If and when you do put your house on the market, shoppers will appreciate the upgrades you've made. "I always type up a list of improvements that the seller has done and when they did them," says Fairfield, Connecticut, Realtor Bob Stone, a director of the Fairfield Board of Realtors. Work done three to five years back shows that you took care of the house, whereas more recent upgrades can look as if they were done to promote a quick sale. "It's like the difference between simply detailing your car before you sell it and having a precise record of changing the oil and keeping it tuned up over its life," Stone says. Making improvements now will best position you to make your move as soon as the market picks up. While everyone else is calling contractors for those get-set-to-sell projects, you won't be. Your house will be ready.