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Spruce up your home before you sell

By Victoria Advocate
April 28, 2010 at midnight
Updated April 27, 2010 at 11:28 p.m.

Furniture pulled away from the walls and arranged in an open U-shape or conversationally makes your home feel more spacious and more appealing to buyers.

When you're ready to sell your house, it pays to assess your home and make improvements before the for sale sign goes in the yard. By doing so, you'll help buyers see the beauty of your home - and that helps put the sold sign up faster.

No. 1: Be objective

One of the hardest things for homeowners is to see their house from a buyer's perspective. If you can't be objective about how your home looks, take pictures of it. Take photos from the street, the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. These are the rooms that matter most to buyers.

No. 2: Start at the front

Give the front of your home a makeover. Call a landscape company to come and freshen the landscape, trim shrubs and trees and add mulching. Repaint the mail box, add new house numbers and hide trash cans. These improvements help hook buyers at the curb, enticing them to view your home.

No. 3: Put money where your mouth is

Investing in the kitchen is one of the best return investments for homeowners. The kitchen is the one room that really excites buyers, so make it work for you by adding a new backsplash, fresh coat of paint on the cabinets and trendy pulls. Dated lighting, peeling laminate and crowded countertops will have buyers backing out of the house.

No. 4: Make a focal point in every room

Each room should have a feature that defines the space. A focal point helps visually draw buyers into the room - and where the eyes go, the heart often follows. Using the photos you've taken earlier, plan a focal point for the main rooms of the house and include the kitchen.

No. 5: Half-off closets

When it comes to buyers looking at your closets, less isn't more, less is best. Reducing your belongings by at least half will allow buyers to actually see storage instead of stuff. Rent a storage unit if that's what it takes, but reduce by fifty percent.

No. 6: The door to sales

The front door is the first place on your home a prospective buyer sees and touches when they arrive. Repainting or re-varnishing the door and polishing up the hardware will create a vision of beauty and buyer anticipation because it says the house is cared for right up front.

No. 7: Back off the wall

Move furniture out in the room and away from walls. Of course, you may need to pare down because many homes have too much furniture. Also, make sure to put sofas and loveseats or chairs across from each other rather than in an L-shape. This conversational arrangement is more appealing to buyers.

No. 8: Add life

Invest in good quality real or silk plants. Spindly plants are eyesores. Look in any décor magazine and you'll notice how plants are placed attractively in the room. Use these as guides on what plants to buy and where to place.

No. 9: Set the table

Model homes and homes in design magazines always feature a dining room table that's set, but few homeowners with homes for sale set the formal dining room table. Setting the table makes the room inviting and helps buyers imagine themselves in it.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information or questions, e-mail Kathryn@kathryn-weber.com or write to her at P.O. Box 531, Cuero, Texas 77954. Please include your e-mail address or a SASE for a reply.

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