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Getting the Best Price for Your House to Help Finance Your Retirement

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Posted: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 1:37 pm | Updated: 1:33 am, Wed Jul 2, 2014.

(NewsUSA) - Have you forgotten something in figuring where you're going to retire to?

Let's see, you've researched which states tax Social Security income (only 14, including Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, North Dakota and Vermont).

And you've even consulted the numbers-crunchers at Bankrate.com to learn which states scored highest overall in everything from cost of living to access to health care (South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming).

But here's a question for all you homeowners: Given the results of a new report from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate -- 57 percent of boomers say they plan to move to a new home in retirement -- what are you doing right now to make sure your current house fetches a good price to help finance your retirement dreams?

"As people grapple with whether to pull up stakes, there's small margin for error," the New York Times' coverage of the report noted.

Here's some tips for preparing what's likely your biggest asset for prospective buyers:

* Get rid of the clutter. No doubt you have years worth of memories on display. But they're your memories. And painful as it may be, it's time to accept that not everyone appreciates having turned your den, for example, into a shrine to the '69 Mets.

"Buyers shouldn't be distracted from imagining themselves living in your space," says Patsy O'Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby's in Montclair, New Jersey.

* Think twice before doing any trendy remodeling. Especially if your home is older, you may be tempted to go as far in trying to spruce things up as, say, tearing down a wall between the kitchen and an adjoining room just because Angie's List says creating the feel of more space is "one of the hottest trends in home remodeling."

Well who's to say it'll still be hot in six months or a year?

* Think "curb appeal." There's a reason roof replacement consistently makes Remodeling magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report, and is up 11.2 percent this year over even last year: A roof is the first thing potential buyers notice -- even from down the street -- and you've already lost the sale if yours looks like hell.

"It's a huge turn-off," says O'Neill, "and makes people predisposed to find even more things they don't like." For the look of luxury at very affordable prices, check out the Value Collection Lifetime Designer Shingles from GAF (www.gaf.com), North America's largest roofing manufacturer.

* Fix major maintenance and safety issues. Would you buy a house with a sputtering boiler? Enough said.

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Vote on the biggest local story in 2014: See poll below

It has been an eventful year in Lodi, from the antics of a wild turkey named Tom Kettleman to the announced closure of the General Mills plant. What do you see as the biggest story of the year?

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