Note from Investopedia: Home prices are on the rise in many parts of the country, and even though the housing market plays a key role in the overall economic recovery, the rebound extends far beyond this sector. Gerri Willis, author of "Home Rich" and host of "The Willis Report" offers some tips below for maintaining the value of your home, no matter what the economic climate.

How Much Do You Know About Your Market?
The real estate market is in the dumps … right? Well, maybe not where you live. The truth is
real estate is local. You can't assume your friend's home in the next town or the next county is worth as much as yours. Work with an agent or do your own research, but get accurate prices and information and be informed about your market.

Do You Really Need Diamond-Encrusted Toilets?
OK, that might be an extreme example, but it is important to be conscious of what constitutes an improvement and what is an over-improvement. In other words, don't renovate your house to a level that far exceeds other homes in the neighborhood. If you over-improve - adding the island, Wolf stove and top-of-the line fridge in a neighborhood where few people can afford those amenities, you probably won't see the value in those home improvements when it comes time to sell.

Talk to Your Neighbor About Your Community?
Rally the neighbors! Urge them to maintain their homes as nicely as you do yours and talk to them about how that helps everyone. At a condominium complex in Florida, one resident went so far as to publicly post the names of owners delinquent on their maintenance fees. It's an extreme example, of course, and while that resident won't be winning any "Neighbor of the Year" contests, he at least showed that he cares about preserving values.

Have You Gone the Extra Mile?
Try organizing a neighborhood watch. Not only will it make your home safer, but it will focus you and your neighbors on home values and working together to raise them. Or volunteer to mow the unruly grass of a foreclosed home. You have to be willing to go that extra step. Foreclosed homes can bring the value of an entire neighborhood down in a heartbeat.

Can a Little Bit Really Go a Long Way?
There are many tips to sell your home faster, but even little things can turn off a buyer. A broken window or paint peeling from a shutter can send people away. Keeping your home in top form encourages everybody else to do the same and increases the likelihood that buyers will see your block as an attractive alternative.

The Bottom Line
On Friday, Feb. 8, FOX Business Network (FBN) will host "The Real Estate Story," a behind-the-scenes look at the United States housing market and its prospects for 2013. The network-wide special will feature expert analysis from the housing industry's major players, as well as an in-depth assessment of regional real estate markets.

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