Purchasing a home can be an exciting time, and that excitement often continues once you’ve moved in. Whether you choose to install a custom vanity in the bathroom or to add an in-ground pool to your backyard, it’s usually downright fun to customize your home to meet your specific tastes and needs.

However, once you’re ready to sell you home and move on to something different, you may be expecting to get your money back for all of the time and funds you spent to improve your home. Many homeowners actually assume that the improvements they made will automatically result in a higher asking price, but this is certainly not true of all renovation decisions.

In reality, your home is probably not worth what you paid for it or even how much you still owe on it. And if you try to set the asking price based on how much money you need to make, you’re setting yourself up for a boatload of frustration. A quality realtor, though, should be able to help you set an asking price based on neighborhood comps and other factual data that determine how much your property is actually worth.

When you move into your next home, keep the following tips in mind to make beautiful and wise improvements that don’t bite you when it’s time to sell.

1. Set Your Budget
Budgeting may not be the most enjoyable part of the improvement process, but it certainly is a vital first step. Before you start dreaming big and shopping, determine exactly how much you are able to spend on each project. Make sure to add at least 10% extra onto your budge to cover unexpected costs.

2. Make Wise Decisions
It’s fun to dream about a restaurant-quality kitchen or a master bathroom that feels like an upscale spa. In general, kitchen and bathroom renovations do offer the best bang for your buck, but it’s still important to stick to your budget and to choose neutral finishes that accommodate almost every taste.

Neutral renovations can help your home sell.
Neutral renovations can help your home sell.

3. Determine Your Priorities
Unless you’re dealing with an unlimited budget, you’re going to have to make some tough decisions about how you spend your funds. If cooking is your passion, you might have your heart set that line of appliances. But in order to accommodate this expense, it may be smart to go with less expensive kitchen cabinets and flooring.

4. Shop Smart
You can save big by searching more than one store before you make your purchases. Look for sales and special offers, and don’t be afraid to ask for discounts. In addition, scratch and dent or open box merchandise can offer great savings.

So, your home may not have the same value when you sell it as when you bought it. However, if you keep the tips discussed above in mind, hopefully you won’t be dealing with sunk costs come sale time–especially if you consider how the improvements you’ve made to your home may have positively impacted your life while living there.

Most of the time, a lot more than monetary value goes into home improvements
Most of the time, a lot more than monetary value goes into home improvements

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