7 Low-Cost Projects That Will Boost Your Home's Value

Here are the home improvements that really pay off.

When it comes to home improvements, some projects simply aren't worth it. Of course, if the intention is to create a home you love living in, any project can pay off, but if the goal is to boost your home's value, you'll need to be strategic about which tasks you take on. To get the most bang for your buck, we asked the experts at Zillow and Houzz which affordable home projects offer the best return on your investment. As we suspected, painting is number one on the list. Here are seven low-cost projects to consider before you put your house on the market.

01 of 07

Paint the bathroom light blue

"Professional interior painting averages $385 per room, but the right colors can pay for themselves—and more," says Amanda Pendleton, Zillow's home trends expert. According to its latest paint color analysis, homes with light blue bathrooms could sell for nearly $5,000 more, based on a $290,000 home, on average. The soothing hue could signal relaxation to those searching for a new home during the pandemic. Whether you paint the room yourself or hire a pro, the boost in home value will more than make up for the expense.

02 of 07

Choose neutral colors

If you currently have vibrant paint choices in your home, covering them with a coat of neutral paint can help boost your home's resale value. "When selecting paint colors, try to avoid anything too bold, as neutrals tend to be a safer choice in homes for sale," recommends Gillian Lazanik, a Houzz contributor. Neutral colors, like shades of white or light gray, allow potential buyers to see the possibilities of the space, whereas bright colors can be distracting. Go ahead and decorate a home that reflects your sense of style, but when it's time to sell, neutral and crowd-pleasing will pay off.

A coat of fresh paint delivers 100 percent ROI, and may even bump up your home's value by 5 percent.

03 of 07

Install a touchless kitchen faucet

Switching out your kitchen faucet is a fairly simple DIY project for anyone who's handy. According to Zillow, homes that mention a touchless faucet in their listing sell for 0.6 percent more than similar homes without this high-tech feature. Today's homebuyers are willing to pay a bit more for details that keep their home healthy and germ-free.

04 of 07

Upgrade your lighting

"Just like good lighting can instantly improve your IG profile pic, it can instantly change the atmosphere in your home," explains Pendleton."Swapping out dated fixtures and adding dimmer switches will go a long way in setting the right mood and make your home's best features look even better."

If you hire a pro, the average cost for replacing a light fixture on Thumbtack is $380. Opt for a popular pendant light in the kitchen—Zillow found that homes with pendant lights can sell more than a day faster than similar homes.

05 of 07

Turn your backyard into livable space

"Pandemic-era home shoppers are looking for more space—both indoor and out—but more importantly, they want functional space," says Pendleton. Lighting is one feature that makes an outdoor area feel functional and cozy. "Homes with outdoor, deck, or path lighting could sell for 1.6 percent more than expected. A fire pit can add a 1.6 percent sale premium." If you already have an outdoor area, illuminating the space with solar-powered path lights, garden lights, and an outdoor sconce can give your home's resale value an extra boost.

06 of 07


If your home looks cluttered, it will feel smaller and more chaotic to potential buyers. Declutter your house before listing it, but if you need some help, hiring a professional organizer will be worth it. "The money spent on hiring a pro for just one day will pay off when potential buyers see an organized home that feels larger and more manageable," says Lazanik. Since you won't be living there for much longer, you don't have to set up new storage systems, just go through what you own and pare down before the big move.

07 of 07

Convert your garage

OK, so this isn't exactly a low-cost project, but converting a pre-existing garage to livable space is more affordable than an addition, and offers a great return on your investment. "Data from Realm finds the home improvement projects with the highest ROI potential are low-cost ways to add living space, like garage conversions, in which the original structure isn't impacted," says Pendleton. "This added living area is particularly valuable in expensive housing markets where space comes at a premium and buyers are more attuned to a home's price-per-square foot." You will need to get a planning permit and check your local residential building regulations before starting this type of project. A home with a shed or a garage studio could bring a 2.3 percent sale premium.

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