Home improvement upgrades to your home are a great way to reimagine your space and add value in the process. Not every upgrade has to be a ten thousand dollar plus project, but the higher the budget, the more you can do. Even smaller upgrades and maintenance, however, can increase value and brighten up your space. Also, keep in mind that just because you are making a big budget upgrade, the value to your property isn’t always going to increase substantially. The key is making the right kinds of improvements in the right places. What are those upgrades and places, you ask? Well, here is a list of the top 5 to get you started.

1 ) Upgrade Internal Systems

Don’t rush into cosmetic projects just yet. First, address any repairs, replacements, and upgrades in your home’s heating, plumbing, electrical, and sewer systems. These are the vital parts of the home and addressing problems or making upgrades here will benefit you and make you home more attractive to potential buyers if you are selling. No one wants to live in a house, much less buy a house, where basic systems are dysfunctional or severely outdated. Allocate some budget to upgrading any of these systems that are in need of some care.

2) Improve Kitchens and Baths

Two of the most valuable areas of the interior of the house are the kitchen and the bathroom. Making replacements and upgrades to the bathrooms and the kitchen are practically guaranteed to give you a good return on investment. Kitchens and baths become outdated fast, so if you are selling in the near future, consider making upgrades to these spaces to help increase the value of the home. Even if you aren’t selling, remodeled kitchens and bathrooms are great investments in the function and aesthetic appeal of your home.

Remember, these projects are expensive and can cost in the range of $20-50,000–depending on the size and scope of the project. To save money, however, you can always do things like update fixtures, paint, redo flooring, update appliances, and replace cabinetry. You can always do these things gradually rather than committing a lot of time and money up front to a major remodel.

3) Finish the Basement

Basements are often unused or underused storage spaces, so consider finishing the basement for some usable, appealing living space. Finished basements add square footage to your home and can increase the value–not to mention basements are fun. There is a lot of potential for finished basements. From movie lounges to game rooms or music studios, you can invent an entirely new space in your home by refurbishing the basement. Depending on the size of the space and the nature of the refurbishing, this project could run upwards of $50,000. If you are looking to add value and improve the functional aesthetic of your home, however, basement remodeling can be a great decision.

4) Additions and Square Footage

Increasing the square footage of your home can increase value substantially. You could potentially add 2-4% more value to the home by adding more square footage. These projects can include everything from basement finishing work to additions on the home and attic conversions. Adding more living space can make your home more attractive and up the asking price during a sale. You must still exercise discretion in the types of additions you consider implementing and plan around your space in order to assess what is possible and what will add function to your home–not just aesthetic appeal. More space should equal more function.

5) Landscape and Make Exterior Improvements

Don’t forget about the outdoors and the exterior of your home. Curb appeal is still a major factor in selling homes, so make sure your home looks good from the outside. Making landscaping improvements like cleaning debris, greening the lawn, trimming trees, planting vegetation, maintaining a garden, and beautifying your yard in general will help showcase the home from the outside. If the exterior of your home is in need of improvements, allocate some time and money for these. Replace siding, windows, the front door, the roof, and garage doors if necessary. These items can be big selling points for the home and will add value to the home if you recently upgraded them.