As homeowners will be painfully aware, we’re in the middle of a rather aggressive housing slump. Prices have been largely unmoved in recent years, and have even been falling in some areas. But although the recent past has been grim, the market is beginning to slowly right itself, and you might be surprised to learn that the value of your property is not solely dependent on the whims of fate. There are a number of ways you can bring extra value to your home for relatively little additional investment. Here are five of them, in no particular order.

Work out your target demographic and market for them

Different houses in different areas are generally going to be bought by different people, so if you’re looking to sell in the immediate future, work out who is most likely to buy your house, and prepare to show it accordingly. This will likely determine for you how you frame any unused or open space. For instance, if you’re living in the midst of a commuter belt, you might show your spare room as an office or study, but as a nursery or playroom in suburbia, or even a gym in more up and coming areas. It is also possible, with this decision in mind, to make small, cheap adjustments to fixtures and fittings that allow you to portray your house in the right fashion.

Get planning permission for extensions pre-approved

This will likely require an initial investment on your part, (in the form of surveying costs processing, and so on), but could potentially boost the selling price of your home by a high margin even if you never do decide to build the extension yourself. Knowing that a property comes pre-approved for extra building makes it a real catch in today’s market, especially in more affluent locales (and your realtor will likely love you as well; properties with this kind of perk tend to sell much more quickly and easily).

Fit the property for renewable energy usage

Although this may seem like one to avoid (especially on listed buildings), we are likely to see a hugely increased demand for this kind of augmentation on homes in the near future. Adding a few solar panels to a house can see its utility costs reduced dramatically, and this will only become more true as oil and gas prices continue to soar. This is more of a long-term plan for if you think you might sell up in the future but are happy where you are now, and it has the added benefit of bringing down your own bills in the meantime.

Convert your attic or garage into living space

This goes especially for those of you who don’t actually use your loft or garage for any practical purposes. Although this method will require a substantial initial cash investment, it can potentially increase the price of your home by as much as 20% according to some bank estimates. For a rough guide to your own total increase, simply measure the space and multiply it by the average cost of square feet for your area. You may be pleasantly surprised by the potential gain!

Don’t overdo it

While extra is always good, and generally equates to higher selling prices, be careful you don’t fall into the trap of adding too much value to your house. If, for instance, houses in your area are generally priced in the $250,000 range, don’t do a lot of extra work and try and sell it for $500,000. This goes back to the idea of marketing to the people most likely to buy: Those in the market for an $500k property will not want to buy it in the wrong area, and by elevating your price too far out of the reach of those most likely to buy it, you stand to lose value rather than gain it.