Boost your home's selling price with just a few simple improvements

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Hoping to sell your home this year? A little investment - and some elbow grease - can raise your home's value by as much as 11 to 20 percent. (KABC)

If you're one of the more than five-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.

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. And 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.

Kitchens and bathrooms sell the home. Small fixes left undone signal to a buyer that the rest of the house could be in disrepair. Take the time to fix leaks and tighten handles.

A new suite of appliances cost about $2,000, but a good-looking kitchen can increase your 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 Consumer Reports senior editor Dan DiClerico.

Do not re-paint every room in the house. 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.

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

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

About a 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.

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realestatehomeownersconsumer reportsreal estateric romero
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