Best Upgrades to Increase the Value of Your Home

  • September 28, 2022
  •   •  
  • 5 min. read time
home value, preferred rate, mortgage blog

As mortgage rates surge, many homeowners are turning to home improvements and renovations. Home improvements and upgrades can bring new life to an older home, but they can also increase the value of your home substantially. Deciding to increase the value of your home is always a good move because it gives you more financial freedom down the road.

Whether you want to borrow against your home equity to invest in a second property, or prepare your home for sale, increasing the value of your home now can set you up for better returns later. And if this is your forever home, upgrades and renovations are a necessary part of homeownership.

That said, many home improvement projects could cost a bundle without increasing the value of your home. So it’s smart to do a bit of research and find out which upgrades are worth the effort when you want to increase the value of your home.

Even if you’re planning to relocate for work or a better lifestyle, updating your home will help you get the best price when it’s time to list your home for sale.

Whether you’re planning to relocate or stay put, here are the top 7 ways to increase the value of your home.

RELATED: How to finance a home renovation project with the FHA 203k loan


1. Add square footage to your home.

Increasing the usable square footage of your home will directly improve your home’s value. Home appraisals evaluate the livable square footage of a home in addition to other comparables in the neighborhood (such as the number of bedrooms and acreage). Therefore, adding a bedroom or an office will automatically increase the value of your home by the added square footage.

Another thing to consider is adding an in-law unit or ADU to the property. In a neighborhood with limited space, adding livable space will increase the value of your home and boost the appraised value (which we blogged about here).

RELATED: Everything you need to know about home appraisals

2. Improve your home’s curb appeal.

Curb appeal doesn’t always translate to a higher home value in a formal appraisal. However, curb appeal has a huge effect on buyers when they visit a home for the first time. So when you compare a handful of homes with similar square footage in the same neighborhood, curb appeal pulls more buyers and generates higher interest. In short, strong curb appeal leads to better offers when you’re getting ready to sell your home.

Landscaping is the path to your front door. Make sure to tidy up the yard, plant some seasonal flowers, keep the grass maintained and freshen up any ground cover. Larger expenses might be fixing walkways or driveways or adding more substantial landscaping. The goal is to get a buyer to stop and shop!

3. Add a fresh coat of paint to your home’s interior and exterior.

Right along with curb appeal, giving your home a fresh coat of exterior paint will improve the perceived value and tell prospective buyers that your home is well-cared for and maintained. Move toward neutral colors that are current for the times and don’t forget your front door.

Interior paint is one of the lowest cost updates you can do to bring a big return. If you’re selling your home, you might need to lean neutral and put a pause on bold choices. Bold colors and personality are beautiful if you’re planning to stay! But for prospective buyers, the interior colors and paint should be welcoming and neutral—a home they can see updating with their own style.

Renovating a fixer-upper? The Fannie Mae Homestyle loan might be a good fit (which we blogged about here).

4. Remodel your kitchen with a modern take.

A kitchen remodel can be costly no matter how you slice it. Often, updating cabinets with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware can have a big impact. Next, update lighting fixtures and replace countertops if they’re worn or outdated.

A bigger remodel can be worth it for many homeowners, especially if you want to stay in your home for a long time. Consider updating your appliances for both aesthetics and energy efficiency. Flooring, countertops, and adding square footage are next on the list. There is a large range of costs vs. value when it comes to kitchen remodels, so work with your realtor if you’re getting ready to sell your home.

Minor kitchen remodels are expected to bring an 80% return, while major remodels have an estimated 48% return on the investment. The value will increase over time as equity builds, so consider this if you’re looking to sell quickly.

RELATED: Compare the benefits of a Home Equity Loan vs. a HELOC for a home renovation

5. Give your bathroom a fresh feel.

The bathroom is one of the most important spaces to consider if you want to increase the value of your home. The good news is that small changes can make a big difference. Consider a minor remodel, including fresh paint, updated hardware and lighting, or even DIY bath and shower updates. If you want to increase the value of your home, think about expanding your bathroom or adding updated features like a walk in shower or soaking tub.

For larger projects such as heated flooring and custom fixtures, most homeowners see a 52% return. As your equity grows, the impact will increase as well. Finally, an updated bathroom can increase interest and generate offers much faster. Updating the bathroom should be at the top of your list.

6. Make your home more energy efficient.

There are a lot of options to increase the value of your home and make it more energy-efficient. Consider installing a smart thermostat, improving insulation, and replacing old windows. Take notice of attic insulation and roofing to decide if updates are needed, as well as updating to energy-efficient appliances in your home. Upgrades will improve the comfort and efficiency of your home and also save on utility bills.

Consider adding energy-efficient technologies and safety features. “Smart” technologies are becoming more popular among buyers who are energy-conscious and value home security. Smart tech doesn’t always increase the value of your home for a mortgage refinance appraisal, but new buyers are typically willing to pay more for a modernized home.

7. Get organized! Set a time to declutter and stage your home.

Organize and declutter to give your home newly found space and breathing room. If this feels like an overwhelming project, consider hiring a professional organizer or invite a few friends to help sort and giveaway belongings that are ready to move on. There are a lot of fun ways to get organized along with DIY projects that will keep your home looking bright and welcoming.

Staging is almost always worth the effort when it’s time to bring your home to market. Consider hiring a professional stager or invite a few friends to help you tackle the job. The goal is to create a welcoming space that feels like home but also feels like anyone’s home. Potential buyers will want to picture themselves in your space, which means family pictures and personal style might need to be on pause.


When you’re getting ready to update your home, take the opportunity to increase the value of your home at the same time. Curb appeal, fresh paint, and decluttering your home can generate buyer interest and offers. Likewise, kitchen and bathroom remodels, adding square footage, and making your home energy-efficient can increase the value of your home and get you a higher appraisal.

If you’re looking to sell your home, talk with your realtor to decide the best place to invest your dollars. And if you’re looking to stay, connect with a mortgage advisor to talk about mortgage and refinance options. A local mortgage expert can help determine the best path to access your equity and fund your renovations.

Next Steps

Consider how you want to fund your home renovations and upgrades. You can access your home equity by refinancing with cash-out, applying for a home equity loan, or even a home equity line of credit. We can help you decide which path will save you the most money and increase the value of your home. Connect with a local mortgage advisor to get started. We’d love to help.