If you recently bought a house that needs updating or are finally tackling a long-awaited renovation, it’s important to know where your money is best spent.

While upgrades can boost your home value and help it sell faster, not all renovations have an equal impact.

The tips below from Erik Tinker, founder of custom homebuilder Tinker Development, are the most valuable upgrades you can make.

Kitchen – It is worth going the extra mile when upgrading your kitchen. This room is the focal point of a home’s entertaining space. The upgrade should be well designed with functionality in mind and include high-quality materials and appliances. Choosing a premium countertop will not only offer better aesthetic but will last longer than a cheaper product. You will certainly see the return on your investment by adding these elements into a kitchen remodel.

Bathroom – This is another space people focus on when buying a home. When remodeling or upgrading this room it is essential to make it both functional and stylish. A gorgeous washroom or powder room can be the difference between someone buying a house or not. Add or expand a large shower with a rainforest showerhead, floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a stone ledge. New tile, updated cabinets or fixtures and more natural lighting will appeal to buyers.

Windows – Installing new windows is an expensive part of a home renovation, but spending the cost upfront will ensure that the upgrade is worth it in the long run. Replacing old windows with new, energy-efficient ones can save you anywhere from $25 to $450 a year in heating and cooling costs. Investing in new windows can do a lot to freshen up the home’s appearance, while also eliminating airy drafts that can turn away buyers.

Furnace and AC Unit – Efficient heating and cooling systems don’t eat up a lot of monthly energy costs. Although, these are expensive up front, opting for a smart and programmable thermostat can save 10 to 12 percent of heating and cooling each month. First-time millennial homebuyers value smart home technology as their biggest priority when purchasing a property. Also, an old or out-of-date furnace can steer potential buyers away from putting in an offer. Spending a couple thousand dollars on a new unit is another way to impress efficiency-minded buyers. 

Patio and Deck – Creating an outdoor space makes for a great area to enjoy the sun rising, barbecue parties and an oasis to destress from a long day. These features are a highly sought-after amenity for a majority of homes in Arizona because of the perfect year-round weather. Patios and decks get much wear and tear and need to be built properly with quality materials in order to last through tough summer months. Fire pits can be an inexpensive add-on depending on the materials used and can be a DIY project to help save money. Homeowners may be able to increase the return investment of a fire pit by more than 80 percent.