25 Easy Steps to Improve the Property Value of Your Home

ocean view from the living room

February 27, 2017


Homeowners often opt for sizable upgrades to increase the value of their property. Major projects can certainly improve the odds of a better sale price, but simpler (and cheaper) changes can prove just as profitable in the long run. Easy fixes and do-it-yourself upgrades require a greater time investment, but because they typically cost less, homeowners may be able to do more. Each simple fix brings additional value to a home and lessens the chance of a potential buyer finding something he or she dislikes about the property.

Here are 25 simple steps that can increase property value:

1. Create an Outdoor Seating Area

While many indoor room renovations are costly and expensive – especially if there is electrical or structural work involved – adding an outdoor seating area can be completed in a weekend. This project involves laying paving stones and, perhaps, undertaking some basic around-the-patio landscaping. Furnishing the space is equally as important. It is not enough to lay the floor and then tell prospective buyers that this is an outdoor seating area. Portray guests by placing chairs, a table, and an umbrella on the new patio.

2. Schedule an Energy Audit

One of the biggest rules of the home improvement process: do not miss any absolutely necessary fixes. By scheduling a home energy audit, you can learn how much energy your home consumes, and decide what measures to address based on cost and scope. An energy auditor will conduct a room-by-room inspection, analyze your utility bills and analyze residents’ behaviors. With this information, a homeowner can prioritize their to-do list and make the right choices going forward. The Residential Energy Services Network can help you find an energy auditor in your area.

3. Paint Is For More Than Walls

Replacing cabinets or doors is expensive. Luckily, it might not be necessary. Armed with a sander, a paint brush, and a can of paint or wood stain, a homeowner can turn old cabinets and doors into new (or at least newer) fixtures. Even people who do not consider themselves especially handy will be able to undertake this simple upgrade.

4. Create Space

Additions are a popular way to add value to a home. A cheaper option (but perhaps not too cheap) is to knock out a wall that is dividing two rooms. The demolition creates the illusion of more space even though the square footage of the property remains unchanged. Many prospective buyers find open floor plans more attractive.

4. Add New Lighting Fixtures

Lighting fixtures make an older house seem dated. Chances are a home’s previous owners did not change the lighting fixtures at all. Homeowners can bring more value to an older property simply by adding new lights. Since this improvement involves working with electricity, extra care should be taken when completing this project – the help of a qualified professional is advised.

6. Upgrade Your Front Door

The front door is the first part of a home that people come into direct contact with. If it is scratched or dirty, or if the doorbell doesn’t work, their first impression will be a negative one. A fresh coat of paint might be enough to fix this problem. New doors have a wide range of costs; some homeowners might benefit from investing money on this essential component.

7. Install Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures

Sometimes, you want to make improvements that you can measure in actual dollars and cents. Low-flow toilets and faucets are proven to lower monthly water bills. Forward-thinking home buyers may also see this as a positive, enabling homeowners to use this upgrade as a selling point.

8. Fill The Cracks and Gaps

Cracked sidewalks, driveways, and gaps between a door and its frame are common in many older houses. Even non-DIY individuals can fix these issues with weather stripping, cement patches, or caulk. While filling in cracks might not add substantial value to a property in terms of dollars and cents, it will make a home more saleable by improving the overall impression of conscientious owners.

9. Replace Countertops

Complete kitchen remodels are popular, but expensive. Would-be sellers who want to avoid the high cost can make cosmetic changes to this room by replacing the countertops. The one rule for this kind of improvement is to choose something that looks and feels clean. Metallic colors are ideal, as is granite. Combining new counters with freshly painted cabinets can have a similar effect as a complete kitchen remodel (for a fraction of the cost).

10. Add Solar Panels

This improvement will bring long-term savings to anyone owning the home. As with many energy efficiency and alternative energy projects, owners can apply for PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing. PACE allows homeowners to pay for the solar panels as a line item on their property tax bills, without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars up front.

11. Install a Water Purifier

Even if the local water is deemed safe to drink, a water filter in the kitchen or bathroom can be a great selling point. This is a relatively inexpensive upgrade, but potential buyers will see it as a useful luxury that not every home has.

