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10 Simple Home Improvements that Add Value to Your Home (and 4 that Don’t)

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Photo Copyright : hofmeester /

Homes in North Carolina are appreciating at historically normal rates, but not every home is “normal.” And for home sellers, it always pays to be better than normal.

If you’re planning to put your home on the market this season—or you’re just planning ahead—there’s one sure-fire way to ensure your home is above average. A range of simple home improvements can add value to your home, now and in the long run. See this slideshow video - 10 Home Improvement Tips Before Selling.

Which upgrades you may need to complete are obviously dependent on the current condition of your home and the budget you want to spend. However, this list can help you focus your efforts for the greatest return. Here are ten simple home improvements that add value to your home (and four you might as well skip).

Start Outside for a Great First Impression

The first part of your home people see is the outside, so if you’re selling, it makes sense to focus your early efforts here. Many of the purely aesthetic upgrades to the outside of your home and yard are affordable and can be done by you. If you’re just moving in, you may want to focus on your living spaces first, but don’t neglect the outside in the long run.

1. Landscaping

Get your lawn under control! Shape hedges, remove overgrowth, and consider adding or replacing with low-maintenance plants. Native plants are adapted to the soil and climate conditions of the region, which means they’re less fussy with the changes in seasons. If you’re able to think long term, consider adding shade trees, which look nice and will also cut home cooling costs considerably once they mature. Overall, investing in landscaping offers a great return in value.

2. Curb Appeal

In addition to the lawn and landscaping, curb appeal includes any hardscaping you have, along with outdoor features and decorations. Avoid a busy or cluttered look by mixing the heights of your elements, and focus attention on a clean and clear path from the street to the front door. At the door, make sure the entrance space looks clean and open, and offers some shelter from bad weather. And don’t forget the lighting! Adding outdoor lighting is a great way to make your home look more safe and inviting—perfect for welcoming guests or buyers!

3. Clean it Up

The term “shabby chic” shouldn’t apply to the exterior of your home. Make sure the roof is in good shape. Replace bad siding or broken brickwork. Give the exterior a thorough power wash—you’ll be surprised how much difference that will make! And consider a new coat of paint. If that feels like too much work, start with something small. Just sweeping the front porch free of pollen and cobwebs can make a huge difference! Wipe around the door frame and shutters. And don’t forget to show a little love to your mailbox, too.

Make Basic Changes Inside for Quick Effect

Don’t wait until you’re ready to move out to make your home feel vibrant and fresh! You deserve to reap the benefits of the home improvements that make your home a joy to live in. Best of all, you don’t have to go overboard to improve your home’s function and value. Even a fresh coat of paint can go a long way. Focusing on the quality of your living spaces is key.

4. Upgrade the Kitchen and Bathroom

Nearly every professional out there will tell you to start your upgrades in the kitchen. However you don’t need to drop $20K to add value to your home. (In fact, you probably shouldn’t!) The same holds true for the bathroom, the second most expensive room to renovate. For as little as a few hundred bucks, you can improve the value of your home by several percentage points. New fixtures and lighting are a great place to start. Also, repair any small but noticeable issues, like leaky faucets or broken tiles.

5. Walls and Ceilings

A new coat of paint is a great, cost-effective way to freshen up any room. Even just touching up molding and window frames can make a big difference. But don’t just focus on vertical spaces. Your ceilings deserve some attention, too. Give them a fresh coat of paint or varnish, depending on the ceiling type. If you don’t mind getting a little messy, do away with popcorn ceilings! (Note that some older ceilings may contain asbestos. If you’re not sure, have yours tested by professionals before doing any demo.)

6. Open up Space

Despite recent changes to home life, open floor plans are still very popular in our area. So regardless of your existing floor plan, do what you can to make your home feel more open. If you have a half wall that doesn’t add storage and isn’t load bearing, consider removing it to open up space. Does your home feel too cramped? Adding mirrors can make existing spaces look larger, and replacing heavy drapes with good quality blinds or shutters can bring in more natural light.