As the housing market begins to improve in earnest, it’s becoming increasingly worthwhile to invest in your home. Of course not every home improvement project pays off with maximum returns, but there are always some wise investment choices to be made around the house.

1. Finish the Attic

If you use the space in your attic and create a new bedroom, you can expect to see a 72.5 percent return on that sort of investment. Of course, it’s a big investment to transform an attic space to a new bedroom complete with a bath. Most improvements of this sort run close to $50,000, so it may not make sense in your home or your neighborhood if the price of the improvement would price your home out of the neighborhood competition.

2. Repair and Update

Nobody wants to move into a home with a leaky roof or with a heater that works temperamentally. Start your home improvements by improving things that are currently broken or on the verge of being broken. Buyers like to move into homes they don’t have to worry about, and replacing your roof and replacing a leaky water heater are great choices when it comes to buyer confidence. Don’t forget to patch up any smaller problems as well – fix broken outlet covers, patch the holes in the drywall and fix that leaky sink as well.

3. Improve or Add a Bathroom

Bathrooms are now more important than kitchens to home buyers, so you should reflect this level of interest in your own home. Adding an entirely new bathroom can be expensive, often between $40,000 and $50,000, but you’ll see half of that money back when it’s time to sell, and you’ll also enjoy having a new bathroom while you’re living in the home. If you’re not able to afford an entirely new bathroom, upgrade the ones you have with new paint, new flooring and new fixtures to maximize their potential while sticking to your budget.

4. Address Exterior Areas

Exterior doors and windows, siding and even the garage can all be improved or replaced to boost your home’s value. Replacing old siding with new vinyl or fiber-cement varieties will not only boost your curb appeal, but reassure buyers that your home is ready for move-in and will need little or no improvements to the exterior for more than a decade. Other exteriors projects that payoff include replacing exterior doors and windows as well. The overall return on this sort of project is generally 72 percent.

5. Address the Kitchen

The kitchen is now ranked second on what is most important to buyers, but it is still very important. If you’re working with a budget, but want to maximize your investment, start by sanding and repainting your cabinets. Update the hardware on the cabinets and consider upgrading or replacing your flooring. You can get a big bang for your buck by remodeling your entire kitchen with new cabinets, new lighting, new flooring and new countertops, but the price tag for these sorts of improvements can be significant.

6. Finish the Basement

We’re not all lucky enough to have a basement, but if you do, strongly consider finishing it to significantly boost value. To finish your basement, you’ll need to add a ceiling and walls as well as potentially splitting the space into different rooms and storage areas. Depending on the level of renovation, this remodel can become pricey, but even just a basic upgrade with inexpensive materials can see a significant boost in resale for families looking for additional space.

7. Address Landscaping

Your curb appeal extends beyond your choice of siding and paint color. Your landscaping can have a significant effect on your home’s value. If your front yard is in serious need of an overhaul, it can cost you as much as 10 percent of your home’s value when it comes time to sell.

Start by removing debris and trimming back trees and shrubs. Spread mulch around flower beds and areas around trees. Consider adding some potted plants around the door and using some solar powered lights along your front walk as well. You may even decide to plant a new tree or add some color to the garden with some freshly planted annuals.

8. Improve Storage

Storage is a big deal to home owners – especially those with families. If your home currently lacks storage or has only cluttered areas of storage, improve the function of your existing closets or consider adding some new closets is possible to ensure that you have plenty of space for storage. If you’re limited on what you can add, work to improve your current closet set-up using some of the built-in closet organization systems available in home improvement stores. This is the sort of improvement that you’ll be sure to enjoy prior to selling as well.

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