12. Replace Old Carpets or Tiles

Fresh paint and new lighting fixtures add value to a home, but they will not be able to hide old carpeting, loose tiles, or scratched hardwood floors. Potential sellers can tackle laying new tiles, rolling out new carpet, or sanding wood floors on their own with a little basic know-how – the only cost is that of materials and any rented tools (such as a sander).

13. Add a New Roof or Patch the Old One

Depending on a home’s size, this can be an expensive proposition. However, potential buyers will certainly see a leaky roof as a deal breaker, especially if there are visible signs of water damage inside the home. Despite the relatively high cost of this project, it can be a quick fix. Most roofing companies will be able to complete the project in a day or two. Thrifty owners can decide to patch problem areas on the roof instead of changing all the shingles. This might not bring as much value as a new roof, but it will eliminate leaking.

14. Make Improvements to Your Basement

Self-sticking tiles can enhance the look of a basement with a cement floor. Those who want to take it a step further can add lighting and furniture to turn the basement from a storage space into a living space. Those deciding on this kind of improvement will not be adding to the actual square footage of their home, but they will be adding to the square footage of the livable areas.

15. Improve the Attic

The same strategy of “adding living space” works in the attic as well. Rather than just using the uppermost part of the house for storing old keepsakes, convert all or part of it into a living space by painting the walls, throwing down a carpet, and adding lighting and furniture.

16. Install New Windows

New windows are often expensive, but the investment serves a dual purpose. Like lighting, windows are seldom replaced, and can give a house a dated feel. Modern windows are certainly a cosmetic upgrade. Also, new windows can lead to better energy efficiency and can help owners save money on heating and cooling costs.

17. Replace the Garage Door

This is a practical improvement, and often a necessary one. Home buyers are often on the lookout for potential problems, and a rickety garage door is likely on their checklist. Garage doors are relatively cheap and are worth their investment even if professional help is required. Besides offering a better-sealed garage environment, a new door can add needed curb appeal.

18. Build a Deck

Decks can be tricky. Some are very expensive but don’t add much value. Be sure to note the decks in the neighborhood and build a comparable structure. Keep in mind the main usage while designing it, and reserve funds to furnish and protect it.

19. Plant Trees

Believe it or not, trees can add value to a property, so consider planting a few. Make certain, however, that they are far enough away from the house to ensure they don’t post an issue during storms and so their roots don’t interfere with the foundation.

20. Resurface the Driveway

On many residential properties, an owner can fix their driveway by caulking the cracks and applying a fresh coat of sealant to the surface. This tactic beats replacing the entire driveway in terms of cost, and it gives the whole property a newer, more endeared image.

21. Add Outdoor Lighting

Landscape-minded homeowners should consider adding more outdoor lighting to their property. This increases the attractiveness of a home at night and can create a positive first impression. It also helps to reduce possible criminal activity, as crimes are rarely committed in a well-lit environment.

22. Green Your Lawn

Curb appeal is important, and nothing ruins it like brown grass or lawns with bare spots. Take advantage of new methods for applying grass seed to bring the lawn from lifeless and brown to green and vibrant in a few weeks, vastly improving the ever important aesthetics.

23. Repair and Replace Gutters

Leaky gutters damage roofs and siding, and allow water to soak into the basement. The good news is that gutter problems are easy to remedy. Owners might think that a complete gutter replacing is more than they can handle by themselves. This may be true, but by adding caulk or silicone filler to cracks and gaps, even a moderately handy homeowner can repair problematic leaks.

24. Build a Fence

A privacy fence adds value to a home, and it can make the yard feel like an extra living space. Home seekers with children or pets will see a privacy fence as a major selling point – setting your home apart from the competition.

25. Add Closets and Storage Space

Whether the intention is to simply improve the living space or offer potential buyers plenty of closet space for their belongings, adding storage areas or shelving in the basement or the garage is an easy way to create yet another selling point. These 25 steps can help increase a home’s property value. Completing some or all of these tasks can prove worthwhile, whether a homeowner is seeking the best selling price or simply building equity for the future.


Note: All of these upgrades do not qualify for PACE financing – only those that made your property more energy efficient, save water, utilize renewable energy or protect against storm damage. Find out if your improvement qualifies by contacting Ygrene at (855) 901-3999; info@ygreneworks.com