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31 Home Improvements That Will Double the Value of Your Home

From big to small, we have home improvements that add up to a huge boost in the value of your home!

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Additional bathroom

This may be the best home improvement you can make. After all, can we ever have enough bathrooms? According to Steve Frellick, licensed contractor and founder/broker of Yonder Luxury Vacation Rentals, a one-to-one bedroom/bathroom ratio is ideal. “An additional bathroom creates greater functionality of a home, while also increasing resale value.” Not sure where you could possibly squeeze in an additional bathroom? There are usually a variety of hidden opportunities in homes. This may be an underutilized closet, space in the basement, or “stealing” a little space from a bedroom or hallway, says Frellick. Check out these 15 secrets to locking down the sale of your home faster.

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Spruce up the bathroom

“Bringing your bathrooms into the 21st century creates a high degree of functionality and a huge return on your investment,” says Frellick. You don’t have to necessarily gut it and start over. New fixtures, fresh paint and light fixtures, and exhaust fans are good places to start.

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Update bathroom tile

Replace worn out tile with subway tile for a classic look that will appeal to most tastes, says Frellick. If you have more wiggle room in your budget, replace a water-hogging toilet with a slimline, low-flush model.

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New flooring

Take a peek under your carpet and you may discover a home improvement ready to go. “Hardwood and tile floors add a level of warmth and are a definite return on investment,” notes Frellick. Hardwoods, laminate, and tile floors are easier to clean and aren’t magnets for dust and dirt, so they’re ideal for people who suffer from allergies. Check out this allergy-proof checklist for your home.

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Add some flair

Mid-century modern and retro design are on trend right now. Adding a few elements of a trendy design will add some serious “cool” to your digs, Frellick says. “Hang an antique barn-door in place of a traditional closet door, update some light fixtures with retro fixtures using Edison bulbs, or do a wall in wood or brick tiles. These kinds of home improvements are ones that almost any homeowner can tackle,” says Frellick. Here are some more easy DIY projects for your home.

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New floor plan

“One of the things that tends to date a home and potentially turn off buyers is the floor plan,” says Bill Golden, an independent real estate agent with RE/Max Metro Atlanta City side. “Today’s buyers all want an open concept floor plan, where the kitchen is open to a family room.” Knocking out a wall or two to accomplish this is usually doable, depending on the structure. But don’t take on this task if you’re not a pro. Binge watching Fixer Upper may get your wheels turning but, you probably shouldn’t DIY these home improvements.

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Spruce up the shower

Master suites that embody a luxurious spa-like feel are coveted by most of us. If you’re going to upgrade, get schooled on what is on trend. “There was a time when all new master baths had giant soaking tubs. Today, most buyers prefer a smaller tub with a bigger, nicer shower, says Golden.

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Entertainment room

Whether hosting a game night, book club or wine tasting, an unused space can become party central. “Turn your basement or a spare living room into a finished space with a big screen TV, bar, and lounge area,” suggests Mary Ann Graboyes, real estate agent, Weichert Realtors® in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Whether it’s kid-friendly or a space for adults, this home improvement will be utilized a lot and add value to your home now—and down the line when you’re ready to sell.

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Outdoor kitchen

“Outdoor living spaces are on the checklist for most new luxury home buyers,” says Graboyes. The ability to cook outdoors without running in and out of the home to retrieve food and utensils is a luxury any grill master can appreciate. Build your outdoor cookspace with a BBQ grill, mini bar, refrigerator, and you’ll have a culinary home improvement masterpiece.

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Go green

When you add green energy features to your home, the appeal and value is increased immediately. Make a clean sweep throughout the entire house. “Change all light bulbs to CFLs, purchase low-energy appliances, replace toilets and showers with low-flow features, swap old windows for energy-efficient ones, filter your spigot water so you can ditch the plastic bottles, and add a programmable thermostat so you can turn down the heat when you are gone during the day,” suggest Graboyes.

