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How To Prepare Your House For Sale                                           From Elizabeth Weintraub, http://homebuying.about.com (with some revisions) 

Every seller wants their home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Does that sound good to you? Well, it's not luck that makes that happen. It's careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home that will send homebuyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
1. Disassociate Yourself With Your Home. Say to yourself, "This is not my home; it is a house -- a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf. "
      Make the mental decision to "let go" of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours. Say goodbye to every room.
      Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners!
      Don't look backwards -- look toward the future.

2.  De-Personalize. Leave only enough items to make the house look inviting. 
Minimize those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can't see past personal artifacts, and you don't want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can't do that if yours are there! You want buyers to say, "I can see myself living here." 

3.  De-Clutter! People collect an amazing quantity of stuff. Consider this: if you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it. Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.
     If you don't need it, why not donate it or throw it away?
     M
inimize books in bookcases. Pack up those knickknacks.
     Clean off all but essential items on kitchen counters and remove those magnets on your refrigerator.
     P
ut essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.

4.  Rearrange Closets and Cabinets.
Buyers love to snoop and will open closet and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means:
     Neatly stack dishes. Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction. Line up shoes.
     T
idy the linen closet with neatly folded towels and sheets
     Remove prescription drugs from your medicine cabinet

5.  Rent a Storage Unit.
Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don't want buyers scratching their heads and saying, "What is this room used for?" 

6.  Remove/Replace Items that Will Not Convey.
If you want to take window coverings, appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won't want it. Once you tell a buyer she can't have an item, she might covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.

7.  Make Minor Repairs.
     
R
eplace cracked floor or counter tiles.
     Patch holes in walls.
     Fix leaky faucets.
     Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
     Consider painting your walls neutral colors.(Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the house with the orange bathroom.")
      Replace burned-out light bulbs.

8.  Make the House Sparkle!
     Wash windows inside and out.
     Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
     Clean out cobwebs.
     Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
     Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
     Clean out the refrigerator.
     Vacuum daily and be sure your baths and kitchen are tidy and clean.
     Wax floors.
     Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades, heating vent covers, and light fixtures.
     Bleach dingy grout or re-grout if needed.
     Replace worn rugs or expose the hardwood floors.
     Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odors are a no-no, even strong air fresheners.

9.  Scrutinize
     Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
     Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
     Make sure window coverings hang level.
     Tune in to the room's statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz? 

10.   Check Curb Appeal.
If a buyer won't get out of her agent's car because she doesn't like the exterior of your home, you'll never get her inside.                                                                                                                    Go outside and look at your house. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
     Keep the sidewalks cleared.
     Mow the lawn, pull up weeds in the flower beds and trim hedges.
     Paint faded trim or your front door.
     Plant flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion.
     AND Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number

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