NEW YORK (CBSNEWS.COM) – Landscaping yards, cleaning carpets, redoing kitchens with fresh coats of paint — it takes a lot of elbow grease to get homes ready for market. After agent fees and closing costs, Americans nationwide can spend nearly $21,000 to prepare their homes to be sold, according to a recent Zillow report.

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It’s a hefty price, especially for first-time sellers who may not foresee all the hidden costs and expect more of a return on their investment. And more than half of owners now selling homes are doing so for the first time. But the extra effort can pay off.

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