrasting colors can increase your home’s value by more than $1,000. If you’re considering multiple colors, the interior design community often opts for white, gray or wood-tone paint. Many retailers, like Amazon, sell spray paint for easy cabinet painting and retouching.

If you’re willing to do the work, removing wallpaper in your kitchen can also increase its value. Wallpaper may have been an ideal look in your grandparent’s kitchen, but homebuyers today would rather see freshly painted walls. 

While you may consider a full kitchen remodel, the ROI might not be worth it. According to Today’s Homeowner, the industry standard for a mid-range kitchen makeover is just 53%, meaning if you spend $20,000 on a remodel, you’ll only recoup about $10,600 in home value. Instead of a full remodel, consider small kitchen changes to go along with a new paint job, such as a new tile backsplash or light fixture.

3. Give your home a fresh coat

While giving your kitchen a fresh coat of paint and removing lingering wallpaper is important, it’s also crucial to do the same for the rest of your home. When considering paint colors, remember that many homebuyers gravitate toward neutral tones that match a variety of home decors. According to the digital platform Opendoor, painting your interior results in a 107% ROI, while painting exterior surfaces like your front door or shutters leads to a 55% ROI.

While painting a few brightly colored rooms in your home may be simple, repainting your entire home or removing extensive wallpaper can be challenging. Therefore, you may consider hiring a professional painter for a large-scale project. However, if you’re looking for a cost-effective paint job, consider painting just your kitchen, bathroom, entryway and living room for the greatest ROI.

4. Upgrade your outlets and fixtures

Potential homebuyers value convenience, and small items like upgraded outlets, light switches and other smart tech can add just that to your home. If you own an older home, it’s more than likely full of two-prong receptacles. Consider switching these out for more modern three-prong outlets or specialized ports with USB connections. This can be a simple and affordable do-it-yourself project if your box is grounded and doesn’t need rewiring.

In addition to giving your home’s outlets a refresh, consider replacing some of the fixtures and hardware around your home. Little projects like adding new handles and pulls to your kitchen and bathroom cabinets or adding a new faucet to the kitchen sink can give the area a modern look without breaking the bank.

While most of these projects can be completed by beginners, you may want to contact a professional electrician for more serious receptacle replacements. However, whole-home rewiring can cost substantially more than replacing just a few receptacles around the house.

5. Don’t overlook lawn care

Many DIYers enjoy spending weekends pulling weeds, trimming hedges and conducting routine lawn maintenance. For others, lawn care is the last item on their list of weekend plans. Either way, having a groomed lawn is a sure way to increase your home value.

While minor lawn care like weeding, trimming and walkway redesign are simple DIY home improvement projects, you may want to leave serious maintenance like reseeding, planting and aeration to the professionals. Preventive lawn maintenance can be scheduled month-to-month or on an as-needed basis.

A 2019 HomeLight study estimates that paying roughly $270 for lawn care service adds up to $1,200 in value to your home. This means that allocating just a bit of time and money into your home’s exterior can offer a 352% ROI.

6. Install tech to add value

When it comes to home tech, DIY security systems are also a major trend. Unlike switching out receptacles, which may require an electrician, many popular DIY security systems can be set up in an afternoon. These affordable systems connect wirelessly with your phone to provide constant updates and can be transferred to a new homeowner, if necessary.

Other popular technology includes upgrading your lights with LEDs and installing smart thermostats. Much of your home’s total energy usage comes from heating, so optimizing it will help you save money in the long run.

Not only will these upgrades add a bit of convenience to your home, but they also decrease the home’s overall carbon footprint, which many potential homebuyers value and are willing to pay more for.

7. Give unused areas purpose

Sometimes, potential homebuyers are curious about how their prospective home uses its space. This means that it’s important to give purpose to any unused areas of your home. 

For example, transforming a simple utility closet into an efficient storage area or refinishing your basement can add value to your home. Other simple projects — like adding storage systems to your laundry room or adding bookshelves to your home office — are affordable tasks you can undertake. 

However, larger-scale home renovations that require demolition, new drywall, additional wall studs and other extensive work may be better left to the professionals. Additionally, you may want to avoid these larger projects as the ROI isn’t as high as some of the other smaller projects.

Where to go from here

While the home improvement list above may appear daunting, it’s important to understand that you don’t need to complete every possible task to increase your home’s value. When deciding which projects to undertake, consider how much time and effort you’re willing to spend on each one, then separate each task into can-dos and can’t-dos.

According to Opendoor, small upgrades — like adding stainless steel appliances and replacing carpets with hardwoods — can help increase your home’s value. While larger upgrades — like adding a bedroom or finishing a basement — can add even more value, these upgrades aren’t quite as affordable. It’s important to only select projects that match your budget. 

No matter which upgrades you decide on, it’s important to continuously protect and maintain your upgrades. For example, an affordable home warranty can ensure that the new appliances you installed in your home stay in good working condition for years.