This home features many of the improvements that make it more valuable when sold.
This home features many of the improvements that make it more valuable when sold.
Selling a home in today's marketplace can be challenging. The good news is there are a few tweaks that can give homeowners a serious leg up on the competition.

With the warmer months being the most active time of year to buy and sell real estate, it's important to ensure your home is seen in the best light possible.

According to Homes.com, one of the nation's top online real estate listing and lifestyle resources, the top five projects that improve home equity are:

• Bathrooms: If adding an additional bathroom isn't an option, upgrade existing ones.

Adding a dual vanity to a master or secondary bath improves functionality, allowing multiple people to use the space. Change out fixtures like faucets and shower doors to increase aesthetic appeal. If you're on a budget, replace light fixtures or switch plates to help refresh the space.

When working with a small space, highlight storage options with shelving and update or remove wall decor, paint or wallpaper.

• Kitchen: Kitchen renovations can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 and more. If that's not in your budget, upgrading cabinetry and paint does wonders to liven up even the most outdated spaces.

Add crown or decorative molding to "shape out" the kitchen cabinets and modernize the space. Repaint cabinets, or add new hardware to add visual interest and brighten dark spaces.

• Outdoor Spaces: Curb appeal adds immediate interest to any home's exterior. According to Remodeling Magazine, improving outdoor spaces can increase a home's resale value dollar-for-dollar.

Frame the front walkway with items that add visual interest, like flowers, potted plants, large rocks of various sizes and solar-powered lights. If yard space is scarce, hanging plants are another great, low-cost option.

Extend outdoor projects to the backyard - power-wash decks or patios and clean screened-in areas.

• Basement: Basement improvements can optimize livable space and protect the home from extreme weather, mold, moisture damage and mites. Whether transitioning the basement to a home gym, office or family room, the basics remain the same: insulate well and waterproof.

Maximize space by including shelving and storage units. If the opportunity exists, make the space feel open and inviting by creating an open stairwell, a trick that visually connects the upper part of the house with the lower, and filters natural light into the space.

• Mudroom: Mudrooms ensure families stay clutter-free and have a dedicated space to drop stuff as they come through the door. They can also make potential homeowners feel welcome upon entry.

While knocking out a wall to create a mudroom is expensive and labor-intensive, you can make a "drop zone" by simply anchoring a bench to an empty wall and hanging labeled storage units.

Making homes stand out in a sea of real estate listings isn't always easy. More tips on increasing home values can be found at www.Homes.com.