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If you own your home, chances are you’re aware of the fact that homeownership can get pretty expensive. This is especially true when it comes to things like remodels and renovations. 

Conventional wisdom states that many home upgrades end up largely paying for themselves in increased home value. However, that is certainly not a universal concept. Sometimes less cost-efficient upgrades are also necessary to help make your home more appealing to potential buyers or even to simply improve the quality of life for those dwelling in your residence in the here and now.

With that said, here are a few suggestions for the most important home improvement upgrades worth prioritizing in the name of either value, utility, or both.

Remove Threats and Dangers

It’s tempting to stay focused on flashy upgrades that can help increase your home’s value or sellability — and those are certainly important to consider. However, before you focus on upgrades of that nature, it’s important to take stock of the risk factors associated with the current state of your home.

For instance, you don’t want to add on a fancy, expensive new addition if your children are handling lead paint all over the old walls. Adding a new bedroom is great, but it doesn’t do you much good if you stir up a bunch of unaddressed mold while you’re executing the renovation. Replacing the walls in your may be an exciting prospect, but if your old house was constructed using asbestos-based materials, make sure to either have them properly removed. Asbestos contributes to conditions such as mesothelioma, and the best way to get rid of it is to have it professionally removed.

Regardless of the specific threat or danger, always put health hazards like mold and lead at the top of your to-do list.

Revamp the Bathroom and Kitchen

Once you’ve got your home into a healthy state of existence, it’s time to look for projects that can truly upgrade the usability and value of your residence. The two classic options that typically give you the best bang for your buck are your kitchen and bathroom.

Your kitchen, for instance, has a 54% ROI for larger remodels and as much as an 81% return for smaller projects. Bathrooms are even more effective, as even small activities like painting or refinishing cabinets and hardware can lead to a $1.71 increase in home value for every dollar spent on the remodel itself. Even if you invest a little bit more into hiring an expert to handle these remodels, chances are you’ll still see a good return on your investment.

Add Another Bedroom

The number of bedrooms that a home has can significantly impact the value of the home itself. In addition to the dollar value, an extra bedroom makes your home more attractive to buyers with dependents and can also provide a potential home office space for the myriad of modern employees that work from home.

If you do decide to split a room into two bedrooms or turn an unfinished space, like an attic or basement, into a finished room, always do your homework first. This doesn’t just apply to the actual construction itself, either. It’s also wise to call your local building inspector to discover what requirements, such as a closet, heat vent, or minimum size, are required to make your new room officially count as a bedroom.

Steer Into the Smart-Home Skid

Smart homes have gotten to the point where they aren’t just fun, quirky additions to your home, they can genuinely increase your home’s value. Even though the actual dollar value of your home won’t necessarily be increased by a smart home thermostat or a video doorbell, it can still facilitate a faster sale when the time comes to move.

Additionally, having a smart home can help to increase your quality of life. In the short-term, it can boost the sustainability of your home, such as a thermostat helping to reduce your energy consumption. In the long-term, having smart-home capabilities can also help you age-in-place. For instance, having an IoT-friendly home can give you access to various healthcare technologies, such as telehealth and remote patient monitoring. These can allow older homeowners to remain in their homes longer rather than having to move to care facilities.

Seriously Boost that Curb Appeal

Finally, there are many things that you can do to the exterior of your home that will reward your efforts in spades. Fences, front doors, garage doors, trees, and even an in-law suite can all add a surprising amount of value to your home.

Making Savvy Improvements to Your Home

There is an endless list of ways that you can upgrade your dwelling. However, it’s not hard to pull together a shortlist of activities that will give you the greatest return on your investment. This includes things like a kitchen remodel that promises the biggest bang for your buck, removing a mold infestation that’s hampering your health, and upgrading to a smart home for utility and buy appeal.

Whatever the specific home improvement activities, always make sure to consider what kind of ROI (financial or otherwise) you’re going to get for each renovation before you commit to the time, effort, and resources required. This helps to ensure that your home remains both a valuable and desirable place to live over the long haul.

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