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How Can I Improve My House For Real Estate Showings?

May 16th, 2011

One of the first conversations that a home seller has with his realtor starts with “What can I do to improve my house for showings?” All too often, the answer is something general like “You have to keep it clean at all times.” But what exactly is “clean”? It seems like a simple word, but it can have different meanings for different people.

Here are three simple cleaning projects that cost little or nothing and take no more than about 1 hour each, but will have a big impact on how your home is seen by buyers.

First, clean all the finger marks off the door frames and light switches with a sponge and mild cleaner. Dirt, newsprint and food smudges tend to accumulate in these areas. They are unattractive in themselves and can also give the impression that the rest of the house is not clean. If you have pets, look for smudges on corners and walls at the height of the pet and clean those, too.

Second, straighten all the crooked pictures. When things that should be straight are slightly tilted, it can give the subconscious impression that the actual walls are not straight or that there may be structural issues with the house. Use a picture leveler or have someone guide you while you adjust the picture. Pictures that are only slightly out-of-line can be adjusted with adhesive pads attached to the back of the frame. If a picture can’t be leveled, remove it – most homes have more art work on the walls than is recommended by good “home staging” principles. Remember to carefully patch the nail hole with a small dab of spackle or even a bit of toothpaste (an old college dorm room trick).

Third, remove all but the bare essentials from kitchen and bathroom counters. Storage space is a desirable feature in homes of every price range, and cluttered counters can give the impression that storage is limited. In the kitchen, limit the items on the countertop to the toaster, coffee-maker and a few other essentials; infrequently used small appliances should be put away. Keep the dishwashing liquid, sponges and scrubbers under the sink; put keys, pens, etc. in a drawer or in an attractive basket; put spices and food boxes back in the cupboards. In the bathroom, limit the countertop items to a few basics such as a drinking glass, tissue box, etc., and put all the other items in the medicine cabinet, drawers, or linen closet.

Once these three projects are completed, it just takes an occasional quick review to “touch up” these areas. Your home will be better prepared for showings and homes in every price range and condition will benefit.

Susan Wiley, Prudential Connecticut Realtor and Accredited Staging Professional, and Steven Penny author of Hiring The Best People writes on the best places in Connecticut to live. If you are looking for Homes for Sale in Connecticut please visit http://www.Prudentialct.com

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