Preparing for an open house: a how-to

Roll out the welcome mat, literally. Roll out the welcome mat, literally. Photo Credit: iStock

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1. FIX UP

- Make any necessary repairs. This way buyers don't have to add that to their list of expenses.

- Confirm that house numbers are visible from the curb. Buy new numbers if the old ones are dated or faded.

- Make sure the front door is inviting. Paint the door if needed. Also, replace any outdated outdoor lighting fixtures.

2. TIDY UP

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- Eliminate half of your belongings. Clutter can cost a sale. Rent a storage unit or portable pod for extraneous pieces of furniture or knickknacks. Another idea is to ask a friend if you can borrow some space in his or her garage.

- Organize all closets and drawers. Buyers might look there.

- Depersonalize each room. Remove photo frames and posters or artwork.

3. CLEAN UP

- Clean the outside of the house. Use "home wash" -- hose attachments are available at home-improvement stores.

- Clear rain gutters. Also clean outside windows and screens.

- Scrub every inch of the kitchen and bathrooms.

- Make every surface shine. Clean everything from ceiling fans to baseboards. Don't forget interior windows, mirrors and floors.

4. SPRUCE UP

- Buy a new welcome mat.

- Rearrange furniture. Try to make rooms appear as large as possible.

- Buy new linens and pillows if necessary. Choose neutral colors.

- Buy air neutralizer. Spray it often.

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