Home Improvements That Pay You Back

If you’re planning to sell your house any time soon, home improvements that build property value should be on your to-do list. In Portland, Maine it’s a buyer’s market, and between tighter purse strings and plenty of properties to choose from, shoppers want homes that are move-in ready and free of the need for home improvement projects that will add to their own bottom lines.

Here are the top 10 Home Improvements that pay you back.

1. Front Entry Doors: Curb appeal is the first step in a successful home sale, and installing a beautiful, high-quality entry door is a simple home improvement that delivers impact both in buyer drive-bys and online listings. A new entry door will also help lower home energy costs and stand up to weather extremes.

2. Attic Bedroom: Converting an attic into useful living space is a smart way to add value and attract those shopping for multigenerational family homes.

3. Decks: Building a deck is one of the least-expensive ways to extend your living space. Composite decking is a great low-maintenance option, and even building a deck from pressure-treated wood can bring a return on investment of up to 80 percent at the time of sale.

4. Siding: A tight, tidy home contributes to curb appeal and takes major home improvement worries off a potential buyer’s list. Spruce up your home’s exterior by repairing or replacing siding for an eye-catching, protective finish.

5. Kitchen: The kitchen is a major selling point for a home, and its appearance and layout can often be a deal-breaker. Improving your kitchen doesn’t have to be a huge investment, however: just replacing countertops, key appliances or cabinet hardware can transform a kitchen’s look and impact.

6. Windows: Installing replacement windows is a pre-sale home improvement that pays for everyone, with the seller earning valuable energy tax credits and the buyer enjoying lower home energy bills.

7. Additions: If done wisely and in a way that won’t price your home out of the local market, additions are valuable home improvements

8. Basement: Make the most of this bonus space by finishing it for use as an apartment, office or entertainment zone ─ more great ways to appeal to multi-generational households.

9. Bathroom: Along with kitchens, bathrooms tend to age easily, so neutralize potential design objections by replacing the vanity, installing efficient fixtures and choosing hardware that facilitates easy access for all.

10. Back-up Power Generator: With the aging electrical grid becoming less reliable, access to backup power is essential for a home. Gone are the days of bulky, smelly, portable gas-powered generators: You can now have a neat, compact standby generator installed outside that can repower most of your home within seconds of losing electricity from the utility.

Thought: Of course you want to be pleased with the way your home looks while you’re in it but you don’t want to put in things that are extremely personal. For instance, choose colors that are neutral. Not everything has to be beige and bland, but you don’t want to pick colors that the average person isn’t going to like.

Information from MSN Real Estate & Remodeling Magazine.