Though the housing market is almost always in a state of fluctuation, there are a handful of smart ways to invest in your home that nearly always pay off. These investments will add value to your home and help it hold this value down the line. Whether you are selling now or just getting ready for the future, the five home improvement projects discussed below are a great way to add value to your home before moving on.

1. Start With Curb Appeal

Looks are important when it comes to the value of your home. If your family is planning on selling in the near future (or your house is already on the market), then keeping the area outside of your home clean and tidy is a must. It might sound obvious but a freshly mowed lawn, well taken care of gardens, pruned trees, and a swept driveway all make an important first impression on buyers. Better yet, hire a landscaper to plant a few evergreen shrubs (or similar plants) and clean up your yard to really give it a visual boost.

2. Think Space

If you really want to add value to your home, then you need to think space. Anything that you can do to open up a room will create a sense of flow. And this, in turn, will generate a positive response from buyers and increase your home’s overall value. A few of the easiest ways to create more space (without adding an extension) include knocking out a non-structural wall and/or removing a kitchen island.

3. Add Another Bedroom

Many homes have rooms such as dens or offices that would be considered a bedroom with a few minor tweaks. One of the primary reasons these rooms can’t be considered bedrooms is because they don’t have closets. It is generally possible to add a custom closet system and drywall it for less than $2,000. And when doing this can turn a two-bedroom house into a three-bedroom house, you know it is going to pay off big time.

4. Let There Be Light

Adding a little more light to your home can seriously boost its value. Though artificial options such as adding a dimmer switch or installing lights with motion detectors pay off, your best bet is to incorporate natural light into your home’s design. Sun tubes (also known as light pipes and sun tunnels) noticeably enhance a home’s appeal. They are far less expensive than installing a skylight but accomplish much the same thing.

5. Do a Little Maintenance

Like improving your home’s curb appeal, a little basic maintenance can go a long way. In fact, if you plan maintenance correctly, you can boost your home’s value by a couple thousand dollars with only a couple hundred dollar investment. Consider insulating your attic, repairing any plumbing leaks, and repairing leaky windows. Installing storm windows, inspecting the furnace and septic system, and replacing rusty gutters are great as well. Simply put, the better condition your house is in, the more it is going to sell for.

Adding value to your home doesn’t have to be an expensive investment. Starting off small by performing basic maintenance to get things in proper working order and taking care of your front yard are great first steps. If you have a little more time and money to spend, then tips two through four are all relatively low cost investments that will greatly improve your home’s value.