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Getting Your Home In "Show" Condition

With today's low interest rates, it's a great time to consider moving up to a bigger, better home, especially if your current home no longer meets your family's needs. Of course, before you can buy that beautiful new home, you'll need to sell your existing home--which means getting the house in "show" condition. What can you do to make sure your home looks its best? Follow these tips to ensure your home creates a favorable first impression.

Eliminate The Clutter
If you feel like your home is short on space, chances are potential buyers will feel the same way. Before you list your home for sale, take a look around. Are there furniture items that should be moved or placed in storage? Use model homes as an example. Furnishings should clearly define a room's space, but not impede access to walkways, closets, cabinets, or doorways.

Next, you'll want to take stock of artwork and decorator items. No matter how lovely, too many pictures or knickknacks can make a room appear cluttered. Choose a few of your favorite items for display and put the rest away. Think of it as getting a head start on packing for your move!

Other areas you'll want to make clutter-free include closets, cabinets, and storage areas. Your goal is to create the illusion that your home has plenty of storage space. If your closets are packed to the gills, buyers will assume they will not have room for all of their belongings.

Break Out The Home Repair Manual
Before you sell your home you'll need to fix all those little things you were willing to live with. If you're not the fix-it type, hire a professional to do the work. If nothing immediately comes to mind, do a quick check around the house to make sure everything truly is in working order.

Inspect all faucets to be certain that none are leaking. Then check under the sink for leaks below. Take a look at the caulking around sinks and tubs. If it's cracked or discolored it should be replaced. Does the shower head in the bathroom you never use work? If not, it's better to find out now.

Other items to inspect include doors and windows. Do all doors and windows close and latch properly? Are hinges squeak-free? Are door handles and locks functioning properly? What about the closet doors in your home-do they slide smoothly in their tracks?

Don't forget to check the lights in your home. Do all lights have working bulbs? If not, it's a great time to replace those that are dim or burned out.

Clean-Up, Clean-Up
Now that your home is uncluttered and everything is in working order, you will want to give each room a thorough cleaning. If you doubt your ability to make your home sparkle, hire a professional cleaning service. Kitchens and baths are especially important. Sinks and fixtures must shine, showers must be clean, and ideally, grout should be stain-free.

Look at your home's carpeting with a critical eye. If it's dirty or stained, you may want to invest in having it professionally cleaned. If you decide it needs to be replaced, be sure to select a neutral color.

Take the time to inspect your walls. Are traffic areas fingerprinted and dirty? A little touch-up paint in hallways, family rooms, and children's bedrooms can freshen things up. Keep in mind that buyers will perceive a clean home as one that has been well-maintained.

Curb Appeal is Critical
How does your home look from the street? Is the landscaping overgrown or dead? While you certainly don't want to invest in new landscaping at this time, you can spruce things up by mowing your lawn, trimming bushes, and removing dead plants or branches. Throw some fertilizer and grass seed on the front lawn if it looks a little tired. Plant some flowers along the front walk or place a pot filled with colorful blooms in the entry. You can use some of these tricks in the backyard, too.

Next, you'll want to remove dirt and cobwebs from the entryway and sweep the front walk. Washing windows is always a good idea. Finally, don't forget to clean your front door. If needed, give it a fresh coat of paint. Remember, this is where potential buyers will form their first impression.

Who Let The Dogs Out?
If you have pets, try to make arrangements for them to be elsewhere while your home is being shown. This is for the convenience and safety of potential buyers, as well as for the security of your pets. If Fido or Fluffy must stay home, confine them to the backyard, garage, or a specific room. Post a sign indicating any special instructions. If your dog is unpredictable around strangers, it should be noted on the house listing, as well as on your sign.

Maintaining The Model Home Look
Once your home is in "show" condition and the "for sale" sign is in the front yard, the real trick is maintaining that model home look while you go about your daily routine. The key lies in cooperation and organization. All family members must do their part to keep the house in order on a daily basis. Ask children to help by keeping their rooms neat and putting toys away after play. Older children and teens can do their share by wiping bathroom counters and mirrors after getting ready in the morning. Do a quick double check before heading off to work each day to be sure potential buyers see your home at its best.

Finally, you will face many challenges throughout the process but try to stay positive and focus on the reward--soon you will be moving into a beautiful new home!

Prices and terms in the home listings and featured articles on New Homes Online are subject to change
due to the time element between receipt of material and date of publication.

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