There are many ways to add value to your home, but expensive and extensive renovations may not always offer the best return on investment. In fact, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ most recent Remodeling Impact Survey, it’s not always the big-ticket items that pay off when it’s time to sell.

This list includes a variety of home improvements that are ideally suited for fall DIY and weekend warrior projects. Each offers the chance to add to your enjoyment of your home today, and add value and market appeal when it comes time to sell in the future. Best of all, these affordable projects offer exceptional return on investment (ROI) potential.

1. Lawn maintenance and upgrades

Think about how much of your home’s curb appeal is dependent on the condition of the lawn. While many homeowners spend their weekends on lawn maintenance during the spring and summer, in fall we tend to focus more on leaf raking and removal. Be sure to take the time to properly aerate your lawn and prepare it for hibernation. Cover planting beds with fresh straw or mulch, and have irrigation systems drained and prepared for winter.

2. Plant a new tree

According to the Arbor Tree Foundation, fall is an ideal time to plant new trees. Fall planting offers an added growing season before the stress of the hot summer months and encourages optimal root growth. According to the USDA Forest Service, healthy, mature trees can add an average of 10 percent to a home’s value, as well as providing insulation and home energy savings. That means that planting a tree this fall could pay dividends for years to come.

3. Upgrade your curb appeal

There are a variety of ways to add curb appeal with simple and affordable upgrades. These can include painting the front door (black is a color with high ROI), replacing the hardware, street numbers, mailbox, and light fixtures, and painting or power washing the front steps. If you’re looking for even bigger impact, consider having a new garage door installed—it can practically pay for itself in value when it comes time to sell.

4. Install a firepit and upgrade your outdoor space

Fall is the perfect time to upgrade your outdoor spaces and install a firepit for those cool autumn evenings. This upgrade is simple to do yourself and it can improve your home’s marketability as part of an overall outdoor refresh. Consider repairing, refinishing, or expanding an existing deck or terrace, adding landscape lighting, or having an irrigation system installed for additional appeal.

5. Install an elegant wet bar

You may remember the giant 1970’s rec-room bars, but today’s wet bars are sleek and chic. You probably have space in an existing coat closet or unused nook where you can fit shelving, a small counter and sink, plus an under-counter wine fridge. This provides a lovely accent and helps to simplify serving when entertaining at home.

6. Upgrade your closet space

Reimagine or reconfigure your current closets for added appeal and user-friendly convenience. Knock out a wall to turn a step-in closet into a walk-in, or borrow some space in the bathroom to create dual closets. Install an updated organizational system in an existing closet for a custom design and optimal space utilization. Add upgraded lighting and finishes for a high-end look and feel.

7. Refinish or repaint cabinetry

If you don’t have the budget for a kitchen overhaul, start with the most prominent visual feature—the cabinets. Check online for how-tos and design ideas, and refresh the whole kitchen with a cabinetry facelift. The most important factor here is taking the time to do the job right and to allow freshly painted or refinished cabinets to dry thoroughly before replacing the doors and installing new hardware.

8. Repaint the interior

Repainting the interior of your home can have a significant impact on the way buyers see your home—and the way you do, as well. According to NAR’s survey, repainting helps homeowners enjoy their space more while also offering a simple DIY way to add additional value to the home. Choose from a neutral palette to make the interior more appealing to eventual buyers. Or, if you don’t have the time or energy to repaint the entire interior, start simple with a fresh coat of paint in the entryway or foyer.

9. Replace outdated fixtures and finishes

If you’re looking for a super-simple and inexpensive way to upgrade your home’s interior, changing outdated fixtures and finishes is the way to go. Replace mismatched light switches and outlet covers with new, neutral styles. Replace old-fashioned interior door hardware with a cohesive, contemporary finish throughout. Change out cabinet hardware, update lighting fixtures, and switch out faucets to create a modern look and feel throughout your space.

10. Install smart home upgrades

Smart home upgrades offer the benefit of energy efficiency while you’re living in the home and a “wow” factor when it’s time to sell. Start simple with smart door locks and light bulbs, and then invest in a smart home thermostat and security setup. Plan ahead to ensure that all your smart home devices work well together for a simpler, more integrated, and more enjoyable system.


Not sure where to start? Your real estate professional knows what buyers are looking for in your area and can help you prioritize your honey-do list. Reach out to discover your home’s current value—and what smart upgrades you can do to increase it.