If you're a homeowner:
- Be careful about how much more money you put into this investment. Don't spend more than 20 percent of the value on your home on improvements, Gerri says.
- Make home improvements that will appeal to lots of people. Avoid unusual decorating themes or additions.
- Do your homework. Get recent numbers, as some markets are changing fast, and talk to a real estate agent about deals, Gerri says.
- Consider hiring a buyer's agent to avoid conflicts of interest.
- Shop around for a loan. Gerri says to start with a local bank where they won't sell your loan and will "treat you like a real person."
- "Old-fashioned" loans are a safe bet. "A 30-year fixed rate loan is probably what you want to look at," Gerri says.
- Don't overbuy. Do not spend more than a third of your income on housing, Gerri says.