You know you need to change a few things before you list your home for sale. But what? How do you know what to do that will make an impact and what would just be wasted cash? In other words, where do you get the most bang for your buck? The National Association of Realtors looked at home improvements and the rate of return in sales price and determined there are a few changes you can make will actually make a difference.

All the 2015 projects share some similarities and shows the direction the trends in home building is heading. Green energy and energy efficiency in our homes is becoming more and more important. While the jury is still out about solar energy, it’s important to show your buyers that the home has good bones. So some simple servicing of the furnace and air conditioning can make a difference. Clean out the filters and make sure insulation is in place and in proper condition. Additionally, if you’ve replaced the doors and windows with energy efficient versions, make sure your buyers know this.

So what are the 6 home improvements that bring the best return on investment?

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  • Replacing your front door. The front door is the first thing a buyer sees when they get to your home. A nice front door adds to the curb appeal of your home.
  • New siding, exterior repairs and fresh paint. Old worn siding and paint is also part of curb appeal. Appraisers agree and say that a poorly maintained exterior can lead to up to a 10% loss of home value.
  • Kitchen and Bath Upgrades. Buyers love kitchens and baths. While you might not see a dollar for dollar return on the actual project, your home is more likely to sell for top dollar with an updated kitchen.
  • Deck and Patio additions. Outdoor living has become a normal part of home ownership. As homes have decreased in size over the years, the desire to extend the family living areas to include outdoor living has grown.
  • Add living space. By far the most expensive option, but adding living square footage to your home is the best way to increase value

You want to sell your home for the best possible price. As with any aspect of the sale process, before you do anything, it’s best to talk with your agent. Get their advice and look at recent homes sales to see what updates have brought the best sales price. Then you can determine if making the investment will create the higher sales price.