Clarification: This week’s Home-Selling Tip covers getting your home listed in the MLS database for a flat fee. DIY home-sellers who want their homes listed in the MLS still need to work with a Realtor or other real estate broker to secure their flat-fee listing.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Homeowners can avoid emergency repairs by completing a few home projects each season. A simple project such as inspecting the plumbing annually can prevent the unexpected cost of repairing water damage from a pipe that burst. Chris Terrill, CEO of HomeAdvisor, offers maintenance tips to help homeowners save money:

Spring

• Plumbing: Every spring inspect all plumbing for leaks. Small problems, like leaky faucets and clogged drains can turn into big headaches if left unchecked. The average cost of hiring a plumber to repair pipes is $411; repairing water damage can cost seven times that amount.

Summer

• Paint: In the summer, touching up the home’s exterior not only boosts its curb appeal, but it also acts as a home’s defense against weather and other damage. If a homeowner neglects to complete this task, completely repainting the home’s exterior costs an average of $3,180.

Fall

• Gutter and downspouts: During the fall, clean the gutter and downspouts. The average cost of cleaning the gutter and downspout is $212. Ignoring this matter can affect the foundation of a home, which can cost an average of $4,607 to repair.

Winter

• Refrigerator: Vacuum the coils on the back of the fridge during the winter. Letting the coils build up with dirt and grime can decrease its efficiency, and can cost $317 to repair.

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HOME-SELLING TIP

List it: Planning on selling your house yourself? You don’t have to hire a real-estate agent to get your property listed on the MLS database anymore. For a flat fee of a couple hundred dollars, you can get your home onto the list and in front of hundreds of thousands of potential home-buyers. And you get to skip paying the 6 percent commission fee to a real-estate agent when your house sells. (You will, however, still have to pay a commission fee to your buyer’s agent.)

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DECORATING TIP

Stains: Sometimes all a cabinet needs is a simple stain to allow the true beauty and character of the wood to shine through. Dark, medium and light tone stains each can create a completely different look depending on what they are paired with. Your style may call for a kitchen with all stained cabinets, or an island can be the perfect place for a stain to pop out against beautifully painted wall cabinets.

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GARDEN GUIDE

Storing your seeds: Seeds need to be stored properly in order to maintain viability, experts say. Store your seeds in a cool, dark place that is free from humidity until you’re ready to plant them. Want to test the viability of your seeds? Try soaking them in water for a few hours. Check back and see which ones float — floating is generally a sign that your seed has died. The ones at the bottom of the water are the ones that are living.

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