In today's uncertain real estate market in Arizona, homeowners are finding that instead of moving to a new home, it might make more financial sense to stay in the home they have now. Many find that making changes to their home that once suited their needs perfectly but now isn't quite the right fit is a better choice. Although buying a completely new-to-you home might not be an option, there are many things you can do with the house you have now that will add add function for the now, value for the future and give you a leg up on the competition when the time does come to sell in a better market.

Add a pool. Whether you add a small splash pool or a large lap pool, perhaps nothing suits an Arizona home better than a pool in the back yard. If you have the space, a pool adds value in a way that almost no other back yard amenity can and opens up your housing market to a whole new demographic when the time to sell comes. Adding pool fencing is a must, and a water feature like a waterfall or small fountain that pours into the pool upgrades your pool to a true "water oasis". Arizona pool cleaning service is easy to find because of the popularity of pools, and you'll have no trouble finding a reliable and reasonable service that fits your needs.

Complete your landscaping for a custom look. Many homeowners only landscape small parts of their outdoor space, preferring to spend money only on the areas they use outside most often. Consider landscaping all of the outdoor space around your home. It might surprise you to find there are other outdoor spaces you gravitate to, adding square footage to the places that you can relax in the sanctuary of your home. A complete landscaping package at your home also shows prospective buyers that you take care of the entire house, which helps you achieve a desired sell price someday when it's time to move on from this house.

Update your home office. With so many people telecommuting and working from home these days, it pays to have an attractive, inviting work space to sit in. Add a skylight or window to an exterior wall in your work space, giving you natural light and possibly a nice view to break up your work routine. Fresh paint in the workspace livens up the feeling and can invigorate you. Built-in shelving and desk space can complete the at-home work space and give you an environment where you actually don't mind "going to work", even if you still are in pajamas and slippers while you do it.

Add a sunroom. If you have the space, adding a sunroom gives you extra square footage on your home and added living space to relax and entertain guests. Sunrooms typically have many windows, allowing you to enjoy the feel of the outdoors without having to be outside. Especially in climates like Arizona's, having a space that allows you to enjoy the summer light and sky without having to suffer the summer heat gives you a whole new way to enjoy life.

Get a new roof. This may be one of the more costly home improvements, but it is also one that pays you back most handsomely. Not only do you prevent a whole host of problems that can plague you from a faulty roof, but you also give your house an instant facelift. A newer roof is one of the first things potential buyers see, and it goes a long way in reassuring them that you have cared for the entire house in a way that invites them to consider making your home their own. You can change the look of your house all in one swoop by changing the type of tile, adding a slope to a formerly flat roof, or picking architectural details on the roof that more closely match what you'd like your house to look like.

Replace your old windows. Especially in homes that are older, replacing windows can be another facelift that benefits you in many ways. Experts estimate that 30% of energy is lost through windows, and replacing older single-paned windows whose seals may be failing with newer double (or triple) paned windows with higher energy efficiency ratings (called U-factor ratings) helps you keep in the air you pay to cool or heat. In addition, noise control gets better with newer windows, which makes your indoor home environment nicer.

Add a deck. As many back yards in Arizona are, yours is probably covered in rock. Consider adding a deck that gives you a place to relax, sip drinks and feel a bit more like you are in an oasis in your own yard. Real estate experts agree that a back yard deck should be no bigger than 30% of your home's square footage to match the feel of your indoor space. Adding a deck is perfect when you're also considering a project like pool repair or re-landscaping part of your yard.

Paint, paint, paint. Nothing freshens up a room or living space as quickly and easily as new paint. Whether you keep the same color your room was and simply add a fresh coat of paint, or you decide to change the way a room feels and add a new color, paint is a basic way to get the job done. Almost no refined skills are necessary to paint a wall, and it's a project that can easily be done in a single day with minimal investment. If you're considering selling in the near future, stick with classic and neutral colors so potential buyers can imagine their belongings and lives in your space. However, if you're not considering selling anytime soon, take a chance and choose that dark red or bright green you've always wondered about. This is your home, and you should add colors that fit the feel you want.

Add an outdoor shower. Especially in Arizona where so many of us enjoy the pursuits of an outdoor life, an outdoor shower adds both an exotic yet functional aspect to your home. Showering off in the yard before coming in from a long hike or bike ride, or enjoying the morning sunrise by being a part of it as you shower for the day in your outdoor shower can truly change how you feel about your outdoor space. If you have a pool, an outdoor shower can help you keep the pool cleaner by rinsing off before you jump in, and makes keeping chlorine off your skin and out of your hair very simple by rinsing off as you get out of the pool.

Implement natural materials. Consider recovering your flat surfaces with materials made from natural resources. From wood or cork flooring to granite tiles, these type of materials have been found lately to be highly sought after in the housing market and can only serve to increase sale value once you're ready to sell. In the meantime, you can enjoy these fresh and exciting materials as they add a dimension to your home that dated materials like linoleum or ceramic tiles just don't bring. Laminate wood flooring has made big strides in recent years and you will find that there are many styles now that look and feel just like authentic hardwood flooring at a fraction of the cost.

Keep up with the Joneses. Be aware of improvement projects in your neighbor's homes. Realtors and home appraisers look at comparable homes in your neighborhood when estimating house values and sale prices, so choose projects to add on to your home that aren't too far from similar kinds of projects in your area. Adding a complete second floor to your home in a neighborhood of duplex homes, or a giant pool that takes up your whole yard when no one else has a pool can be a risk. If it's a project you have your heart set on and you plan to be in your home for a long time, these risks can be worth the reward since you'll have time to enjoy them. However, if you think you might not stay in this home for the long term, be sure to keep your house in a comparable category with others around you.

Maintenance, plain and simple. It may be a foregone conclusion but warrants a mention as a support for all of the above ideas. Being sure to maintain all of the exciting new additions to your home, as well as all the features and parts that you already enjoy, is cost saving in itself. You avoid having to replace or do major renovation by keeping up exterior paint, by keeping carpets clean and wood floors waxed. Letting the maintenance go undone will eventually cause things to be ruined and then to be replaced. A little elbow grease now goes a long way in helping to maintain the tight budget you may still be on in the future.

Above all, don't wait and add these or any other projects to your home just before you decide to sell it. Take the time to do the projects now when you can benefit from it yourself!