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Smart home

Remember The Jetsons? It seemed like wacky science fiction to us at the time, but their tech-savvy home was their version of our Smart Homes today. “Add lighting, video cameras, switches, dimmers, outlets, heating and cooling, and security systems which are compatible with your smartphone or virtual assistant,” says Graboyes. You won’t believe these tech trends for 2018.

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Replace the roof

“If your home is over 20 years old, it’s time to replace the roof,” instructs Graboyes. “Even if there are no leaks or issues, by providing the next homeowner with the assurance of a new roof, your home’s list price will ultimately improve.” Energy-efficient roof choices are more available as well as other options like a white metal roof which can be up to 60 percent cooler than a black asphalt shingle roof.

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Curb appeal

Tinder isn’t the only app you swipe right on if you like a photo. Home buyers quickly swipe past homes on apps that lack curb appeal. An attractive well-manicured lawn and an attractive front door is a good start, but Graboyes suggests sprucing up your landscaping, repairing or resealing the driveway, pressure washing the house and sidewalk, replacing the mailbox and house letters, and of course, adding some potted flowers to the front entryway for a welcoming touch.


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Paint your front door

According to realtor Luis Dominguez of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the front door also symbolizes the entire face of the home. “Having an updated front door with quality door handles is a great first impression,” says Dominguez. He finds that red, yellow, or blue doors are currently the most popular. According to a CBS Money Watch report, Zillow found doors painted in navy blue, dark gray, or charcoal fetched a $1,514 boost to the home’s value.

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Motorized window shades

“The biggest ‘wow factor’ I’m seeing right now is motorized window shades,” says Dominguez. It’s easier to adjust the shades when you don’t have to get on a step ladder, plus new shades are almost always cordless and child-safe, factors parents of young children will appreciate. When it comes to bedrooms, blackout and light-filtering options are ideal. Don’t miss these easy upgrades that can add serious value to your home.

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Kitchen countertops

Top of most home improvement lists are stone countertops. “Whether it is granite or quartz, the potential home buyer will not see the kitchen as finished without them,” says Dominguez. Consider installing under-cabinet lighting to showcase the countertops.

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Update the color palette

Painting the interior of your home in neutrals, especially trendy gray, will render top dollar according to Dominguez. “Finding the right combination for a home will certainly increase its appeal and overall image. On the other hand, properties with dated colors, like pink, yellow, and green always tend to sell for less than a freshly, contemporary, painted home,” says Dominguez. These simple, inexpensive upgrades seriously boost your home’s value, too.

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Feature walls

“Home buyers are looking for unique homes,” says Dominguez. Accent walls with exposed brick, rustic wood panels, and wallpaper (yes, it’s back!) add visual impact and highlight architectural features. Seeing something they have not seen before will definitely have them talking about your house, and hopefully the conversation is about making an offer!

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Designer driveway

A driveway doesn’t warrant much thought for most of us. But when you drive past house the with all the bells and whistles and notice the worn out asphalt or cracked concrete driveway with weeds growing from the cracks, it suddenly comes into focus. Stamped concrete and paved driveways compliment a beautiful home. You may even consider reconfiguring it. “A correctly designed driveway will actually make the house look bigger when your potential buyer is pulling up to the house for the first time,” notes Dominguez.

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Covered terrace

Sure, a concrete patio or deck is great for BBQs and entertaining, but we scurry indoors if the sun is baking us or a few rain drops threaten to ruin the fun. “Adding a covered terrace can expand your house exponentially,” says Dominguez. Make it more enticing by adding electricity, comfy seating, decorative patio heaters, and bar area. “Having an outdoor space under a roof will allow the buyer to imagine extra living area space, allowing your home to compete against bigger homes,” says Dominguez.

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Hot value

Nothing evokes a feeling of coziness than a fireplace. Even if your home is in southern California, and you don’t need it for heat, Dominguez says homes with fireplaces typically sell for 10 percent more than similar homes without one. You don’t have to hire a mason to lay bricks or stones; freestanding gas or electric fireplaces with mantles with built-ins for books and knick-knacks are great for traditional homes or go contemporary with wall mounted units.

