Choose improvements wisely, and you'll broaden, not shrink, your market.

Most homes can stand a little improvement before going on the market. Sometimes that's nothing more than a little paint and maybe new carpet. And sometimes it's a whole lot more. Problem is, how do you know which improvements to invest in and which ones to leave?

Excessive home improvements cost you in two ways. They thin out your wallet. And they can also cost you in prospective buyers. Here are 3 reasons to skip the high-priced upgrades and help your home sell faster.

#1: All Improvements Take Time to Pay Off

It seems like any improvement would instantly boost your home's value. While that's true, it's also not the whole story. Return on investment (ROI) can mean recouping the cost of investment at sale or getting it back in other ways, such as with an energy efficient improvement paying off in lower heating bills. While your ROI on certain improvements might be high, the rest of the story is when you'd ultimately get it back.

Replacement windows, for example, can give you a great ROI. They can also boost your home's value. But if those windows are very expensive and the ones that they replaced weren't in bad condition, the value of your home might not improve by much.

It's not the cost of what you install, but how that installation affects what your home is worth overall. In the window scenario, a purported 80 to 90 percent ROI isn't very impressive because it won't happen in the short term. The new owner will get the real benefit in lower energy costs.

#2: Some Improvements Price You Out of the Market

You could gild your house from chimney to foundation, but that's probably not the best use of your money. Your home might be worth a lot more, but would anyone want to buy it? Assess your market before making improvements to be sure you're still competitive.

One of the biggest remodeling trends for the past few years is the ultra super master suite. This isn't just a great master bedroom says Bankrate, and it's not just new addition. These over-the-top master suites take bedrooms to luxury hotel status.

The question is whether people who buy homes in your neighborhood want that kind of luxury and if they can afford it. Check out your neighborhood before diving in too deep. At eppraisal, a free home valuation comes with an overview of your area and the amenities that homes have to offer. If your improvements make yours the Taj Mahal of three counties, you might price yourself out of the market.

A home theater is fun, but it probably won't pay off in the average neighborhood.

#3: Many Upscale Improvements Fit a Narrow Niche

Who doesn't want a new, modern kitchen? And kitchens have a great return on investment at resale. Kitchen upgrades can be great home sellers, as can bathrooms. Just be sure to keep your renovation relevant to the market you're aiming for.

A professional chef's kitchen looks beautiful and performs even better. The fixtures and appliances will probably last for decades. But how many chefs will check out your property? And will the average homeowner want that kind of kitchen?

The same applies to any niche improvement. Offices, game rooms, and even home theaters are great for the people who want them. The problem is that not everyone does, and by installing them you're narrowing your potential buyer pool.

A simpler home in excellent condition might be the best use of your money. It all depends on where you live and what you're competing against. If your home is in an upscale area where everyone except you has a stellar master suite, bringing your home up to par isn't a bad idea.

But if your neighborhood is typical suburbia, things like new siding and a new roof can bring more offers. HGTV says that a lot of homeowners are much more concerned about whether the basement leaks than if their bathroom is updated.

To find out what's trending in your neighborhood, get your free property valuation from eppraisal today. You'll not only learn the approximate value of your home, you'll see what your neighboring competitors are selling for and what buyers are getting for their money. That helps you make the best improvement decisions for your home.