Unless you're just starting out, buying a home also involves selling a home. Your goal is to get the highest sale price possible for the home you buy: That not only maximizes your return on investment but also makes buying a new home a little easier. Simple and relatively inexpensive ways to boost the value of your home include painting, installing new floors, installing energy-efficient replacement windows (especially in older homes), and improving curb appeal: Landscaping, power-washing decks, and sprucing up the exterior.
Improvements shouldn't cost a lot. Your goal is to make your home look and feel clean, well-maintained, and inviting most buyers will pay more to purchase a home that is "move-in" ready.