One of the most often asked questions when someone is planning to make changes to their home is, what will add value when it comes time to sell? Of course, you want your home to be comfortable. It should be the living space you want it to be but if you have plans to sell within the next few years, you may want to consider what changes will help make your home more appealing to prospective buyers. And of course, what changes will allow you to increase your selling price!

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to maximize your efforts. How can you get the biggest bang for your time, effort, and money? Start with these home upgrades:

Begin with the basics. Yes, buyers love to see gorgeous kitchens and luxurious bathrooms but you know what they want more? A sound roof. A dry basement. Up to date plumbing and wiring.

Once you get past the basics, the easiest, most cost-effective change to make is to add a new coat of paint. It’s amazing how fresh and new a home can look with a clean coat of paint. Stick to neutral colors to help brighten the space and make it look larger.

Kitchens and bathrooms are key areas of importance to buyers and a good investment that almost always pays off. Only have one bathroom? Adding a second one, even just a half bath, can allow you to recoup 80-130% of your initial investment.

Freshen up existing bathrooms with new grout, tile flooring, and some sleek luxury touches like a surround shower or heated floor. Such changes can bring back 92-145% of your investment.

In the kitchen, consider re-staining or painting your cabinets and updating the hardware. Upgrade the appliances – stainless steel is still a popular, modern choice. If you have space, put in an island to extend the counter space available. Want to take it one step better? Make it a rolling island for even more versatility.

Buyers are always looking for more storage space. Look around your home for any under-used areas that could be converted into closets or built-in shelving.

Worn or outdated carpeting is a big turn-off to buyers. Consider putting in hardwood flooring. It’s a classic and never goes out of style. Can’t afford hardwood? Even a good quality laminate can reap benefits over carpeting.

Lighting upgrades can have an immediate impact on potential buyers. They can make your space look brighter and more spacious. Update those old outdated fixtures with more modern ones providing cleaner lighting. Start with the kitchen and bathroom, ensuring plenty of overhead and task lighting in these spaces.

Replacing your old HVAC system with new, more energy efficient models will not only save you money now but they are far more appealing to buyers as well. Some government agencies even offer rebates for adding more environmentally friendly appliances to your home.

So, go ahead. Renovate your house and make it the dream home you always wanted it to be. Just keep the future in mind and plan ahead for the day you want to sell so you can reap the full benefits of your investments.