According to a new report from American Express, the vast majority of Americans have no plans to move in the coming year. Instead, they plan to improve their existing properties with some targeted renovations. If you rank with the many who have no choice but to remain in their current houses, consider choosing some home upgrades that add value.

Most Homeowners Stuck

Low mortgage rates and descending property prices have generated a buyer's paradise for motivated, qualified buyers. Unfortunately, falling prices have left many existing homeowners underwater. According to Amex's report, 70 percent have decided to make the best of their situations by spending an average of $3,500 to remodel their houses.

Upgrades that Don't Add Value

If you're going to get a home improvement loan to enhance your property, it only makes sense to choose renovations that will increase its worth. Unfortunately, although some home upgrades may have the power to make a house look better; many don't do much to increase its worth. Things like new landscaping, a new swimming pool and fresh carpet won't help your home sell for more money. Additionally, many people are surprised to learn that high-end renovations sometimes have absolutely no effect on how much a property sells for. This is especially true if you've added things, such as media rooms or game rooms, which may only appeal to certain buyers.

Smart Ways to Improve your Home

Functional improvements tend to increase a property's worth, because they often make a house more attractive and efficient. New siding and new windows are attractive to buyers because they make homes more energy-efficient and protect them from the weather. That said, the best home upgrades that add value tend to be additions or room renovations. For instance, by turning a basement into a bedroom or office, you'll be offering buyers a house they can get more use from.

Home Energy Upgrades

These days, people are interested in energy-efficient properties. The federal government offers tax incentives to homeowners who install specific kinds of windows and various types of green technology. This can help property owners save money, while making their houses more valuable. Additionally, one of the easiest ways to add value to your home is to have a generator installed. Even this one small step can increase the appraisal amount of your house and allow you to raise your asking price when you do decide to sell.

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