• It's Time to Downsize

Tips to Increase Your Home Value

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Here are five tried and true tactics recommended by real estate agents to give your home an immediate face-lift. They'll cost you little - except, perhaps, some time - but are guaranteed to bring big returns when the FOR SALE sign goes up on the lawn.

Tidy it up!
Hold a garage sale to dispose of unwanted and unused furniture and appliances, odds and ends you've been saving for a rainy day, and generally anything you haven't used in the last five years.

Fix it up!
Take care of all the little maintenance tasks you never seem to have time for. Go through the house, room by room and make a list. Open every door and window, turn on every faucet and check every lamp.

Repair leaky faucets, oil squeaky hinges, tighten loose doorknobs, make sure windows and doors open and close smoothly, and change the burnt light bulbs. Buyers notice!

Spruce it up!
It's amazing how much better your home can look with a fresh coat of paint and how much value it can add, for little cost. You don't have to repaint everything, but do consider freshening up the rooms that need it most. Use neutral colours inside.

Outside, a gallon of paint on exterior trim, wooden stairs and banisters can also do wonders for your home's appearance. Label leftover paint cans for the new owners.

Pretty it up!
Curb side appeal is a big drawing card for home buyers. Not only is it the first thing they notice when they arrive, it's the face they'll present to the world if they buy.

Make the most of this opportunity and spend a Saturday tending to your lawn and garden. Mow the grass, trim the hedges, plant some flowers and weed the garden. Make sure the driveway and walkways are clear and obstacle-free. Your efforts won't go unnoticed.

Clean it up!
Now that you've been through the cupboards and removed all the needless clutter, get everyone in the family involved and clean the house from top to bottom.

Make sure everything sparkles and - here's the hard part - vow to keep it that way! Make sure beds are made and dishes are done before you leave the house in the morning. Interested buyers might stop by on short notice.