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  1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines. Stow away most small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage. Organize closet spaces. Clean out the garage.

  2. Wash your windows and screens. This will allow more light into the home.

  3. Make sure all rooms are extra clean. This will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well cared for. Wash finger prints from light switches, mop and wax floors. Clean the stove and refrigerator. Scrub the showers and toilets. It’s worth it to hire a cleaning service if you can afford it.

  4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.

  5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, consider brushing on a fresh coat of neutral paint.

  6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial but they may give buyers the impression that the house is not well maintained.

  7. Patch holes in the driveway and reapply sealant if applicable.

  8. Consider adding a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.

  9. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window where you pass frequently.

  10. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.

  11. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.

  12. Accentuate the fireplace. If it’s gas, turn it on, or place fresh logs in a wooden stove.

  13. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away old towels and toothbrushes. Add a new shower curtain, new towels and guest soaps. Replace old floor rugs. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.

  14. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that is not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement) and let the buyer’s agent know they will be there to eliminate any surprise.

  15. Lock up valuables, jewelry and money. While a real estate agent will be on site during the showing or open house, it is impossible to watch everyone all of the time.

  16. Leave the home prior to a showing appointment. It is usually best if the Sellers are not at home during showings. It is awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you present.


  1. Increase your home's curb appeal. Invest some time and money into your home's exterior to increase the amount of showings and ultimately the selling price.

  2. A trim landscape can attract buyers, so mow and water your lawn.

  3. Trim trees and bushes, and tidy up mulch and other ground cover.

  4. Cover bare spots in your lawn with grass seed.

  5. Plant flowers - hint: yellow flowers symbolize new beginnings and can evoke buying emotions.

  6. Clean sidewalks, walkways, and the sides of your home. Rent a power washer if necessary.

  7. Make your house number clearly visible from the street.

  8. Keep clutter to a minimum - store bikes, toys and other equipment.

  9. Repaint the home or touchup the necessary areas to present a clean and kept appearance.

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