For years people have said that kitchen and bathroom remodels are where home owners see the most return on their investments. Successful brokers, appraisers and buyers say there are other valuable updates and changes that can be made in order to demand a higher sales price.

Think about the specific house and location. Does the house sit on a busy street with road noise? Maybe the home is older and has many small rooms, or sits close to the neighbors will little privacy. Experts say, focus in on the objections or features as buyers would see them.

In the case of a home on a busy street, consider replacing the windows with a more energy efficient, sound proofing style in order cut down on the external noise. Thoughtful, dense landscaping and/or fencing can also help to buffer noise and gain privacy from close neighbors.

Along the coast especially, a smart investment is to add a generator and hard wire it to the house. This is perceived as a preventative, safety measure and therefore provides a good return.

If you have a home with many smaller rooms, consider removing a non-load bearing wall to open up the space. If your budget doesn’t allow for renovation, consider working with your Realtor to draft conceptual plans and get a ball park price to share with potential buyers. These days, buyers are looking for bright, open spaces especially when it comes to the kitchen, dining and living rooms.

If you have a particularly large yard or attractive views, adding a deck or patio space where buyers can see themselves spending leisure time can be a way to enhance the value on the home. Helping buyers see outdoor space as part of their “living space” is a great way for buyers to feel like they are getting more for their money. Staging such an area with suitable outdoor furniture can also help identify the area and help the buyers visualize the way then can utilize the space.

“Green” features are becoming more popular every year. Solar panels and rain water containment systems are just two ways you can add value to a home. Solar panels of course can reduce power bills, sometimes making them non-existent. Depending on the solar system installed, some owners have the ability to sell some of the energy back to the power companies which generates income. Picture yourself as a buyer. Can you appreciate a feature which reduces your monthly expenses or creates income?

For homes that are in need of kitchen or bath updates, consider upgrading the counter tops, replacing a vanity or re-facing your cabinets instead of opting for the full renovation. It is easier for buyers to consider putting in a new floor or back splash of their choice, than replacing the entire kitchen. You want to help buyers see all of the possibilities without getting overwhelmed by the cost of all the renovations.

A few exterior suggestions for good returns are painting or replacing the garage door or front door to the home. Anything that adds curb appeal, adds perceived value and gives an overall positive impression. A quick paint job and some updated hardware can be an inexpensive way to make a big impact, as can the addition of a few strategically placed planters to add a splash of color.

Most importantly, make all necessary repairs so your home and yard gives the impression that it has been well maintained. Fix loose doors, cracked windows, broken moldings, cabinet hinges, etc. and make sure to change all burnt out light bulbs. Keep lawns edged, shrubs trimmed and climbing plants under control. These simply items can give potential buyers a better first impression which could result in a higher offer.

For more details on renovation ideas to get the most return on your investment, listen to the experts at This Old House Online and suggestions from the Top 500 Brokers of RIS Media.,,20247552,00.html