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Sprucing Up Your Home to Sell It, Without Losing Your Mind 

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Getting ready to sell your house? Spring and summer are typically higher-volume home sale times, and even though our area is very much a seller's market, there's a lot more involved than putting up a "For Sale" sign. Just like you might wash, wax and detail your car before selling it, similar principles apply to preparing your home. The work is quite simple but requires some time well worth spending.

Here are the basic items on most checklists.

Curb appeal. The outside of your home is the first thing people see and provides the first impression. Prospective buyers may decide not to go inside a home if the outside doesn't appeal to them, just as they may be attracted by an exterior that appeals to them. This is basically simple stuff like hosing down the outside of your home, cleaning the gutters, cleaning the windows, maintaining your landscape. Don't forget planting some colorful flowers or hanging baskets. Your front door should be clean and should be painted if needed.

Declutter. You may have heard the stager's quote, "Less is more." Many of us tend to have too much stuff lying around on counter tops, in closets and cupboards, in the garage, on coffee and dining tables, etc. It is not uncommon to hear that 50 percent or more of our stuff is never used. Since you'll need to pack stuff for moving anyway, now's a good time to declutter and pack away your extra things including clothing, linens, dishes, etc. Neat and uncluttered spaces look nicer and give the impression of plenty of storage space. This is a good time to consider renting a storage unit for your excess items and pre-packed items. Don't forget to do the same for your garage.

Depersonalize and Neutralize. Because the goal is to have buyers see themselves living in a space, personal items such as family photos and taxidermy should be packed up. Other personalized features such as boldly painted walls should probably be painted to neutral tones. Remember to patch and paint where photos and artwork have been removed and touch up any dings or scratches in the wall while you're at it.

Clean Thoroughly. Sparkling clean windows inside and out, wiped countertops, kitchen cupboards, and a clean oven and stove, floors, and bathrooms go a long way. A clean home can feel like a new home and usually smells nice, too.

Hide Valuables and Medications. Pack up valuables such as jewelry and coins or keep them in a safe, if you have one. For the ones you keep, make sure they're out of sight. This also applies to medications.


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