10 Genius Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value (Without Breaking the Bank)

There are affordable ways to maintain your home and help it retain value.
Last updated May 13, 2022 | By Nicholas Slayton | Edited By Michele Zipp
young man in plaid shirt looking inside his empty wallet

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Working to increase your home’s value is a good project to start. And it's not just for those looking to sell — some home upgrades can help you save money while also improving your quality of life.

These improvements don't have to destroy your budget either. Check out these ways to improve your home’s value without breaking the bank.

Deep clean

Africa Studio/Adobe couple  cleaning their apartment

A clean house not only looks better, it raises the value of a home. Save money by doing it yourself or by hiring a cleaner to remove dirt and grime you might miss in your regular upkeep. Stains, grease, possibly even mold — these can all accumulate over time even if you are tidy. A deep clean can give your house a fresh start. Plus, maintaining cleanliness helps make everything last longer.

Pressure washing the exterior may also help remove residue from the elements and weather. If you have a porch or deck it can also make the wood look fresh and clean.

Brighten up the interior

Africa Studio/Adobe young female decorator painting wall

Buyers and realtors on the housing market like things to be bright and light. While burgundy walls might work with a den, consider repainting it a light neutral color, a cream or off-white tone. Those fresh coats of paint add to the brightness of a room and may help cover any minor damage to a wall.

Paint the front door

Brett/Adobe front facade of newly painted home

While inside neutral colors are best, have you considered making your door's exterior more vibrant? A colorful and bright door draws eyes, and gives your home an inviting touch. It's a low-effort update that won’t break the bank.

If your door is showing some deeper damage, consider replacing it. But if it's just faded paint, a fresh bit of color can make a big difference in appearance.

Add energy-efficient upgrades

Patrick/Adobe solar panels on roof of house

Energy-efficient home improvements can make a big difference, especially if you live in an older house. The overall project can include replacing incandescent lights with LEDs, and putting in water efficient shower heads and faucets that reduce water waste. It adds to the sustainability of the house and, whether you're selling it or not, helps keep utilities costs low.

Several cities' public utilities, including Los Angeles and New York City also offer programs and incentives to do these kinds of overhauls, so look into what is available before you start.

Plant trees

kegfire/Adobe parent and child planting tree

How much plant life do you have outside your house? If it's none or close to none, consider planting some bushes or trees. If you have the space on your property, planting even just one tree can both add some life to your yard and add to the value of your home. Increasingly, natural shade is becoming more in demand and more of a positive value for home appraisers.

Remove carpet

oldmn/Adobe old carpet rolls

Thick carpet can be comfortable for the feet, but it's not the most attractive element on the real estate market. It also stains easily and requires its own share of upkeep. There's a chance that if you have an older home, that carpet is covering up hardwood floors, which are in high demand these days.

Check to see if your house has some hidden hardwood. Removing the carpet and restoring the floors may be worth it. And a stylish area rug can tie the room together.

Declutter

kostikovanata/Adobe Top view of woman hands neatly organizing bathroom amenities

When was the last time you reorganized your belongings? If it has been some time, consider removing clutter and adding more storage to your home. That can involve adding new shelving or consolidating items in a better organized closet.

Beyond the immediate organization benefit this offers, decluttering makes the home feel bigger, which could make it more appealing to potential buyers. Don’t forget to work on the garage and attic, too.

Smarten your home

oasisamuel/Adobe  Nest thermostat with a reminder to change the furnace air filter

Smart home technologies are very real, accessible, and attractive to realtors and buyers. These devices can include music within light controls and thermostats that can be controlled from a smartphone. Oftentimes they overlap with energy efficient upgrades, so you can likely cover both upgrades at the same time.

Pro tip: Before you get started on upgrading your home, read this guide to financing home improvement projects to find ways to have the most effective budget.

Modernize the ceiling

Kadmy/Adobe painter with putty knife

Do the rooms in your house have popcorn ceilings? As you might expect, a popcorn ceiling doesn't do much on the real estate market. An easy way to increase your home's values is to get those ceilings smoothed out. The upfront cost is relatively cheap, with an instant added boost to your home's worth.

Upgrade appliances

DigitalGenetics/Adobe home appliances collection set

If you're in an older home, your appliances may be showing some wear. Beyond simply adding a new and modern visual touch to a house, a new stove or refrigerator can also be more efficient in gas or electrical costs.

Bottom line

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe young african american woman pointing at laptop screen to boyfriend

Renovation and updates don't have to be expensive endeavors. Whether improving a house to put it on the market or just trying to update your home, there are several options that don't require heavy labor or expenses.

These ideas may also improve your quality of life in the home — from reducing utilities costs to having a brighter and better organized living space.

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Author Details

Nicholas Slayton Nicholas Slayton is a journalist and editor based in Los Angeles. His writing can be found at The Daily Beast, Paste Magazine, Architectural Digest, Shelterforce, and other outlets.