Get 20 percent more for your home by doing this

If you're one of the more than 5 million homeowners who hope to sell their home this year, don't make the mistake of selling yours as is.

A little investment and some elbow grease can raise your home's value by as much as 11 to 20 percent, according to Consumer Reports.

To get the top price for your house, start by decluttering and deodorizing your home. Store personal pictures and move extra furniture out, so potential buyers can visualize their own stuff in the space.

Open drapes and blinds to let in natural light to make rooms look bigger. Sellers who follow these rules can up their asking price by 3 to 5 percent, according to Consumer Reports.

It's no secret that kitchens and bathrooms sell the home. Small fixes left undone signal to a buyer that the rest of the house could be in disrepair, so take the time to fix leaks and tighten handles.

A new suite of appliances will cost about $2,000, but can add much more to a home's value. A good-looking kitchen can increase an asking price by 3 to 7 percent.

Bathroom spruce-ups, like adding a new toilet, can up your asking price by another 2 to 3 percent.

"Your house shouldn't be remembered by potential buyers as the one with the gross grout. Caulking the gaps and cleaning the grout are cheap ways to freshen up the space," said Dan DiClerico.

You do not need to re-paint every room in the house. Instead, touch up scuffed walls with a product like Magic Eraser. Then consider painting only rooms that are brightly colored, and the kitchen if it's looking less than lively.

"A fresh coat of paint on the front door in a great color gives you instant curb appeal," said DiClerico.

About one-third of the realtors in a Consumer Reports survey said that the roof is one of the more important things prospective buyers ask about. A typical re-roofing job can cost as little as $6,000, but the potential return can be up to $10,000.

Finally, nine out of 10 buyers use the Internet to explore new homes, so take high-quality pictures of every room, in natural light. Make sure to include interesting features, like fireplaces or architectural details. The best time to post them with your listing is on a Thursday or Friday, ahead of the weekend open houses.
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