11 DIY Ways to Add Value to Your Home

If you’ve been in your home for a while, there are probably a lot of things you’d love to do around the house. But you’re not ready to open a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or refinance to get them. The good news is there’s a lot you can do to make a big impact--and add some value--to your home.  Here are a few ways you can add value to your home with sweat equity, which won't cost you any more than time and materials.

  1. Landscaping It’s crazy what a few bags of mulch, some flowers, and an afternoon can do to your yard. Do you research and choose plants that are drought resistant and well-suited to the temperature and sun in your yard, so they'll last. Especially if your thumb isn’t exactly green.

  2. Energy-efficient upgrades: From replacing your windows to adding a tankless hot water heater, there are a ton of energy-efficient upgrades you can do for your home. This can be one of the more expensive upgrades, so you might want to think about getting an Energy Efficient Mortgage to help finance them.

  3. Upgrade bathrooms and kitchens: Think simple with this one. You don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) add a gourmet kitchen. But staining your cabinets and updating your fixtures can go a long way.

  4. Replace carpets and rugs: Between the kids, the dog, and just plain old clumsiness, your carpets are looking a little...rough. Replacing them is a quick way to make your home more welcoming and add value when you’re ready to sell.

  5. Storage: Unless you’re living like a monk, you (and your potential buyers) probably have a lot of stuff. The sky’s the limit on this upgrade. Built in bookcases. Shelves in the bathroom. Hooks and benches in the mudroom. Take a look at your home and see what kind of storage you need the most.

  6. Appliance upgrades: If your appliances are ready for the Smithsonian or you just never got around to fixing that busted burner on your stove, it might be time for an upgrade. Again, they don’t have to be top-of-the-line, just modern.

  7. Paint: Neutral colors appeal to the largest number of people. So if your heart is set on a fuchsia accent wall, just know you’re probably going to have to paint over it when you’re ready to sell. And don’t forget to take your time. If you end up with paint on the carpet, spots on the ceiling, and drip marks down the wall, a potential buyer would probably rather you just left the walls as they are.

  8. Crown molding: Lots of people are intimidated by this project. But with a few tools (and some YouTube videos) just about anyone can do it. It’s a pretty inexpensive way to make your house look polished and upscale.

  9. Ceiling fans: Ceiling fans are a great addition to a home. Not only do they add value, but they’ll also save you money on your utility bill.

  10. Update lighting fixtures: Take a look at your old fixtures and see where you can update to brighter, more energy-efficient ones. If you already have good quality fixtures, they might just need a facelift. That brushed nickel finish is just a spray-paint can away.

  11. Power wash the exterior: Dirt, pollen, and mildew can build up on the outside of your house. Suddenly your home looks more Dr. Frankenstein than Martha Stewart. Even if you have to buy the power washer, this is still a pretty cheap way to make a huge difference.

Of course, you'd like to increase the equity you have in your home, and paying your mortgage on time is one way to do that. But you can also build equity by adding value to your house with a little home improvement!