As a homeowner, what home projects are worth your time, money, and energy to improve property value in the long term? 

We often see the end result of a homeowner spending substantial savings in areas of a home that did NOT improve their home's value for what they hoped it would yield. Check out our Do's and Don'ts list below! 


  • Repainting
    Choose neutrals, grays, shades of whites, blues. (See below for colors to stay away from.) Sometimes all you need to do to spruce up a space is add a fresh coat of paint! It can make a room feel brand new. 

  • Door Color 
    Black doors have proven to increase offer/sold prices of homes. It adds a pop of color without being too flashy. 

    Exterior of historic home in Bozeman, MT

  • Hire a Contractor
    Hire a professional contractor or handyman that you know first hand will do excellent work. Be mindful of doing your own projects especially if it involves plumbing, electrical, etc. Be up front and ask how long the project should take them and if it's possible to receive an estimate/bid for their work. 

  • DIY Projects
    When it comes time to selling your property, buyers may be cautious and curious if a lot of DIY work was done on the property if you are not a contractor or tradesman. While it can be difficult to find an available contractor, make connections by asking around as there is always someone out there who is not super busy and will do an amazing job.

  • Kitchen Remodel
    Do take the time to consider layout, finishes, cabinetry type, etc. If you plan to do a kitchen remodel, there are many vendors in town that will help you design your kitchen at no cost. Sometimes just putting on a fresh coat of paint will make your kitchen look like a brand new kitchen. Swapping out hardware is an incredibly easy and inexpensive way to update your kitchen.

  • Kitchen Cabinetry
    I recommend going with a baseline cabinetry with soft close hardware. If you are looking to sell your property in the next 3 - 5 years, your cabinetry budget should be a reasonable price point. Don't go overboard with getting high-end cabinetry. 

    Modern kitchen with barn door

  • Kitchen Colors
    Take the time to research and chat with different interior designers or home stores to get an idea of what is out of trend and what colors to stay away from.  

  • Countertops 
    There are many options for countertops that won't break the bank. For example, butcher block counters will run about $50/square foot. Price out different options with different vendors. You'll may be surprised by spending a little extra time getting different bids could save you a lot of money in the long run. 

  • Installation 
    **HELPFUL TIP: If you are ordering cabinets or countertops from a vendor in town, make sure to ask if they will install the cabinets and countertops. If they do not, WAIT to place your order. If they refer you out to an installer, make a connection and ask about their install cost and availability. You may find consider purchasing cabinets and countertops through another smaller contractor who will do the install will lessen the burden and be a more seamless transition/process.

  • Update Master Bathroom
    Do spend the money to update a master bathroom (pay attention to tile choices and expensive finishes). Unfortunately, you will not get a return on the more expensive tile. Buyers are looking for dual vanities, large tile showers, and some still like both shower and tubs in the master bathroom. 

    Contemporary bathroom with double sinks and gray accent wall

  • Retile a Master Bathroom Shower 
    Old tile and discolored grout is a turn off. Grout that is deteriorating can lead to rotting subfloor or rotting behind the shower walls. Retiling a shower could cost around $2,500-$5,000+ depending on the vendor, tile chosen, or if any unforeseen issues arise with plumbing etc. If you are just retiling an existing shower (and not reconfiguring the layout), you will get your return if you stay within a modest budget. 

    Luxurious tiles in shower

  • Backyard
    Consider this winter landscaping vendors to reach out to. Do spend the money on a backyard deck, patio, etc. Many Bozeman renters and homeowners have a dog or dogs, so do consider spending the money on putting up a fence. Do plant hearty perennials for easy upkeep every year. You don't have to break the bank by installing underground sprinklers but consider drip lines to keep your perennials from dying during the summer months. Curb appeal absolutely still matters when considering selling your home in the future. "Mature" landscaping is a major selling point. 

  • Maintain Rental Properties
    If you have a rental property, do spend the money to upkeep the home on a regular basis. Take care of a leak immediately, regularly service the furnace, consider replacing a roof if outside of it's lifetime, etc. Tenant occupied properties have substantial wear and tear. To a potential buyer, they will want to know how much the home has been maintained and to what extent.


  • Bright Paint
    Don't paint rooms with bright paint colors, neons, reds, etc. Go with subtle colors like greys and blues, or if in doubt, choose white! Again, interior designers or home stores can recommend what colors are trending and best options for selling. 

    Bright orange accent wall in home

  • Wallpaper
    Use wallpaper sparingly. While wallpaper can be easier and cheaper to install, wallpaper is very difficult and expensive to remove (when having to hire a professional to remove), especially if the wallpaper has been on the walls for years. The wallpaper you choose may not be what a future homebuyer will want to inherit. Alternatively, paint is very easy to paint over when you decide to move! 

  • Expensive Appliances
    Don't buy expensive appliances to increase the value of your home. Appliances are considered personal property. Furthermore, an appraiser cannot consider personal property when appraising a home. 

    High-end range in modern kitchen

  • Custom Built-Ins
    Heavily consider spending the money on custom built-ins, especially if you plan on moving in the near future. Custom built-ins may not be everyone's preference, style choice or even placement of that fixed piece in a particular area of the room. In smaller confined rooms, they may be more of a hassle to a future homebuyer to remove. 

Lastly, save / track your receipts! 
If you have any questions about what will yield you more money for your home, please don't hesitate to contact me! 

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Posted by Tamara Williams on


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