Man taking a break from doing DIY in his new home

Source: Gary Burchell / Getty

Buying your own pad is a great feat. But too often, uninformed property owners lose out on building equity because they don’t think of their home as an asset that can grow relatively quickly. You don’t want to over-invest in your place by tricking it out with features that won’t increase the value unless you’re selling asap (think Sub-Zero refrigerators and marble tile). There are some strategic spends that have immediate benefits (in case you want to refinance or pull equity) and long-term (increase property value and net worth) perks of investing in your home.

The experts at Nerdwallet.com have some great tips on how to make money moves with your space. Our pros at CASSIUS added a few more.

Make It Sexy

Curb appeal is a major factor in a home’s value. Regardless of the property’s size, invest in basic landscaping that creates a stately look that you can maintain yourself or with regular updates. Make sure you keep your exterior on a painting schedule, which can vary from 3-10 years depending on the material. If you live in an urban environment, paint over graffiti, no matter often it occurs.

Focus on the Bones

Don’t wait until things are falling apart to replace them. Invest in insurance for big-ticket items, such as the roof or fence, to make sure they are replaced or repaired before there is a major issue. If you’re in a condo or co-op, find out what you’re responsible for repairing versus what the board must fix. Attend board meetings to advocate for consistent property maintenance to ensure exterior, hallways, and common areas remain updated.

Hit the Heavy Metals

Neglected electrical and plumbing issues can lead to major home damage—like floods, holes, and fires. Fix small problems before they become big ones. If your wiring, HVAC, or plumbing systems are outdated, create a plan to replace them. Not only does it increase safety and add long-term value, but more modern systems will likely reduce your monthly bills.

Efficiency is Key

Speaking of spending less money on utilities, going green and investing in high-efficiency systems is a smart move. Old windows, heating, and electrical systems may function, but they are definitely draining your pockets. Upgraded products may cost a bit more upfront, but a finding way to fit it into your annual budget (like sacrificing or downgrading a vacation) will give you big wins in the end.

Light It Up

Open floor plans. Sliding glass doors. Huge windows. Sunrooms. Light interior paint. All of these features bring in light and make rooms feel more spacious. While these changes may require a bit of cash upfront, they definitely pay off in the long run.

Make Realtor Friends

Your circle is your livelihood. Make nice with realtors in your community to stay up on the trends in upgrades and home values in your neighborhood. This will help you make informed decisions about how best to invest in your property.

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