Remember the children's book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie...? As the title suggests, the book is based on a snowball of activity that all begins with giving a mouse a cookie. Well, we've found that home remodeling projects tend to go the same way. For instance, let's say you've decided to replace your flooring. While the old flooring is up and the subfloors are exposed, you might decide that it's the perfect time to paint the walls. When you paint the walls, you might decide to take the color into the kitchen. When you repaint the kitchen, you might decide that the cabinets need a makeover as well. It could go on and on and on! Our point is that it's easy to get carried away with home remodeling once you start. All of this time and money spent on remodeling is great if you're working toward making the perfect home for yourself. But if you plan on selling your home soon, there are some projects that aren't worth the time and money they cost. Below are seven remodeling projects that will improve the value of your home. So put on your blinders, avoid all other distractions, and get to work!

1. Create a great first impression. While adding curb appeal via landscaping is definitely important when you try to sell your home, we're talking doors here. A new front door (especially an upgraded steel or fiberglass door) is certain to catch the attention of future buyers. Go ahead and think about installing a new garage door, too, if yours looks worn or outdated.

2. Add useable square footage. You don't have to add on entire new rooms to accomplish this. Take any underutilized space in your house and turn it into something new. An attic can be converted into a really cool bedroom or office. The space under the stairs can easily become a half bathroom.

3. Update the kitchen. Think minor upgrades to recoup the most cost. This is one of the best improvements you can make to increase the value of your home. Update the cabinet fronts and hardware, install a new mid-priced sink and faucets, replace the counter tops if needed, and add a coat of fresh paint. Little details go a long way. If you're willing to spend a little more, energy-efficient appliances are a great and very appealing upgrade.

4. Add a deck. Outdoor entertaining has become increasingly popular, especially here in the South. A deck or nice patio at the back of the home is a nice addition that's sure to catch buyers' eyes. Because you can do this on a low budget, it's easy to recoup the cost.

5. Install energy-efficient windows. Smart buyers are interested in anything that will save them money in the long run. According to Energy Star, replacing older windows with new, energy-efficient ones can save about $500 a year on heating and cooling. In addition, some electric companies give rebates or other incentives to homeowners with energy-efficient features. This might sound like a big expense, but HGTV says that you can recoup anywhere from 60% to 90% on this upgrade.

6. Take care of other updates. Many sellers assume that buyers would rather do minor updates themselves, but a home that has been well cared for is much more attractive than one that needs new carpeting or has a minor mold issue that needs to be cleaned up.

While you're working on improving the value of your home, beware these four projects that more than likely won't recoup costs at resale.

1. In-ground swimming pool. While pools are enjoyable and fun, they aren't attractive to all buyers. They require a lot of upkeep and increase energy costs and homeowner's insurance. If you plan to live in your house for several years and would like to install a pool for your own enjoyment, by all means, go for it! But if you plan on selling in the next two or so years, it's not really worth the effort.

2. Major kitchen upgrades. We know, we know. Kitchens are huge selling points. But before you add that dream gourmet kitchen, make sure that you aren't making an overimprovement. While minor kitchen remodels bring about 83% return on investment, major ones ($50,000 +) only tend to net around 74%.

3. Extravagant landscaping. Sure, that backyard paradise will appeal to buyers, but it won't do anything to add to your home's price per square foot. Make more affordable, classic, subtle changes instead.

4. A rand new roof. While this might be a necessity in some cases, it won't increase the value of your home (unless it's falling apart). New roofs
are great selling points, but you won't recoup the cost of a brand new roof at sale.

What experiences have you had with improvements that add (or don't add) value to your home? Do you agree or disagree with our list? Tell us in the comments below!





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