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.

Related Articles
  1. Home & Auto

    Rent-To-Own Homes: How The Process Works

    A rent-to-own agreement can benefit homebuyers with bad credit or insufficient funds for a down payment. Here’s how one works.
  2. Home & Auto

    7 Must-Have Real Estate Contract Conditions

    Buying a home can bury you in paperwork. But it’s worth your time to make sure your contract contains these seven important conditions.
  3. Investing Basics

    Understanding Real Estate

    Real estate is an encompassing term that refers to land, the buildings on that land, and its natural resources, such as crops and minerals.
  4. Economics

    Understanding the American Dream

    The American dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they’re born or into what class, can attain their own version of success.
  5. Home & Auto

    9 Tips for Handling Homeowners’ Associations

    Before you buy property in a community with an HOA, there are nine things you should do.
  6. Investing Basics

    Top 10 Features Of A Profitable Rental Property

    Owning rental property is a tough business. Here are 10 things you should consider before investing in an income property.
  7. Home & Auto

    What to Do When You Can No Longer Afford Your Car

    Life is full of unexpected and undesired events, like layoffs or divorce. Unfortunately, these events can sometimes make your car payment unaffordable.
  8. Home & Auto

    Stormy Winter Weather: Do This to Survive

    Maybe you’ll get through the winter without dealing with a(nother) monster storm, but it’s best to be ready. Work down this checklist.
  9. Home & Auto

    Steps To Buying A Home

    No matter what type of property you’re eyeing, there are steps you can take to protect your investment.
  10. Home & Auto

    What are The Best Ways to Save on Moving Costs?

    Because buying a house isn’t cheap, funds might be limited during your move. So, to avoid additional stress, here are seven money saving tips.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Do mortgage escrow accounts earn interest?

    A bank is not required to pay interest on any escrow accounts (also mortgage impound accounts) it holds for its customers. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are the best ways to pay off my mortgage quickly?

    There are two main strategies for paying off a mortgage more quickly, which can be used alone or in tandem: making larger ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the pros and cons of a simple-interest mortgage?

    The basic disadvantage of a simple interest mortgage lies in the fact that unless the borrower conscientiously makes all ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Is a waiver of subrogation clause better for a tenant or a landlord?

    A waiver of subrogation clause is good for both a tenant and a landlord. A waiver of subrogation is a two-way agreement in ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Is the high cost of installing solar panels justified by the money saved by going ...

    In favorable locations and under suitable conditions, homeowners can recuperate the cost of installing solar panels. The ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. If my home runs power off the grid, what is the specific environmental impact?

    Running a solar-powered home with energy that is natural or off the grid has several environmental benefits. By using solar ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center