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20 Home Improvement Projects That May Add Real Estate Value

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20 Home Improvement Projects That May Add Real Estate Value

Enhancing your home can be about more than cultivating a certain look and feel. Some projects are big-ticket investments with the potential to not only improve your quality of life but also significantly boost your property’s market value.

Whether you are planning to sell soon or simply want to upgrade your living space, the following 20 improvement projects may be worth considering.

Man building a deck

Unsure where to begin? Kitchen? Bath? Eco-friendly updates? Prioritization can be based on your immediate needs, budget and what’s popular in your market — as well as a project’s potential impact to your home’s appeal.1

When it comes to exploring what should be done to a home in preparation for a sale, a consultation with a real estate professional can prove helpful.

1. Kitchen remodel

For many homeowners, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Updating cabinets with modern designs, replacing countertops with durable materials like granite or quartz and upgrading to energy-efficient appliances can give your kitchen a modern facelift, making it more functional and aesthetically appealing.

2. Bathroom renovation

Revamping your bathroom can involve installing new fixtures — like a stylish vanity, energy-efficient toilets and elegant faucets. Consider replacing old tiles with newer, water-resistant materials and installing a rainfall showerhead for a luxurious spa-like feel.

Tight on time or money? Sometimes fresh paint coupled with new towels and rugs can provide a fresh look.

3. Curb appeal

The exterior of your home creates the first impression — and, as any real estate agent will tell you, that “first look” matters. Landscaping improvements — planting vibrant flowers and maintaining a lush lawn — coupled with a fresh coat of paint or updated siding can elevate your home’s curb appeal. Adding outdoor lighting also makes your home more inviting.

4. Attic insulation

Improving insulation in the attic isn’t the most glamorous project, but it can be a wise investment. Better insulation helps regulate indoor temperature, reducing heating and cooling costs — and potentially increasing comfort. Spray foam insulation or blown-in cellulose can seal gaps and improve energy efficiency.

When it comes to improving your home’s energy efficiency, check with your local utility companies to explore whether rebates and savings offers might apply to your updates.

5. Energy-efficient windows

Replacing old, drafty windows with energy-efficient ones can both enhance the aesthetics and improve insulation. Consider double or triple-pane windows with low-emissivity coatings2 to prevent heat transfer and help lower your energy costs.

6. Deck or patio addition

Expanding your outdoor living space can significantly increase your home’s appeal. Constructing a deck or patio using durable materials like composite decking or stamped concrete provides a space for relaxation and entertainment, perfect for enjoying outdoor gatherings with friends and family.

When it comes to making major structural and prominent exterior updates, be sure to clear changes with your homeowners association (HOA) if relevant. Historic homes, too, may be subject to city rules and regulations, so it’s smart to factor those approvals into your timeline.

7. Basement finishing

Transforming your basement into a usable living space — whether it’s an entertainment area, home gym, office or extra bedroom — adds functional square footage and enhances your property’s value.

8. Smart home upgrades

Installing smart thermostats, security systems and lighting adds convenience and may increase the appeal of your home to potential buyers. Smart technology enhances energy efficiency and provides enhanced security and control, appealing to modern homeowners.

9. Hardwood floor installation

Upgrading your flooring to hardwood adds elegance and durability. Hardwood floors are timeless and appeal to a wide range of tastes, potentially increasing the value of your home for resale.

10. Painting

A fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into your home, making it look well-maintained and inviting. Choose neutral tones for a timeless appeal or experiment with accent walls to add personality. Properly executed painting projects increase the perceived value of your home.

Hiring a contractor to do the painting for you? Be sure to vet them carefully! Ask for recommendations or photos of their work. And, if the painting project will be large scale, be sure to consider how to protect your family and pets from any fumes or dust. An experienced painter will know how to section off and cover areas to minimize impact on furnishings and flooring, too.

11. Roof replacement

A new roof can top off your home’s appearance. More importantly, it protects the interior from leaks and weather damage, making it a worthwhile long-term investment. For longevity and curb appeal, consider high-quality materials like asphalt shingles or metal roofing.

12. Garage door replacement

A new garage door can make your home look well-tended, and it improves security and functionality. Opt for an insulated and stylish door that complements your home’s architecture. On a budget? Magnetic decorative hardware (including faux windows) is affordable and stylish, giving an instant facelift.

13. Upgraded lighting

LED fixtures and modern lighting can transform the ambiance of your home, providing a fresh and inviting feel. Consider dimmable LED lights or smart lighting systems that offer versatility and energy efficiency while adding style to your living spaces.

14. Adding a home office

In the age of remote work, a dedicated home office space is a valuable addition. Design a functional workspace with ample natural light, ergonomic furniture and adequate storage, creating a space that increases productivity — and potentially increases your property’s resale value.

15. Renovating the entryway

A welcoming entryway sets the tone for your home. A well-designed foyer with adequate lighting and stylish elements like a decorative front door or elegant flooring makes a solid first impression on guests and potential buyers.

16. Upgraded insulation

Investing in better insulation significantly impacts energy efficiency. Consider insulating walls and floors — along with upgrading attic insulation — to maintain consistent indoor temperatures, lower noise and reduce utility costs.

17. HVAC system upgrade

Upgrading to a more efficient heating and cooling system may help you save on energy bills and improve indoor comfort. Consider systems with programmable thermostats and zoning options for better control and energy savings.

18. Adding a backup generator

A backup generator provides peace of mind during power outages. Investing in a generator ensures an uninterrupted power supply, protecting your home and its appliances.

19. Water filtration system

Installing a whole-house water filtration system provides clean water throughout your home. Consider systems that remove impurities and improve water quality, benefiting both your health and home value.

20. Upgrading electrical systems

In older homes, modernizing electrical systems enhances safety and functionality. Yes, it can be costly, but the effort may make your home more desirable. Consider adding more outlets, upgrading to energy-efficient features, and ensuring compliance with current building codes to make your home safer and more appealing.

The takeaway

More than just something to do on the nights and weekends, even basic, DIY home improvement projects may enhance your living experience and increase your property’s value. Yet costlier, more drastic changes can prove useful, too.

Consider your budget, priorities and local market trends when choosing which projects to undertake. With careful planning and execution, your home can become a more functional, comfortable and valuable space for years to come.

Ready to put your home on the market — or find a home that includes these upgrades? Remember that Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty — RBFCU’s preferred real estate partner — is here to help you move beyond your expectations to provide an extraordinary real estate experience.

Contact us to learn more.

Kuper Sotheby's International Realty Logo

San Antonio: 210-236-6464

Austin: 512-516-8484


This article was last updated in May 2024.

Information in this article is general in nature and for your consideration, not as financial advice. Please contact your own financial professionals regarding your specific needs before taking any action based upon this information.

Kuper Realty Holding Company, LLC dba Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty is a subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU).


The following sources were last accessed in May 2024.

1“Remodeling Impact Report: National Association of REALTORS® Research Group.” National Association of REALTORS®, National Association of Realtors,

2“Efficient Windows Collaborative - Low-E Coating.” Efficient Windows Collaborative,