In the early 2000s, prospective home buyers often had to buy a fixer-upper or a home that needed a modest amount of work to stay in their price range. Today, they not only have more homes to choose from, but the luxury of selecting a home that’s ready to move into without major repair. For current homeowners looking to sell over the next few years, it is critical to preserve and improve your current property to get a more than competitive price.
While your first goal is to improve the appearance and functionality of your home, you also want to select home improvement projects that will come close to paying for themselves at resale. Here’s a short list of projects you can undertake that have a high return on investment (ROI):

· Replace the front door – In addition to improving curb appeal, a high-quality entry door can help lower energy costs by reducing drafts in extreme weather. It’s also one of the first things a new buyer will notice.
· Add a deck – Building a deck from pressure-treated wood can bring an ROI in the neighborhood of 80 percent. And, if you’re a handy do-it-yourselfer, you can install the deck yourself and make this addition even more cost-effective.
· Kitchen improvements – Historically, kitchen remodels carry the highest ROI. Unfortunately, they also carry the highest price tags if you’re replacing cabinets. Consider replacing cabinet hardware, countertops, and key appliances instead. That’s a great way to give your kitchen a new look without absorbing the cost of a major remodel.
· Finished basement – Whether it’s a home theater room, man cave, home office, or exercise room, a finished basement adds extra value to the price tag of your home.
· Replacement windows – This is an everybody-wins improvement. By installing new windows, you, the homeowner receive tax credits and lower energy bills, the latter of which is a huge selling point for potential buyers.
· Bathroom – Like kitchen remodels, renovating your bathroom can deliver a larger ROI than most projects. It also has a larger price tag. Instead of spending top dollar, try making modest improvements that could eliminate possible objections from potential buyers—replacing the vanity, installing efficient fixtures, etc.
· Attic bedroom – With people living longer and the dollar not going as far as it used to, many homes are now multi-generational—parents, grandparents, and grown children all living in the same house. Converting your attic into an additional bedroom creates a selling point for potential buyers who may have grown children or parents who live with them, but need a bit more privacy than what a typical bedroom might offer.
· Eliminate loud colors – It’s your home and you have every right to paint your walls, but if you plan to sell your home, use neutral colors in rooms that will be most traveled by real estate agents and their open house guests.

By taking on one or all of these home improvement projects, you not only improve present living conditions for you and your family, but also create a more attractive and lucrative product for resale. And with the number of houses presently on the market, you need every advantage you can get.

Sara Shragal is a staff writer for DirectBuy. For more information or other helpful tips for your home, visit www.directbuycares.com.