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  1. First Impression is Everything
    It might take just 10 seconds for potential buyers to decide either stay or leave the property. A well-manicured lawn, neatly trimmed shrubs and a clutter-free porch welcome prospects. So does a freshly painted -- or at least freshly scrubbed -- front door. If it's autumn, rake the leaves. If it's winter, shovel the walkways. Fix everything on your To-Do list. The fewer obstacles between prospects and the true appeal of your home, the better.

  2. Few Hours for Big Dividends
    Clean up the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen. If your woodwork is scuffed or the paint is fading, consider some minor redecoration. If you're worried about time, hire professional cleaners or painters to get your house ready. Remember, prospects would rather see how great your home really looks than hear how great it could look "with a little work."

  3. Check Faucets and Bulbs
    Dripping water make people nervous, discolors sinks, and suggests faulty or worn-out plumbing. Burned out bulbs or faulty wiring leave prospects in the dark. Don't let little problems detract from what's right with your home.

  4. Don't Shut Out a Sale
    If cabinets or closet doors stick in your home, you can be sure they will also stick in a prospect's mind. Don't try to explain away sticky situations when you can easily plane them away. A little effort on your part can smooth the way toward a closing.

  5. Think Safety
    Homeowners learn to live with all kinds of self-set booby traps: roller skates on the stairs, festooned extension cords, slippery throw rugs and low hanging overhead lights. Make your residence as safe as possible for visitors.

  6. Make Room for Space
    Remember, potential buyers are looking for more than just comfortable living space. They're looking for storage space, too. Make sure your attic and basement are clean and free of unnecessary items.

  7. Consider Your Closets
    The better organized a closet, the larger it appears. Now's the time to box up those unwanted clothes and donate them to charity.

  8. Make Your Bathroom Sparkle
    Bathrooms sell homes, so let them shine. Check and repair damaged or unsightly caulking in the tubs and showers. For added allure, display your best towels, mats, and shower curtains.

  9. Create Dream Bedrooms
    Wake up prospects to the cozy comforts of your bedrooms. For a spacious look, get rid of excess furniture. Colorful bedspreads and fresh curtains are a must.

  10. Open up in the Daytime
    Let the sun shine in! Pull back your curtains and drapes so prospects can see how bright and cheery your home is.

  11. Lighten up at Night
    Turn on the excitement by turning on all your lights - both inside and outside - when showing your home in the evening. Lights add color and warmth, and make prospects feel welcome.

  12. Avoid Crowd Scenes
    Potential buyers often feel like intruders when they enter a home filled with people. Rather than giving your house the attention it deserves, they're likely to hurry through. Keep the company present to a minimum.

  13. Watch Your Pets
    Dogs and cats are great companions, but not when you're showing your home. Pets have a talent for getting underfoot. So do everybody a favor: Keep them outside, or at least out of the way.

  14. Think Volume
    Rock-and-roll will never die. But it might kill a real estate transaction. When it's time to show your home, it's time to turn down the stereo or TV.

  15. Relax
    Be friendly, but don't try to force conversation. Prospects want to view your home with a minimum of distraction.

  16. Don't Turn Your Home into a Second-Hand Store
    When prospects come to view your home, don't distract them with offers to sell those furnishings you no longer need. You may lose the biggest sale of all.

  17. Help Your Buyer
    Make every effort to accommodate a prospective purchaser. You'll appreciate the results.
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