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Makeover tips that can sell your home

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'80s homes: upgrade countertops, ditch wallpaper, detail
Laminate countertops gave way to hard surfaces in many homes of this era, creating a bit of a kitchen arms race for sellers.

"If you want to replace your kitchen counters, look around your neighborhood," says Davis. "If everyone has granite, then you're going to have granite, too. If everyone has Corian, then you're going to go that way, too."

If laminate still makes the grade in your area, Davis suggests laminate edge treatments, available at any Home Depot or Lowe's.

"You can do wood edge treatments with metallic bands in it, all kinds of goodies, and make laminate countertops look fantastic on the cheap," he says.

Wallpaper is another '80s trend that may date your home.

"Wallpaper was really big, but it's not now," says Combs. "My advice is to pull it all off."

Paintable wallpaper is one inexpensive option, and it's available at most wallpaper outlets.

LeForce says '80s homes can benefit greatly from the real estate version of the detailing done to your car: sand and repaint flaking paint, replace dingy switch plates, upgrade worn doorknobs and trim molding.

"You'll usually net more money faster than if you try to do that while people are going through the home," he says.

'90s homes: upgrade appliances, clean or replace carpeting
Intuitively, you would expect that a '90s home would require fewer upgrades than something from the '80s. But depending on its age, a '90s home may require more work for one reason: home appliances wear out most frequently when they are 10 to and 15 years old.

According to Davis, big-ticket items may include a new furnace (which typically lasts 12 to 14 years) and an air conditioning unit (which typically lasts about 10 years). Other items that may need repair or replacement include the water heater, the stove/oven, the washer/dryer, the refrigerator and the dishwasher.

Davis suggests replacing them sooner rather than later.

"After 10 or 12 years, the new Energy Star appliances are so much more energy-efficient that they will just about pay for themselves," he says.

Don't hurry into a new roof, however. If your roof is more than 10 years old, have it inspected and, if it makes the grade, include the inspection report in your buyer's packet. If your roof needs replacing, Davis suggests saving money by choosing a 20-year instead of a 30-year roof material.

A clean carpet always says "welcome home" to prospective buyers. For added impact, have yours cleaned, then cover the traffic areas with a plastic sheeting that is sticky on one side. This is available at home improvement stores.

"People coming through will say, 'Wow, these people are serious about clean,'" Combs says.

Whatever the age of your home, a home warranty can be a compelling, inexpensive incentive for buyers that also affords you added peace of mind.

"It covers you during the entire listing period," says Combs. "If you get to the inspection and something is wrong, you have a fallback position."'s corrections policy -- Posted: Nov. 29, 2007
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