13 Decisions Homeowners Never Regret

When it comes to shelling out for renovations and fixes, homeowners have no shortage of options. So when is it smart to splurge and when is it foolish? From wiring to landscaping, here are a few foolproof ways to get the best home-improvement bang for your hard-earned buck—without suffering a case of buyer's remorse.

  1. Update the Kitchen

    kitchen remodel value

    A kitchen makeover can yield major pay-offs—and we’re not talking about a super-deluxe renovation, either. According to Remodeling Magazine, a $15,000 update—say, new appliances, a paint job, and perhaps new countertops—can pay off up to 92 percent. So you can reap the benefits of an upgraded kitchen without having a major project take over your home. 

    Related: 10 Kitchen Updates You Can Do in a Day


  2. Add a Mudroom

    Mudroom Ideas

    A utilitarian space to store shoes, coats, and backpacks may not be glamorous, but it certainly keeps your home neater and makes daily comings and goings easier. Consider carving out a bit of space near your back door, or even adding a bump-out to accommodate an organized entry.

    Related: 17 Design Inspirations for Mudrooms and Entryways


  3. Schedule a Home Energy Audit

    Home Energy Audit

    Here’s an easy one that can add up to major savings over time: book a visit from a home-energy auditor. The assessor finds inefficiencies in your energy use and where heat or cooled air may be escaping. In addition, a home auditor will teach you about the best ways to fix any issues that might get discovered. The best part is that these audits are often free, and fix-it measures may be eligible for rebates.

    Related: 14 Secrets of People with Low Energy Bills


  4. Replace Windows

    Home Window Replacement

    Older houses often come with drafty, sticky, or otherwise troublesome windows. While not an inexpensive job, window replacement pays off in energy savings and definitely boosts home value. Plus, you’ll love throwing open your new windows in springtime, with no broken latches or warped sashes to get in your way.

    Related: The Best Things You Can Do for the Value of Your Home


  5. Add Outdoor Living Space

    Outdoor Living Space

    Your yard is a bonus living room, so make the most of it by adding a screened porch, patio, or deck. Such features often cost less than you imagine, and they add functionality and resale appeal. Plus, an outdoor living space will increase your own enjoyment of your property.

    Related: 12 Backyard Updates You Can Do in a Day


  6. Hire Your Own Inspector

    Hiring a Home Inspector

    Before you close on that new house, it’s worth the time and expense to vet and hire an inspector. It’s fine to use the guy suggested by the seller or his realtor, but with such a major purchase you’ll always be glad you secured a second, impartial opinion before you signed on the dotted line.


  7. Finish the Basement

    finished basement value

    Maximizing the usable square footage of your home is a smart move in an escalating real-estate market. You can transform that dim cavern below your feet into a fabulous game room, home gym, or playroom. To take it to the next level, consider adding a bathroom—provided the plumbing is already in place it would be an easy project to tackle.

    Related: Beautiful Basements: 13 Surprisingly Cool Underground Amenities in Real American Homes


  8. Revamp Electrical Systems

    Old House Wiring

    Old wiring isn’t just a drag on your home’s value, it is also a safety risk. Hire an electrician to give your home an electrical upgrade. Any improvement that protects your house is always money well spent.


  9. Invest in Landscaping

    landscaping home value

    It may be a few years until you can appreciate the benefits, but adding trees and shrubs to your yard adds to your home’s curb appeal and value—and shade trees can cut energy costs, as well. Get bids from a few different landscapers, ask them for a guarantee to replace any plants that don’t do well in the first year, and choose items that thrive in your neighborhood. Soon you'll have the nicest looking yard on the block. 

    Related: 12 Outdoor Upgrades That Make Your Home More Valuable

    Zillow Digs home in Phoenix, AZ

  10. Spruce Up the Bathroom

    bathroom remodel value

    After kitchens, bathrooms give the most payback on your renovation dollar—plus, you use them all the time, so you’ll never second-guess giving them an upgrade. For a timeless look, choose durable black or white flooring and surfaces. And invest in a high-quality toilet—you’ll always be glad you did!

    Related: 12 Vintage Bathroom Features That Never Go Out of Style


  11. Install New Garage Doors

    garage door increase home value

    Curb appeal is a major factor for homebuyers. Adding flowers and cutting the grass are quick ways to spruce up your house, but for a more lasting impact consider installing new garage doors. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs Value Report, you can expect to recoup close to 98% of what you spent on a garage door replacement. A boost for your curb appeal and home value while almost breaking even? That seems like a win-win.


  12. Fix the Facade

    house siding increase value

    The inside of your house might look swell, but it’s all about first impressions and if potential buyers pull up to a fading exterior then they might not be able to focus on any of the good. Luckily, replacing the siding has a high return on investment so you’ll earn back the money you spend on this exterior project.


  13. Upgrade the Floors

    wood floor home value

    You might like the plush feeling of carpet under your feet, but nowadays many homebuyers are expecting to find hardwood floors. While this might feel like a big project to take on, research from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) suggests it’s worth the cost and effort. In their 2017 Remodeling Impact Report, 7% of realtors claim wood floors helped them close a deal, while homeowners who completed the project indicated greater joy from the new flooring.


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