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Mud room

“Although it may not have the same immediate appeal as a new master suite or family room, a mud room will prove to be extremely functional, especially for families,” says Nick Cohen from Advanced Builders and Contractors in Los Angeles. “Along with providing a space for your washer and dryer, it can also help reduce clutter, open up new storage option, and help protect your wood flooring over time.”

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Finishing a basement

You could potentially double the square footage of your home if your basement footprint mimics your one-story home, in a move that Cohen says will significantly impact the resale value of your home. “From a resale standpoint, consider transforming this space into a man cave, game room, or second living room. We always recommend adding at least a half bath when refinishing your basement, despite the added cost,” says Cohen. These are the 16 things all smart homeowners do once a year.

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Convert an attic

If the only purpose of your attic has is to store old junk—that you actually don’t want—finish the space off for a bonus storage room or convert this under utilized space into more livable square footage. “Some homeowners may have the option to turn their attic into a loft, master suite, or home office, without having to deal with confusing zoning restrictions,” Cohen says.

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Garage makeover

A large two-car garage door is a huge eyesore if it’s rusty, banged up, or if the paint is faded,” says Allen Shayanfekr, CEO and co-founder of Sharestates. Replace the doors, but don’t stop there. Trick out the garage floors with epoxy paint, finish the walls with Sheetrock, and add insulation to the walls and garage door. Add storage units, work bench or tool chest and proper hardware for hanging bikes, tools, and lawn care items.

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Expand on existing space

Speaking of garages, what are you doing with the empty space above it? How about creating a studio apartment? “In many communities, people are starting to expand over their garages to add more living space,” says Shayanfekr. “Not only will this benefit potential buyers, but as a possible source of rental income it will increase the value of that property.”

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Add solar panels

This home improvement increases the value of your home and helps save the planet. “Being able to produce your own energy means you can save money which translates to value,” says Shayanfekr. Another bonus: You may qualify for rebates and tax credits for installing them.

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These three rooms

“The kitchen, living room, and bathrooms are the most important investments when considering increasing a property’s value,” says Shayanfekr. (It makes sense, these are the rooms we spend most of our time in.) But Shayanfekr isn’t talking about a coat of paint or a new fridge. “Those home improvements increase the cosmetic value which can sway the right buyer. However, renovating the kitchen, bathrooms, and living room will directly impact the home’s value.” Just for fun, this DIY fails will make you cringe!

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HVAC upgrade

Heating and cooling makes up for a whooping 40 percent of our energy costs. “Installing HVAC always positively impacts the value of a property,” Shayanfekr says. If repair bills and soaring utility bills have been plagued your wallet, get a HVAC specialist on board with your home improvement agenda. Installing a high efficiency boiler or furnace and air conditioner will save a ton of energy bills and produce less carbon emissions that yields substantial value to your home. Save on emergency home service calls by doing these yearly tasks.

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Living curb appeal

It’s important to ensure your front yard has life, year-round. “Flowers and seasonal shrubs, evergreen trees, and foliage bring color to your front yard all four seasons,” says Kevin Guzior, Vice President of Marketing at Pioneer Landscape Centers. Living curb appeal doesn’t fade at night. “To give your home a welcoming look, day or night, use landscape lighting to feature your proudest yard areas.”

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Backyard oasis

Any size yard can be an oasis and a home improvement that feels good on your bare feet—especially if you install artificial grass. “Its bright, natural-looking lawn all year and its easy maintenance and safe for kids and pets,” says Guzior. Be sure to add color with seasonal and evergreen foliage and colored planters. “Garden mounds along the edges of your yard by using mulch, rip rap, boulders, use pavers for an aesthetic border and landscape lighting to highlight these spaces,” suggests Guzior. Find out the secrets home contractors wish you knew.

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, Family Handyman and Taste of Home, among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center.