Smart Home Improvements for Building Home Equity


Owning residential properties over the long-term is still one of the key ways to build financial security for you and your family for generations to come.

I myself, have witnessed the financial benefits a residential property can give you just by observing the business decisions my own family members have made. Particularly my great-grandparents, grandmother and my mother.Home Prices

In the 1940s and 1950s, my great-grandparents had the foresight to not only purchase a primary residence for their family, but over the subsequent years, they were able to purchase multi-family properties and turn them into rental properties. Upon their passing, they were able to bequeath these properties to their sons and daughter-in-law’s, and later, to their grandchildren.

My grandmother and mother learned the importance of homeownership passed down from my great-grandparents and they made certain to follow suit with their own real estate purchases over the last 40-plus years.

All three generations of my family, through dedicated long-term work in their careers, took personal stakes in owning residential properties, which in turn, benefited their loved ones. Real Estate over the long-term is a consequential investment that can help give families the foothold they need to live, prosper and help others in their communities.

Owning and maintaining properties over the long-term can be challenging.  I remember witnessing the ails of homeownership firsthand, when my mother and grandmother owned their own homes and tenant occupied rental properties. Real estate properties can have unexpected real problems and real expenses.

At some point in time a roof, siding, water heater, HVAC system, appliances or flooring will need to repaired or replaced.  But, as long as the property is maintained, in good standing and in a thriving neighborhood, the property will likely retain its value and build equity over time.

Interior and Exterior Improvements That Build Value

Rental_signSo the question is, what are some smart home improvements that can increase property value over time and help homeowners preserve the wealth in a property that can be passed down to the next generation?

To get started, I’ll separate the home improvements into two categories:  exterior improvements and interior improvements.

These home improvements are meant to be as economical as possible.  The goal is to make the end value of the improvements surpass the costs, thereby increasing the home’s equity.

Some smart exterior home improvements are:

Neat curb appeal.  A neatly maintained flower bed with fresh mulch or garden stones, with a trimmed healthy green lawn or landscape that fits the climate goes a long way.  A new mailbox and visible house numbers makes the appearance of the home more appealing to potential buyers.  Also, pressure cleaning the brick pavers, sidewalks and home exterior adds to the overall look of a neat curb appeal.

An inviting front door.  A new, freshly painted or pressure cleaned front door and entry way makes a home more inviting.

An attractive perimeter fence.  A fence can add overall value to a home and give it a sense of privacy and security.  It’s also quite appealing to buyers with children or pets.232654

A nice garage door.  A new, freshly painted or pressure cleaned garage door in good working order adds to a home’s value.

New energy efficient windows.  New windows in a house can lower energy costs due to better insulation, add to the beauty of a home, and are easier to maintain and clean.

Freshly painted exterior walls.  Fresh paint rejuvenates a home.  Also, new or replaced siding gives a house that extra appeal.

A good roof. A pressure cleaned roof in good condition with no leaks is vital.

Well-maintained gutters.  Clean, new or freshly painted gutters add to the houses overall curb appeal.

Some smart interior home improvements are:

Freshly painted interior walls. There’s something about freshly painted walls in a house that gives it a clean and crisp feeling.  One caveat: when painting it’s always a good idea to adhere to mostly neutral colors.

Insulated doors and windows.  Eliminating air leaks by sealing around doors and windows helps reduce energy costs and makes a home’s climate comfortable.

Updated kitchen appliances.  A complete kitchen remodel isn’t always necessary, but maintaining modern kitchen appliances is good practice.

132153New or refurbished knobs and handles. Attractive door knobs and handles in the kitchen, bathroom and other areas of the home can make a home stylish.

Well maintained floors.  Refurbished or new flooring is important.  A new carpet isn’t always necessary, but a thorough cleaning does wonders for carpet, tiles or laminate.  Also, refinishing wood floors brings back their original luster and sheen.

Updated bathroom fixtures.  Installing a new bathtub or reglazing an existing bathtub gives a bathroom a fresh look.  Also, new or refurbished

sinks and faucets are very beneficial.

Clean grout and fresh caulk.  New grout and caulking can make a bathroom or kitchen gleam.

New toilets.  Installing a new energy efficient, low-flush toilet with quiet-close seats can also add value to a home.

For more information on how to estimate the costs for any of these home improvements in your area, please visit HomeAdvisor’s TrueCost Guide (  It’s a free guide which offers the estimated cost of a renovation or repair in your zip code.

In all, if a homeowner implements any of these smart home improvements, they’ll have a home that not only looks well-maintained but retains and builds its value over the long-term contributing to their wealth preservation.



Ms. Dakar is the author of The Busy Person’s Guide to Personal Finance, a primer to help consumers manage their finances so they can build a substantial nest-egg. She also conducts personal finance seminars where she provides concepts to attain overall financial health.