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You'll never recoup the value of a swimming pool, hot tub, finish basement, or most other major improvements when you sell your house. In fact, such additions can decrease its value.

Instead, concentrate on two rooms that can help sell a house: The kitchen and bathroom. Even cheaper:
1. Paint the front entrance and put a couple of pots of geraniums by the door.
2. If rooms are even the slightest bit cluttered, remove some of the furniture.
3. No matter what you have in your closets, take at least half of it out. Remove at least half of what your have on your kitchen counter.
4. Clean the house thoroughly and keep the windows clean. Hire a cleaning service if you must.
5. Tighten any loose knobs or faucets.
6. Make sure the porch light and bell are working.

And just before the agent shows the house:
1. Close the garage door.
2. Park the kids and the pets with a neighbor.
3. Put away the kids' toys.
4. Turn on all the lights, and open the curtains.
5. If there's a smoker in the house, remove ashtrays and other evidence of tobacco.
6. Use an air freshener if the house does not already smell fresh. But don't bother if there is a nice cooking aroma from the kitchen.
7. Turn off appliances. It's good, however, to have very soft music playing in the background.
Reprinted from: Real Estate Today

Give Your Home the Look of Luxury Without Spending a Lot