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A Dozen Ways to Make Your Home Show Better

We all have had the experience of someone important coming to the house, and whether the visitor is an in-law, old friend, or business associate you know the drill: Have the house in "show" condition.

For home sellers the situation is much the same: First impressions count and while you may not be able to tell a book by its cover, you'll likely pay more for a book if the cover is inviting, alluring and attractive.

If your home is for sale or soon to be for sale, in addition to a general cleaning there are 12 steps you can take to benefit from that all-important first look:

1. Start with the outside. Mow the law, prune bushes, remove dead branches and get rid of outdoor furniture you don't intend to move. You may consider placing a few potted plants with bright color, seasonal flowers at the entrance. First impressions matter! If a buyer does not like what they see from the driveway, they may not even want to get out of the car. Create a welcoming environment.

2. Paint the front door and lintels, or at least clean them up. Sweep the front entrance. Throw away a worn welcome mat and replace with a new one if possible. Make sure exterior lights are in working order.

3. Check for leaks. A drip may not seem important, but does it suggest poor maintenance in places which can't be seen? Eliminate buyer worries and fix the little items which may be seen as clues relating to the general condition of the home. Eliminate “inspection worries” now by having an inspection early on.

4. Clean out & organize closets and storage areas. De-clutter! Donate old clothes, books, magazines and furniture to local charities. This will create a sense of greater space, mean less to move, and may provide you with a tax write off. .

5. Have a professional service clean your carpets. This is especially important if the carpets are to stay.

6. Caulk around tubs and sinks. New caulk invariably looks better than old caulk, and you'll also prevent leaks. Ensure that all sinks, toilets, and bathtubs are clean and tidy.

7. Replace bulbs that don't work and use as much wattage as is appropriate for each fixture. Bright lights make homes seem, well, light and airy. Open the blinds or curtains to create an open and clean feeling, especially during the day in areas which get a lot of sunshine. Clean windows if necessary.

8. “Appeal to the masses.” It’s not often that you find another person who enjoys green walls and a blue carpet. If this describes your home and you want it sold quicker, then go neutral. If you have any brightly colored walls or carpeting, consider painting or replacing now. Typically a buyer does not want to move into a home which needs renovation. Leave no excuse for lower offers. White or light tan colors work wonders!

9. Is there anything in the house that will surprise visitors? As an example, mirrors in poorly-lit basements can be dangerous. Ensure that carpets are free of kinks and trip hazards. Look at the property from the perspective of a first-time visitor. Things which are known to you may be uncomfortable to visitors.

10. Clean out medicine cabinets. Remove out-of-date items. Also, if you have prescription medicines, consider removing them when buyers visit.

11. People have both allergies and concerns when it comes to animals. If you have a pet, make arrangements to have it elsewhere when a home is being shown. Be wary of strongly scented air fresheners which may be a nuisance to some. Strive for an odor free, clean smelling home. Think “new car” scent. Open windows when home to keep the air smelling fresh. Use light scents such as vanilla if needed. Fresh baked cookies before an open house is a please all. Smokers: Outside is the place to be.

12. Homes in a given location and price range battle for a common pool of buyers. Ask your broker to examine the property for specific showing tips to make your home more competitive so that it will stand out from the others.

Happy showing!

About the Author: Sean Remington is president of Sean Remington & Associates, an Albuquerque, New Mexico realtor. Sean was voted Albuquerque Metropolitan Board of REALTORS(r) "2005 Rookie of the Year" and is a REMAX Platinum Club Member along with a Committee Ambassador - Albuquerque Economic Development. To learn more about Albuquerque Real Estate, point your browser to

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