For most people, buying a home is the largest purchase they will ever make. Some families choose their homes for purely personal reasons, while others keep value and return on investment in mind. Regardless of your motivation behind purchasing a property, there is a small chance you will live there for the rest of your life. There is a very good chance that you will be reselling at some point. Knowing where to most effectively invest your money and maximize the value and return potential is a worthy endeavor that can pay off big. Kitchens, bathrooms, landscaping, and adding extensions offer some of the biggest increases in property value in regards to renovations, but even within those spaces, there are certain projects that are more worthy of your time and money than others. Following are four areas that you should remodel that can help increase your property value.

1. Replace Kitchen Countertops

Kitchens offer a huge return on investment when it comes to renovating. From new cabinets, lighting, flooring, appliances, and countertops, there are lots of ways to spruce up a kitchen, and let’s face it, the kitchen is often seen as the heart of the home.

When most people approach a kitchen renovation, the main projects are kitchen cabinets and countertops. For anyone looking for the investment potential of countertops, staying away from laminate is the most important thing to remember. They are the cheapest but also can show marks easily and are not what buyers will be looking for in the event that you are selling your property in the short- or long-term future. ​Quartz vs hardwood countertops​ is a common decision that most new homeowners are faced with. In terms of return, buyers love to see the natural stone options; they are beautiful to look at, don’t need refinishing, are durable, heat resistant, and non-porous. ​Wood kitchen countertops​ ( or “butcher block”) are beautiful and warm but need a lot of protection and maintenance. Since wood is more porous, these will need resealing at some point.

2. Bathroom Renos

Bathroom renovations are just behind kitchens in terms of return on investment value. New flooring, toilet, shower and bath, tiling, lighting, and fixtures can make a huge difference in look, function, and value. Keep in mind that the best places to spend money in a bathroom reno are those that are used the most: toilet, bath/shower, sink, and flooring.

3. Landscaping/Backyard Projects

Renovating the outdoor space of a property can increase curb appeal and offer a lot of value. When it comes to the backyard, buyers love when it flows with the home and offers additional living space. New decks offer a lot of value, and it’s important to consider the benefits of ​hardwood vs composite decking​. Landscaping upgrades with more greenery, flowers, and adding decorative touches like aggregate stone pathways, retaining walls, or stepping stones can make a huge improvement. A well-maintained outdoor space can be a selling point for any listing. Often times, this can mean as little as some DIY handiwork or simply just tidying up, but full-scale landscaping and backyard renovations are sure to make potential buyers swoon for your property.

4. Home Extensions

Adding a home extension has a huge positive impact on property value. Not only does it increase a property’s square footage, but it can also make the floor plan of the space more functional, aesthetically pleasing, and spacious while offering the potential for rental income. Home extensions connect people by enticing loved ones to come to visit, thus offering an emotional connection to the potential buyer — a proven and effective sales tactic.

The key to home extensions is getting a competent, experienced and knowledgeable contractor to handle the job to ensure that it is done right. Another thing to consider is the use of innovative new materials, such as insulated concrete forms, for construction. This ​modern home design​ offers long-term durability, and unparalleled weather resistance while insulating a home much better than plywood and ​wood frame construction​.

You also don’t want to end up with a home extension that looks like it was added as an after-thought; you want your extension to compliment the pre-existing home while blending in and accentuating its already-existing positives.

When it comes to selling your home, it is worth the time of careful due diligence to find out which areas are worthy of your renovation’s time, energy, and money. Kitchen countertops, bathroom upgrades, outdoor renos, and home extensions are four areas that offer a big pay-off in terms of return on investment.

Mandy Lee is a contributor to ​Innovative Building Materials​. She is a blogger and a content writer for the building materials industry. Mandy is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that increase property value, maximize energy savings, and turn houses into homes.