A few improvements can go a long way in increasing the value of your home.  Something as simple as a fresh coat of paint enhances your home’s appearance and protects it from wear and tear.  Consider these tips from Consumer Reports about home upgrades that are especially popular in today’s housing market.

Most first-time buyers rate a modern kitchen as the most important feature of a home.  The good news is, if you can’t afford a total remodel, even small upgrades can give your kitchen an updated look.  A remodeling contractor can transform your kitchen by installing new appliances, flooring and countertops.

The majority of homeowners are also looking for a home that doesn’t require too much work to maintain.  They want surfaces that are durable and easy to clean, such as hardwood floors.  Electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating systems need to be kept up-to-date so they last as long as possible without requiring frequent repairs.  A new roof protects against damage from ice, water, and squirrel or other pest infestations. 

Today’s eco-conscious consumers want a home that is energy-efficient so they can save money and minimize their carbon footprint.  A remodeling contractor can install high-efficiency windows in your home, reducing your energy costs by as much as 7-15 percent.  Likewise, LED-lighting lasts longer and uses less energy than traditional lighting.

When considering renovations, think about how to make the most of the space you already have before you decide to add on to your existing floor plan.  Open space with flexible uses will allow you to set a higher asking price when it’s time to sell.  For many homeowners that have one, finishing a basement is one of the best ways to maximize available living space.  Prospective buyers report that they especially appreciate rooms that can be used for multiple purposes, such as a home office and exercise center.

Whether you plan to sell your home now or a few years down the road, taking steps to increase its value will give you an optimal return on your investment.