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SOURCE:  Excerpts from article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.

“Spring Selling Season Is On!”  If you’re considering listing your house, it’s time to get it in great shape.  You may think your home is already listing-ready, but a real estate agent may not agree.  These eight activities will help you put your best house forward.

CLEAN UP THAT YARD!   Don’t underestimate the power of curb appeal.  An unkempt yard, chipping paint, even a mailbox that’s seen better days can turn off a potential buyer – or turn one into a bargain hunter….and you don’t want either.  You home’s curb appeal is the first thing buyers see when they drive up to the property.  They immediately start assessing the exterior and landscaping, forming a knee-jerk first impression….and this initial impression is very powerful.  It sets the tone of the tour and will have an effect on how buyers perceive the rest of the property.  If their first impression is negative, the rest of the home will suffer for it.  A messy exterior makes buyers wary immediately about the condition/need for upkeep and maintenance in the rest of your home.  These issues instantly translate to dollar signs and stress for home buyers, and they will tend to move on to the next house to avoid problems.

CONSIDER YOUR DOOR.  Chances are you don’t notice your front door that much because you come in and out of the garage.  A buyer approaching your home will notice if your door isn’t pristine and may project the lack of neatness onto the rest of the house.  A fresh coat of paint does wonders; it’s inexpensive, and the impact is dramatic.

DECLUTTER.  A cluttered house masks its best qualities and also makes potential buyers feel like it’s not as spacious as they want it to be.  It is imperative that your home looks livable, and potential buyers may not be able to see past the clutter.  Also, you don’t want to move things that you no longer want or need.  Make decisions now and your house will sell faster and your move will be easier.  Take one room at a time and dive in.  Recycle or shred paper.  Donate books, toys, clothing and duplicate household items.  If you’re getting frustrated and can’t deal with one more stack of papers or box of old photos, put them in a plastic tub, label the tub and stack it somewhere out of the way.

DEPERSONALIZE.  You want your home to be positive and memorable on its own terms.  Pack personal collections to neutralize your space.  Remove any distractions so that buyers can visualize themselves and their family living in the home.  This includes removing very personal mementoes, family photos, bold artwork or furniture that  might make your home less appealing to the general public.  Your goal should be to create a blank canvas on which house-hunters can project their own visions of living there and loving it.

LIGHT BULBS, HANDLES AND HARDWARE – OH MY!   Burned-out bulbs, loose handles and hardware that’s worn, scratched or rusted is easy to take care of and can help your place look finished.

GIVE EVERYTHING A GOOD DUSTING.   How’s that ceiling fan?  Those corners?  Cobwebs, anyone?  You would be surprised  how noticeable these things are to potential buyers.  Get that duster out and hit and the nooks and crannies and window sills.  Clean all windows so that when you open all the blinds and drapes to let the sun in, the light doesn’t get blocked by smudges, film and fingerprints.

WALK THROUGH YOUR HOME LIKE YOU’RE SEEING IT FOR THE FIRST TIME.  Come in through the front door and examine every inch of the house.  You may have been ignoring little things that have just become part of YOUR landscape.  A scuffed baseboard here…a broken switchplate there…even a pile of shoes in the front hall that you don’t notice anymore.  Once you have decided it’s time to sell your home, start to look at it with an objective eye.  If you were a potential buyer, what red flags would you see when you walk around your house and yard?

CLEAN OUT CLOSETS, CABINETS AND PANTRY.  People WILL open doors and drawers and look through everything!  Hide your valuables before showings, just to be safe.  Don’t worry about being judged for your fashion sense.  Be more worried about whether buyers will walk away because they think there isn’t enough closet or storage space, or it’s not efficient space.

REMEMBER, you have to pack anyway if you’re moving – so start early.  Empty closets, cabinets and storage areas so the space looks sufficient and nicely organized.  For closets, the idea is to make them look filled, but not overfilled.  Create space between hangers and fold other items neatly on shelves.  Make sure there is ample space for shoes because, let’s face it, this could be a deal-breaker for some people.

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com.

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