Increase Your Home’s Value – Home Improvement Projects that Make a Great Investment

What impact can home improvement projects have on the value of your home?

A friend of mine bought her first condo for a song because the linoleum floors were ripped, the cabinets were a circa 1970 dark wood panel, and there were stains on the carpet – not to mention the countless kid-sized handprints on the walls.

With a couple of cans of paint, new linoleum and rug remnants, she was able to increase the value of the condo by $20,000.

Another friend drastically improved the livability and value of his old Vermont farmhouse by replacing the outdated appliances with newer, energy efficient appliances, that included popular stainless steel fronts. He also installed inexpensive new counter tops from the local home improvement store and repainted his cabinets a fresh white. Without hiring a contractor, he was able create a new and modern style kitchen.

Which Improvements are Wise Investments?

Making wise home improvement choices means considering the ROI (Return on Investment) for each project. Home improvements with the highest ROI aren’t necessarily the biggest or most costly projects, and many can be done by the homeowner.

These are our top three picks for cost effective home improvement projects. They each have a great ROI and, even if you are not looking to sell your home, they will make it more pleasing and comfortable to live in!

The Front Door

The front door is the first thing you, or anyone else who is approaching your house, sees – it is the face of your home so keeping it attractive and in good order is a smart idea. Improving the front door of your home is consistently in the top projects that add value to your home.

Upgrading your front door can be as simple as a new coat of paint, or as complicated as replacing it altogether.

If your door is in good order and fits well (no cold air leaking in!) then a spruce up may be all it needs. Consider painting it a new color, or just give it a good scrub down.

If your front door is drafty or doesn’t close well, it may be time to make a bigger improvement. Energy efficient doors and weather stripping can help on your overall energy costs by keeping the outside air out in summer and winter.

Do you have a storm door or screen door? Make any necessary repairs and make sure it closes securely.

Updating your front door can also mean the area around it. Add trim or window treatments that are near your entrance. If you have a porch or front stoop, make any necessary repairs for safety first and then look at making it more attractive. A planter, a better door, or an upgraded mailbox can all add curb appeal and functionality to your entrance.

Whether you’re hoping to sell in the near future, or just want to maintain your home so it is at its best, showing your front entrance some love is a good place to start!

Minor Kitchen Upgrades

New kitchen cabinets

Fixing up your kitchen is a great investment. The kitchen is the most often used room in the house, so it is no surprise that potential and current homeowners like to see a kitchen that is up-to-date and functional.

Expensive kitchen remodels are not always your best bet when it comes to getting a good return on the money you spend. Smaller upgrades such as new paint, lighting, or appliances can all bring your kitchen up-to-date and improve the value of your home.

New Paint 

Painting is a fantastic and cost effective way to update any area of your house but it can be especially helpful in the kitchen! A fresh coat of paint on walls and the ceiling will brighten and clean up the room.

Painting cabinets can bring a dated kitchen into the modern world. There are a lot of tutorials out there for successfully painting cabinets – take a look at this one for an idea of what it takes.


Dated and dim lighting can really bring down a room (not to mention make it hard to find that whisk when you need it)! A simple change like switching out light bulbs (bonus for using energy efficient ones) can make a world of difference.

Since the cost of light fixtures varies greatly it is a good idea to check out places like Goodwill and The ReStore, or even search on Craigslist. You may be able to pick up a high-end light fixture for next to nothing!

Energy Efficient Appliances

Energy efficiency is what is on everyone’s mind and in every article we could find about home improvement. It is not only better for the environment, but energy efficient appliances will save money in the long term.

If you want to make an upgrade that will eventually pay for itself, replace old appliances with Energy Star rated ones. You will immediately see a difference on your electric bill, may be eligible for rebates from Efficiency Vermont, and your home will be more attractive to potential buyers if you are planning to sell.

Energy Efficient Upgrades

More energy efficiency? Yes! Spending less on energy and using fewer natural resources is on top of everyone’s list!

If you are making improvements to sell or just to protect your investment, you cannot go wrong with making energy efficient upgrades.

If you’re not sure what sort of improvements you can make, having an energy audit performed is a good place to start. A professional auditor will come to your home and perform tests that can determine what upgrades will make the most impact on your home.

Heating systems are becoming more efficient every year. What was available to homeowners even 10 years ago has changed as the push towards energy conservation grows. It is worth the time to research and find out how a new, or even upgraded system, can benefit your home.

Do you know about Heat Pumps and Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters?

Heating systems that are gaining popularity because of their extreme efficiency are Cold Climate Heat Pumps (CCHP) and Hot Water Heat Pumps. These systems work at a fraction of the cost of others because they are moving heat rather than generating it.

Over a  lifetime, heat pumps can save a homeowner thousands to tens of thousands of dollars over other heating fuels and systems (more on that here). Heat pumps

Changing your current heating system to a Cold Climate Heat Pump (CCHP) or updating your Hot Water Heater to a Heat Pump Hot Water Heater, are upgrades that will make your home more efficient for you and more attractive to potential buyers.

Your home is a big investment.  Protect it and live comfortably by choosing smart and economical improvement projects that will add to its value!

To learn even more about how to make your home energy efficient, and discover the options that are available to Vermonters, check out our HEAT Squad Website.