Top home improvement projects for building equity

home improvement projects

(© Iriana Shiyan –

No one can live in a home ­forever, which means that homeowners must prepare for eventually selling their primary residence. People naturally want the maximum return on investment for the expense and hard work they put into home improvement projects.

When making home improvements strictly to increase housing value, it is important to weigh the cost and effort with the value the completed project provides. Some provide little value for the expense while others provide a significant equity increase with little effort. Below are several ideas that fall into the second description of home improvement projects.

Curb Appeal Can Make or Break a Sale

Prospective buyers begin evaluating a home long before they ever set foot in the door. This could be as simple as keeping the lawn neatly trimmed. Professional landscaping can also help improve curb appeal. However, it’s not necessary to spend thousands of dollars on features such as outdoor water fountains since homeowners would be unlikely to recover that cost upon the sale of their home.

It is better to focus on simple visual improvements like keeping trees and shrubs well-maintained, repairing cracks in the driveway, and making the entry area to the home as attractive and clutter-free as possible.

Replace Windows

Replacing cracked windows, windows with screen damage, or inefficient windows should be a priority since potential buyers are sure to notice these defects. When it comes to choosing a window replacement, retrofit is often a better option than new construction windows. Retrofit windows cost less and are easier to install, both big bonuses for people looking to put their house on the market. Block frame and flush fin are the two primary styles of retrofit windows.

Homeowners interested in replacing windows should ask the installation company to explain their options in more detail, including the benefits and potential drawbacks of each window type.

Consider Adding an Outdoor Deck

When it comes time to sell, homes without a deck must compete for consideration with homes that already have this feature. Although this upgrade can be more costly, it does not have to break the bank. Even a simple deck adds equity to the home that it otherwise would not have.

A 2019 report from estimates the typical return on investment of 75 percent for homeowners who choose to add a deck. It is also important for them to consider their own enjoyment of the deck before selling since they are unlikely to recoup the entire investment.

Other Simple Fixes to Improve Home Equity

The above suggestions are for the outside of the home and do require some monetary investment. Fortunately, making simple repairs or replacements inside the home can increase its value as well. Some upgrades to consider include:

  • New floor covering to replace missing tiles or frayed carpet, repair scuff marks in hardwood floors, or arrange for professional carpet cleaning to eliminate deeply-set stains.
  • Repair nail holes in walls using a tube of nail hole filler that typically costs less than $10.
  • Replace peeling or outdated wallpaper.
  • Replace ceiling fans, electrical outlets, and light fixtures that require it.
  • Refinish or replace kitchen cabinets rather than undertaking a complete kitchen remodel.

Any one of these fixes should provide a measurable return on investment for people looking to sell their home.


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