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Daily Q&A: What should I do before trying to sell my house?

What tips do you have for preparing my home to sell?

SureFit.com offers the following tips for helping to you make your home more appealing to buyers:

• Consider curb appeal. You may not have the funds for a professional landscaper, but homeowners should make sure lawns are freshly mowed, leaves raked, and paths cleared. Scrub the front door, porch, railings and steps, pick up a new mailbox and welcome mat, and add a fresh coat of paint where needed. Add seasonal potted plants and a bench to the entryway to welcome visitors into a clean, fresh and relaxing space.

• Forgo family photos. You may consider it the crown jewel of the living room, but future buyers will see outdated family photos as years of wear and tear. Clear the room of family portraits and other items that say "you don't live here" to buyers.

• What once was old, should be newly slip-covered. No need to splurge on new furniture and home assets when your budget is already tightened up, especially in the midst of a move. Cover up outdated, worn and loud furniture with neutral colors.

• Rearrange and refresh. Arrange the room in a conversational way. You may have preferred for every piece of furniture to face the television, but potential buyers will appreciate more of an open room vignette.

• Clean up the kitchen. Kitchens play a big part in home resale value, so make sure buyers are impressed. Spend extra time scrubbing, cleaning and de-cluttering, and make sure counters are clear of appliances. Re-stain shabby cabinets, replace any mismatched hardware, add fresh cut flowers, turn on lights and open curtains for a clean, bright and attractive gathering space.

• Let air in. Keep stuffiness and odors at bay by opening windows for at least 10 minutes prior to showing. Go easy on the air freshener, but bring in fresh cut flowers for a natural look and smell.

• Organize the closets. While shoving everything into a closet has been your go-to cleanup plan since your teen years, potential buyers will undoubtedly look behind every door in your home. Keep bedroom, linen closets and storage spaces neat and tidy to avoid any embarrassing surprises.

• Scrub until it sparkles. Clean bathrooms until they look like the model sets at Home Depot. Signs of use, like soap scum and toothpaste stuck to the sink, will turn buyers off. Replace any outdated fixtures with sleek and modern ones, and add fresh cut flowers to help with aroma and appearance.

• Tidy up the bedroom. Keep bedrooms neutral, comfortable and spacious. Buyers want to picture themselves relaxing here, so use soft colors, light scents and earth tones to "set the mood." Make bedrooms appear larger by limiting items in the room to a bed, dresser and small seating area for the Master Bedroom. Update any outdated bedding and use a lavender oil diffuser to keep relaxation a priority here.

Question for the Consumer's Edge? Send it to ipenn@sptimes.com or twitter.com/consumers_edge. Questions are answered only in this daily feature.

Daily Q&A: What should I do before trying to sell my house? 01/06/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 6, 2011 3:49pm]
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