Improving your home before you sell it can seem like wasting money. After all, if you’re not going to live there much longer, why remodel or add features you won’t get to use much?

Because, as any real estate professional will tell you, the upgrades can help you recoup the cost and more in a higher selling price for your home. Without some updates, home sellers may realize their home is not worth as much as they thought.

Here are some of the features that increase the resale value of a home:

1. Laundry Room
Starting at $1,000, adding a laundry room to a home helps clean out other rooms where clothes may be stacked and can keep the living space tidier.

The basement is the easiest place to put a laundry room. Another option is to add a laundry closet that fits a washer and dryer and some shelves.

2. Energy Efficient Items
Energy Star-qualified windows and appliances can be good selling points for buyers looking to save on their utility bills.

A water-efficient washing machine can cost anywhere from $500 – $1,800, while a dishwasher that senses how dirty the dishes are so that less water is used costs about $225 – $1,600.

3. Ceiling Fan
For as little as $50, a ceiling fan can lower cooling costs when used with an air conditioner. After chilling a room, a ceiling fan can keep the room cool and allow the thermostat to be raised a few degrees.

4. Patio
For about $950, you can add a 120-square-foot concrete patio. This feature can be very appealing to buyers and can make a backyard look much more inviting. Add a table and some patio furniture, and buyers can envision themselves sitting outside with friends at a party.

5. Hardwood Floors
Since they are easy to maintain and have a clean look, hardwood floors are gaining ground in popularity. If refinished periodically, hardwood floors can last a lifetime, compared to about 10 years for carpet.

6. Garage Storage
Storage space always seems to be lacking in homes, especially for growing families. Add some storage to a garage to keep clutter out of a home’s living areas and you’ve essentially created a bonus space.

Storage in a garage can include cabinets, shelves, rows of boxes, and improved lighting and extra electrical outlets.

7. Exterior Lighting
Light fixtures are relatively inexpensive, and illuminating the outside of your home doesn’t have to be a Disneyland-at-night event. At the very least, put spotlights on walkways and the driveway so that nighttime visitors won’t stumble to your door in the dark.