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A home security system doesn't just keep your home and property safe, it also provides peace of mind. Statistics show that your home is three times more likely to be broken into if you have no Read more...

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Staging your Home for Buyer Appeal and a Quicker Sale
By Kristi Cole
Every seller wants to ensure they get top dollar when selling their and get those offers rolling in quickly. Properly preparing or 'staging' your house before you list the house for sale can help get that sold sign up quickly. It is urgent these steps be taken before you list the house on the market because the first few weeks are the most critical.

Clean thoroughly - This is the one time when you need your house to be spotless - both inside and outside. Potential buyers will be turned off by dishes in the sink, a bad-smelling litter box or dusty furniture. Professionally steam clean your carpets. Remember, you want to create a lasting impression - a positive one. Clean your windows, wipe down floor molding, clean counter tops, replace moldy or aged caulking and even clean your garage. Prepare yourself and your family for the challenge of keeping your spotless for the duration of the pre-sale listing. Reward your children for helping and keeping their rooms clean.

Eliminate clutter - To ensure your house looks as big and roomy as possible you will need to remove clutter and excess furniture. Proceed with one room at time. Work through every closet, drawer and cabinet of every room. Sort items into three groupings: things you must leave in the room because it is a necessity, things you need to keep but can keep at an alternate location and things that you can discard. Your goal as you de-clutter is to make your look as spacious as possible. Keep in mind that potential buyers will look into closets, cabinets and even drawers as they walk through your home.

Take away excessive furniture - Leave only those furniture items that are necessary and those items that reflect the purpose of the room. If furniture blocks a pathway, move it to storage. This is not the time to save money and store everything in the garage. You need to remove clutter from the garage as well so it looks as spacious as the rest of your de-cluttered home.

Neutral Colors - While you might love that vivid red family

room, many potential buyers will be turned off by bold paint and carpet colors. Most buyers walk through a house and try to visualize how it will look with their furniture in the home. They may find this difficult to do if the color set up clashes with their furniture and accessories. Think neutral and warm to appeal to the widest audience. Repaint rooms and strip wallpaper that does not fit this neutral definition. Replace carpeting that is not neutral in color or is highly worn. Once the walls and carpeting are neutral colors, you can add back some color with tactful accents and accessories.

Accentuate key features - Take advantage of unique or key features of your home. If you have beautiful hardwood floors, don’t hide them with a large area rug. Removing the rug and polishing the hardwood floor will show off this key element of your home. For fireplaces, be sure to thoroughly clean the inside of the fireplace and spruce up the mantel with some small topiaries or other decorative accents. Take advantage of other key features of your and accentuate them so they become a focal point of the room.

Curb Appeal - Once you've cleaned each room inside, you need to clean up the outside as well. First impressions are lasting. Potential buyers will gain their first impression of your as they drive up for a showing. Paint the exterior of your and window trim if needed. Trim your bushes and trees. Mow and edge your yard weekly while the house is on the market. Remove leaves and weeds from your flowerbeds.

Schedule showings - After you have staged your house and listed in on the market, be ready for the showings and take steps to enhance the experience for the potential buyers. Be careful of what you cook. Having fish for lunch may sound appetizing, but the smell could linger into your unplanned evening showing. Strategically place air fresheners throughout the house, but use them in moderation. You should plan to leave the house for every showing. Be sure to take your pets with you; a barking dog can be a significant turn off for a potential buyer. Empty all trash cans and turn on all lights before you leave. Be patient and hang in there. Showings can be a significant interruption and the effort it takes to keep your house spotless may seem overwhelming. In the end, it will be worth the effort and will help you find the right buyer early in the process.

If you follow these suggestions sincerely, you may have second thoughts about selling your now that it looks so appealing. You'll see the most potential buyers during the first few weeks the is on the market. Capitalize on this traffic and be sure to turn up the charm during this critical time period.
Kristi Cole is an author and real estate expert at

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