You’ve watched countless hours of HGTV, read every how-to blog ever conceived and your Pinterest page is now an ode to all things home improvement. You’re ready to take the hammer to the wall.

Where do you begin? Sometimes the most eye-catching home improvement projects aren’t necessarily the ones that will add the most value to your house. Here are seven tips that can help you get started on your home improvement projects.

home improvement

  1. Do you really need that?

Avoid over upgrading. While adding a pool to the backyard would be nice for those hot summer days, it probably doesn’t belong in a neighborhood of median-priced homes. Before you begin planning home improvements projects, compare your home to others in the neighborhood.

  1. Upgrade Your Curb Appeal

You don’t get a second chance to make a good impression, so make it count. When you do decide to sell your home, a mowed lawn, trimmed shrubs and a swept walkway will add instant appeal to your home.  Additionally, check the exterior of your home. Is the paint peeling? Are your gutters clean or starting to rust? Is the porch structurally sound? These are all things to take into consideration and can add to your home’s value.

  1. Check the Nitty Gritty Details

Before spending all your efforts on cosmetic upgrades, it may be worthwhile to hire a home inspector to look at your home’s mechanics and foundation. If issues do arise, it’s better to take care of them before they get worse. Additionally, some maintenance problems could interfere with your home improvement plans.

  1. Paint, Paint and More Paint

A fresh coat of paint is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to transform your home. New paint on the walls gives the appearance of a clean, updated and maintained home to prospective buyers. When choosing your paint color, avoid using loud, bright colors. Everyone has different tastes, and the only sure way to appeal to the greatest number of people is with neutral tones.

  1. Focus on the Most Important Room in Your House

According to Builder Magazine, consumers often rate the kitchen as the most important room in the home. This room is considered the heart of the home and is the spot where families and friends tend to gather the most. Consider replacing the faucet set and cabinet door handles, as well as giving the cabinets a fresh coat of paint.

It may be a few thousand dollars to replace the appliances and countertops in the kitchen, but without the upgrades, a buyer may knock tens of thousands of dollars off the asking price. Mortgage lenders like Castle & Cooke Mortgage offer renovation loan programs to help with the additional costs that could come with major renovations.

  1. What’s Under Your Feet?

Approximately 94% of real estate professionals recommend spending some money on flooring, according to This Old House. The website reported for an estimated investment of $600 to $900 in flooring, the return value comes in at upwards of $2,000. Most buyers prefer hardwoods over carpeting, but rooms that feature wall-to-wall carpeting isn’t a deal breaker. Before putting your home on the market, make sure to get your carpeting is professionally cleaned and floor tiles not chipped.

  1. Get the Most out of Your Space

Buyers want storage and if you plan to sell, your home will need to appear clean and open to attract the most buyers. Try adding organization systems to your closets or free-standing wardrobes in rooms that do not have closets. Another way to make your home look more open is to get rid of clunky furniture, which tends to make a room look smaller. Have a den, attic or bonus room? Transform it into a bedroom by adding a closet and some decor.

If you plan to do a major home renovation, consult with your mortgage lender. He or she can help determine the best options for financing your dream home. Mortgage lenders like Castle & Cooke Mortgage can help you finance your remodel through cash-out refinancing or other renovation loan programs.