8 smart moves to boost your curb appeal

Where you live matters

Whether pricey improvements pay off in a quicker or more lucrative sale largely depends on where you live. Before you spend money, take note of where the return on investment is best.

Remodeling Magazine says projects with a return exceeding their cost are more common in markets with rapidly rising home prices and demand for specific projects varies by neighborhood and region. You’ll recoup more of your expenses if you make an improvement that brings your home up to a neighborhood-wide standard, like having a deck, or that makes sense for the region, like a backup generator where hurricanes are common.

According to the magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, homeowners will earn the highest return on their investment in Honolulu; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; San Diego; and Bridgeport, Conn. Only Honolulu and San Francisco offer the possibility of recouping more than you spend.

More broadly, you’ll recoup the highest percentage of your upgrade dollars if you live in the Pacific states (California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii), thanks to the region’s strong retail values.