Whether you’re thinking about selling your house this year—or just like the thought of a return on your investment (who doesn’t?)—certain ROI home improvements can not only make your house look better, but also increase its market value. “The value of doing a home improvement varies significantly along two dimensions: your current home value and your location,” says Beatrice de Jong, realtor and consumer trends expert at Opendoor, whose home improvement calculator can help you determine which renovation and remodeling projects might be worth it. have the biggest impact on your house’s value. “Understanding how much a project can potentially add to resale value is the first step in determining whether the investment will pay off,” she adds. Read on for a few DIY projects that have proven their worth.
Make a good first impression
“Your entryway or foyer can be an incredibly important place when it comes to the value of your home, as it sets the entire tone for the rest of the space,” says Toronto-based interior designer Ali Budd. “Invest in beautiful tiles and nice lighting. Make sure the cabinets are made perfectly with a combination of hanging shelves and drawers. Typically, doors throughout the house should be consistent, with the exception of the foyer. Use this moment to do something special, like paneled wood, applied molding and fancy hardware.”
Spruce up your outdoor space
According to de Jong, buyers can add anywhere from about 5% to 12% more value to a home with a well-maintained landscape. The space does not have to be large, but it must be well thought out. Budd suggests incorporating four main elements: a place to eat, a place to relax, lighting and greenery for both beauty and privacy. “Mature trees can be hard to come by and expensive, but even simple latticework with greenery interlaced can offer a lot of privacy between houses and add a big green punch,” she says. If you have the budget, Budd also recommends installing ground lighting. “And if your budget won’t allow it,” she says, “don’t underestimate the impact of some pretty string lights.” Up front, says de Jong, consider installing window boxes, “and don’t forget your front door,” she says. “Make sure it has a fresh coat of paint and maybe even a seasonal wreath.”
Create more storage space
“The sense of peace that comes with knowing there’s a place for everything is second to none,” says Budd. “The biggest non-aesthetic question our customers ask is, will I have enough storage space?” In living areas, free-standing cupboards with drawers allow for quick clean-up, especially for families with small children. In the kitchen, tall full-depth cupboards with pull-out shelves provide good pantry space as well as storage for crockery and small white goods. “They can also make your kitchen feel twice as big,” says Budd. One caveat, she notes: “Open shelving is display—not storage.”
Give it a fresh coat of paint
A freshly painted room will look bright and refreshed – and is quite easy to do yourself. “Paint changes everything!” says Portland, Maine-based interior designer Heidi Lachapelle. “Whether it’s choosing the right shade of white or just recycling what was there before, paint cleans everything up instantly.” For an easy, modern approach, she suggests painting the ceiling, cladding and walls in the same color and gloss. “With time and patience, even beginners can make a fresh coat of paint look professional,” says de Jong. “You don’t need a ton of equipment, and there are tons of online tutorials that go into detail. Light neutrals have the broadest appeal and add significant value to a home.” Choose higher quality paint if you can, as low quality paint chips more easily and will require multiple coats – and don’t skip the primer!