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Sell Your House Now: Dress Up Your Home
For a Faster Sale

Need to sell your house fast and get top dollar for it? While there are no guarantees, the following tips will help your potential buyers see the house you fell in love with. We all know the standard advice: apply a coat of fresh paint, pull the weeds, mow the lawn and keep the house clean. All of the standard advice still applies but letís take it a step further.

Before you tackle the house itself, youíll need to do a little homework. Go tour a few model homes. Notice the lack of clutter and the strategically placed ďhomeyĒ items. Does each room have a focal point? A theme? Can you picture your family living the life these model homes project? Keep these ideas in mind as we move on to the next part of your assignment.

Sell your house

Examine each room in your house, as well as the garage, with a critical eye. Use a notebook and dedicate a sheet of paper to each room. Remember the lack of clutter the model homes had? What can you get rid of? Write it down. Forget sentiment, you can temporarily remove your photos, doilies, funky lampshades and treasured knickknacks. For our purposes today, we need to clear it all out, at least on paper.

Jot down your ideas for the roomís focal point. Perhaps itís the piano thatís been ignored for years and cluttered up with picture frames, old music books and potted plants. Now we have a starting point for this particular room and perhaps even a theme ó music. Think of ideas that you might use to project a certain mood to your buyers. Perhaps you might play soft classical music in the background during showings? Write your ideas down. Donít worry; theyíre just ideas, not a hard and fast rule you must follow.

Letís talk about the kidís rooms. Show them your notebook and let them help define their own room. Youíll be surprised how theyíll take ownership of a project if you give them some control. Think of it as a practice run for their rooms in the new house. Offer an incentive such as, ďIf you can keep your room neat and tidy while the house is for sale, you can design the theme of your new room.Ē

If you donít have much choice or control over your teenagerís disaster area of a room, you might resort to humor. Post a ďDanger, enter at your own riskĒ sign or use yellow caution tape around the door.

After youíve gone through the house room by room, rent a small storage garage for a month or two. No need for a long-term contract, go month to month. Your notes will give you a pretty good idea about the size unit youíll require.

Next, clear out the clutter. Use the trashcan for the junk, a box for charity and your storage unit. Pay special attention to the medicine cabinets and closets. If you think no one would dare look there, youíre wrong. If the closets are crammed full, keep the clothes you wear all the time and store the rest. Same goes for shoes. Potential buyers will see a spacious, organized closet instead of a mess.

Itís time to be brutal; clear off the kidís artwork from the refrigerator and stash all those magnets. No one said this would be easy. Instead, choose one choice piece and display only it. This will clear the refrigerator of excess clutter yet still project that homey feeling you want the buyers to associate with your house.

Clear some of the books from those bookshelves and use the space wisely. Look at a few home dťcor magazines and see how their bookshelves look.

Keep the laundry area clear too. No one wants to see someone elseís dirty clothes, or even clean folded clothes for that matter. Itís fine to leave the detergent in sight so long as it looks as though doing laundry here is an easy task. For example, does the detergent look easy to access? Is the iron convenient? Hide the mismatched socks and other clutter.

Now that the house is cleared of clutter and cleaned from top to bottom, itís time to dress each room up. Go back to your notebook and work in some of your ideas. Make the most of each roomís focal point. Light a fire in the fireplace or place some pretty candles around the bathtub to create a relaxing atmosphere. Whatever you do, use your imagination. How would a pitcher of lemonade and a few pretty glasses look in the sunroom? Would it invite you to grab a book and curl up on the sunny window seat for some quiet reading time? What emotions would a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen table bring out? Or a game of Scrabble laid out on the coffee table in the family room? You could even go so far as to spell out words designed to evoke homey feelings. Flowers from the garden are always a nice touch in any room. Remember, choose the display items carefully; you donít want to overdo it. Donít add so much personality that the buyers canít picture their own stuff working in your house.

Does your home look like a model home? That might be a little unrealistic and besides, who wants to live like that? But chances are your house will look cleaner, more spacious, and more inviting than before.

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