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Three new year's resolutions for home sellers

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Keywords: Human Hand, Mortgage Document, Residential Structure, House, Real Estate Agent, Real Estate, Moving House ( iStock) For Jessica Randklev. ltc Credit: ISTOCK/iStock

Planning to sell a home in 2011? Put these resolutions on the top of your list – right above “lose weight” and “get in shape.”

Resolution 1: Face the facts

You’ve got competition coming at you from both directions: Many Long Island neighborhoods have foreclosed homes on the market for a steep discount – and you’ve only got about three months before spring and all the shiny new inventory that comes with it. That makes the beginning of the year a sort of sweet spot for selling. Foreclosures are cheaper, but they’re hard to sell in the winter because they are often cold and dusty inside. Bump your thermostat up a notch and plug in a room freshener by the door before a showing, suggests Cyndi Sheppard of Re/Max Alliance – a home that’s warm, sweet smelling and clean will really stand out against those troubled sales. And price it attractively for a quicker sale, she says. “Why wait till March when there’s going to be more competition? Have it sold by March.”

Resolution 2: Clean up your act

“Before you put your Christmas decorations back, clean the attic and the basement. Make room, because there will be an engineer coming when you sell,” says Sheppard. “Use the first two weeks in January to clean up your house inside and out … Pack up the knickknacks, clean the closets, paint your rooms, maybe paint the inside of the closet,” she says. “Donate to Goodwill anything you’re not taking when you move.” Depersonalize and de-clutter as much as possible. “If you don’t want it, somebody else is not going to want it either,” she says. “And don’t neglect the outside just because it’s winter,” she adds. “Get out there with a leaf blower on a nice day, and keep the walkways free of ice.”

Resolution 3: Invest in the extras

You don’t have to remodel your kitchen, but don’t skimp on minor investments that can have a major impact on your home’s marketability, such as a home staging service and a professional photo shoot. “For as little $250 -- $50 a room -- they can go over the whole house and spend two hours telling the homeowner what to do. They can decide whether to do it themselves, or part of it. Usually a stager will work very closely with what is already in the home,” says Lynne Kleinman of Accent Home Staging and Organizing. “I liken it to going to a job interview,” says Kleinman’s partner Ellen Blank. “You wear your best outfit. You invested in that suit for the job interview. You make sure you are making a good impression, and that’s exactly what your house has to do.”

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