You want to invest in your home – wisely. So how do you decide where to put your money?

Improvement projects don’t automatically increase the value of a home – factors like the state of the neighborhood can be more important to your bottom line. But knowing which improvements give a higher return can help boost your home’s value and save you time and money. 

Here’s a quick look at how you could prioritize projects around your home.

Address the small stuff
A home plagued with many minor issues is usually considered less desirable and harder to sell. Those dripping faucets, running toilets, torn vinyl flooring and damaged carpet instantly make a bad impression on buyers. Put your money into those first and use what’s left to make larger improvements.

Boost curb appeal
It comes as no surprise that exterior home improvement projects rank as the most cost effective, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report. It ranks projects based on their cost and how much money they recoup after selling.

96 percent – Replace a wooden front door with a steel security door
87 percent – Add a new deck
78 percent – Replace siding
78 percent – Install a new garage door
78 percent – Install new windows

Consider interior investments
84 percent – Convert an attic to a bed and bath
82 percent – Minor kitchen remodel
77 percent – Basement renovation

If you’re thinking about selling your home, talk to a local RE/MAX agent to evaluate what to change or replace. He or she will know your neighborhood, and can guide you toward projects that will make the home buyer-ready and also give you the biggest bang for your home-improvement buck.