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How to effectively 'show' your home -- Page 2

Ultimately, a homeowner is selling his or her space, not his or her things. "Rearranging the furniture can help showcase important features of the house or minimize less attractive features," says Wakeley. She also stresses the importance of accessorizing. "Adding a burgundy throw to a neutral-colored couch, or a vase of fresh flowers on the coffee table or fresh towels in the bathroom creates a welcoming environment."

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Boosting curb appeal
As far as the home's exterior, it's important to pay attention to curb appeal. "Here is where you can get the most bang for your buck," says Terry Hankner, a Realtor for Comey & Shepherd Realtors based in Cincinnati, Ohio. "It's relatively inexpensive to de-clutter your garage, sweep the driveway, paint the front door, mow the lawn, and plant some flowers," she says. "But it goes a long way and means a lot to the buyer psychologically."

Landscaping is also key. "You don't want to have a lot of brand new plants. You want something that looks more mature and established. Stay away from starter plants -- they look like they've just been dropped in the ground," says Matzke. She says to avoid the other extreme, which is to have too many plants and flowers to the point where the yard looks overgrown.

It's also important to be aware of the condition of your neighborhood. "For most buyers, it's all about location, location, location," Bernard says. While you can't control other people's yards, she says you can make sure there's no garbage in the streets or suspect abandoned cars. But she assures, "If you really take pride in your house, that can be contagious," she says.

10 showing tips

  • Don't mask smells with candles or potpourri. There's no sense in replacing one odor with another. Buyers will wonder what odor you are trying to hide. But keep the exotic spices and fish to a minimum when cooking the night before a showing. Work toward achieving a "clean" smell.
  • Remove animals and litter boxes from the property. Find "Spot" a temporary home. Dog smell is not going to entice potential buyers.
  • Don't turn on all the lights. Nobody looks his or her best under stark light, including your house. Offer a nice balance of natural lighting, table and floor lamps, or tasteful overhead lights. The idea is to create a mood.
  • Don't paint all walls white. White walls can look too institutional. Besides, colored walls are en vogue. Try a neutral color like beige with yellow undertones or a mossy green.
  • Get rid of dated wallpaper. While wallpaper is making a comeback, dated wallpaper will always be, well, dated. Since it's not easy to paint over wallpaper, removing it is the best option.
  • Be mindful of the carpeting. If the carpeting is in bad shape, shampoo it or replace it. Never give the buyers an allowance to replace the carpets. Do it yourself and do it before the showing.
  • Remove window screens. Screens take away from allowing natural light inside. Plus, no one will notice they are missing.
  • Remove all knick-knacks under 10 inches tall. We all have random, small objects that clutter our home. Pack them up and put them under the bed.
  • Put away holiday decorations. Unless you are showing your home during the holiday season, make sure to put away all holiday paraphernalia.
  • Don't spend a fortune on improving your home. It's worth the investment to spend some money on enhancing your home, but don't go overboard.
Alana Klein is a freelance writer in Connecticut.
-- Posted: May 16, 2005
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'05 Real Estate Guide
30 yr fixed mtg 3.52%
15 yr fixed mtg 2.76%
5/1 jumbo ARM 3.23%
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