By Barbara Pronin RISMedia Columnist


Homeowners nationwide have seen their home values dip over the past few years more in some areas than others. But homes are still selling noted California REALTOR Ellen Parker who recently sold a $1 million property in an Orange County neighborhood where sales have been relatively slow.

"People have to sell their homes for a variety of reasons" Parker said "and buyers are out there for a home that has good curb appeal is fairly priced and is well-maintained inside and out."

Parker shares six ways homeowners can be assured their homes will continue to gain value even in a slow market:

Make repairs It's hard to spend money when budgets are tight but don't procrastinate on needed repairs such as roof work painting or landscaping. Making repairs are a necessary component of homeownership and staying on top of them is a sure way to safeguard your home's value.
Update the kitchen Kitchens are a major selling point and little turns a buyer off more than outdated cabinets counters and appliances. On the other hand don't go overboard with expensive amenities without researching neighborhood comparables.
Update bathrooms Handsome low profile toilets can cost under $100 and stained or damaged tubs or showers are inexpensive to repair or replace. Attractive lighting fixtures and/or updated sinks also appeal to today's buyers.
Energy savings - Buyers want homes that are energy efficient. Low-flush toilets solar panels water filtration systems and insulated windows are all inexpensive but worthwhile fixes.
Keep the neighborhood desirable Get involved in local organizations such as the PTA or service clubs which have a stake in school and community improvement. Involvement is a good way to keep track of what's going on in your schools and neighborhoods and can increase the odds that yours is the neighborhood most desired by new and move-up buyers.