Many home improvements are little more than money pits. Some improvements don’t even appeal to many homebuyers. Over $200 billion is spent every year on home renovations, but how many of those dollars are spent in a way that truly improves the value of the home?

Many people are shocked at how little their improvements added to the sales price of their home.

Some home improvements can boost your home’s resale value and the level of comfort you experience while you’re still living there. Unfortunately, there are other improvements that can cost thousands of dollars and provide little to no return.

These home improvements are likely to pay off better than any other:

1. New siding. From an investment standpoint, fiber cement siding is the way to go. Vinyl siding can crack over time, and aluminum siding ultimately ends up with dents. Even with professional installation, this is still a cost-effective upgrade.

2. New front door. Fiberglass doors are very expensive, but a mid-range steel door looks great and can easily be painted to match your home. The more simple the door, the lower the cost. But steel doors are so inexpensive that you can afford to pick up something nice.

3. Garage door replacement.While no one gets excited about replacing their garage door, some jobs just need to be done. A mid-quality garage door will add to your curb appeal and improve the functionality and sales price of your home. Garage doors are easily painted, too.

4. Wood deck. Nearly everyone loves to sit out on a deck when the weather permits. It’s the perfect transition between indoors and the outside. It effectively adds living space, and the material costs are quite low.

If you’re handy with a circular saw, tape measure, and hammer or drill, you might be able to install your deck yourself.

5. New windows. Newer windows eliminate drafts, reduce radiant heat in the summer, and provide much better insulation than older style windows. They look great, too! While windows can be expensive, the payback is quite good. Compare costs and the amount of insulation. The utility savings can be impressive.

6. Fresh interior paint. Although paint is relatively inexpensive, the labor can be pricey. Fortunately, anyone can tackle this task on their own. You’ll save a lot of money and your house will look great. Take your time and you can do a great job.

Stick to neutral colors that everyone can accept. If you’ll be selling soon, now isn’t the time for unusual colors.

Unless you’re planning on staying in your home for an extended period of time, it’s important to consider how your improvements will affect the sales price of your home. Many improvements do little to increase the value of your home. However, if you’ll be in your home for many years, it’s completely reasonable to place a priority on the enjoyment you’ll receive from the upgrade.

Being the nicest house on the block might be great for the ego, but it’s hard on the pocketbook. Avoid adding features to your home that aren’t appropriate for your neighborhood. If you’re in a middle-class setting, remodeling projects common to luxury homes are likely to be financial disasters.

A little forethought will ensure that your home improvements make your home more attractive, livable, and valuable. Research the costs and expected payback of any improvements you’re considering. Remember to examine the cost of labor. Nearly any project can provide a nice return, especially if you can do the work yourself.