-- You can make your home more appealing to prospective buyers without spending a lot.

If you don't plan to move for years, you should make renovations based on whether they will increase your home's comfort and usability. But if you're likely to move soon, or have already listed your home for sale, you may want to skip major renovations in favor of smaller projects.

Instead of gutting and rebuilding your kitchen, focus first on the things that are broken, like the leaky roof or rickety gutters. Also, purge the little things that threaten to turn away buyers, such as dirt, clutter or unusual decor.

To find those faults, perform a home inspection yourself, recommend authors Shelley O'Hara and Nancy D. Lewis, in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buying and Selling a Home." Chances are, if you notice a defect, the buyer will too. Clean the house. Remember that prospective buyers will probably open drawers and look in closets, so clear out your clutter. Think of this project as preparation for your move.

Spruce up your surroundings. Your outdoor furniture should be clean and fit well within your landscaping. Never show your house with leaves in your pool or a cluttered, unkempt yard. If you paint or recarpet, choose neutral colors such as beige, white or off-white. This will help prospective home buyers concentrate on the space, instead of wondering whether their furniture will go with your bright red walls and black shag carpet.

Another quick way to spruce up your home is to replace knob pulls. Store-bought knob pulls can cost as little as $3 to $4. Craft-oriented people may also be able to make drawer pulls out of everyday objects, from children's toys to silverware. If you opt for the unusual, save the old drawer pulls just in case.