Spring is home shopping season and it is quickly approaching. Home sellers are busy cleaning, painting, decluttering, landscaping and deciding which other projects might reap the greatest reward given limited time and money. Their best bet: Once the curb appeal projects are done, tackle the bathrooms.

The typical seller has 13 years’ worth of wear and tear on their home, and that can make it tough to know where to start. But we know they do: Sellers average 2.2 renovations or improvements to prepare to sell their home, with 79% making at least one. And for good reason: Nearly a quarter of sellers who make improvements sell above list price, compared with 16% of sellers who don’t.

While upgrades can boost your home price and help your home sell faster, not all renovations have an equal impact on what your home is worth. To ensure you’re making renovations that will actually pay off, read on to find out some upgrades that give you the most bang for your buck.

Enhance Curb Appeal

You only get one chance to make a first impression when a buyer pulls up to your home. Real estate agents say that the first impression counts the most. And the first impression comes from what the buyer sees when the car pulls up to the curb.  Here are some affordable suggestions.

  • Add greenery such as shrubs and flowers and put fresh mulch in the flower beds.
  • Paint the siding, garage doors, and gutters.
  • Make your front door pop.  Add decor or paint it.
  • Light up your entryway and walkway with sconces or solar-powered lights
  • Power wash the house to clean off dirt, mold, cobwebs and wasp nests.
  • Replace door hardware. Get a color that contrasts with the color of the door.

Budget-Friendly Kitchen Remodels

Aside from curb appeal realtors will tell you that a kitchen remodel is the next highest return on investment when selling your home. The kitchen is the heart of the home and buyers are looking for fresh colors, textures, and finishings.  You don’t need to break the bank with new appliances.  Simply replace the countertops or add a tile backsplash.  Replace old fluorescent lights with recessed can lights or pendant lights. Adding under-cabinet lighting can really brighten up a dark kitchen.

Bathroom Remodel

If your bathrooms are outdated, this is another room where updates could make a big impact. Next to kitchens, bathrooms are the number two selling point in most homes.

Studies have shown a minor bathroom remodel can provide a 102% return on investment, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to make big upgrades.

  • Consider re-grouting tile
  • Remove and replace caulk around the shower, tub, and toilet areas
  • Replace the toilet for a more efficient and modern look
  • Replacing mirrors and fixtures will also go a long way to improve the look and feel of the bathrooms
  • Changing a plastic tub to a tile shower

While converting a standard five-foot tub into a tile shower can cost around $4,000 to $5,000, you may get back as much as 84% of the money when you sell your home.

A new coat of paint

One of the cheapest updates you can make also has one of the best returns on your investment: painting your home’s interior.

Painting an interior can produce a 109% return on investment, but could benefit you even more if your home’s colors are unusual. The colors most people have in their homes are personal, but they should be transitional and appeal to a larger pool of people when trying to sell a home.  Pick a neutral tone that goes with every other color out there — it needs to be clean and just dark enough to contrast with white baseboards and trim.

The key is making smart decisions about what to upgrade because home-improvement projects don’t necessarily pay for themselves — and some improvements actually cost more than they return in value.