Making home improvements that add value to your home are a smart investment. But over improving real estate can be like pouring money down the drain. Too often homeowners make improvements that fit them specifically, which narrows down the market for resale. While it’s important to enjoy the amenities of the home in which you live, it’s still essential to think about potential resale of the property.

Home projects that increase valueWhen you improve your home, you get value in two ways—the economic value that comes when you sell the home, and the enjoyment value you get now. You may enjoy a $20,000 walk-through garden, but a new owner may see high maintenance and less time to enjoy boating at the lake. Some improvements never pay off such as hot tubs, swimming pools, trendy paint colors, elaborate gardens, or high-end fixtures. The more the home is customized for you, the less likely it will be acceptable to a potential buyer.

To maximize the salability of your home, stay neutral. White walls, neutral carpet, and a neat yard rarely offend anyone. Make sure that anything structural is well maintained and that problems aren’t ignored.

Home projects that increase valueSome home improvement projects are better investments than others. Replacing carpet and painting interior and exterior surfaces provide some of the best increases in selling price per dollar invested. Other less expensive projects that provide a good return are cleaning and uncluttering a home, and making sure that the home is light and bright through both natural and artificial light. Other projects such as flower planters and new appliances may help your home sell quicker, but they probably won’t provide a good return on investment.

Remember to think neutral, maintain and improve your home, and take into account potential resale, all while enjoying the amenities your home has to offer.

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