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Make buyers fall for your house

Long Island has a beautiful fall, but with that beauty comes some pesky issues when you are trying to sell a house. Local real estate agents offer the following tips for presenting homes this time of the year:

n Have a gardener "put gardens to bed" for the season, suggests Barbara Bornstein of Sotheby's International Realty. Clear leaves from the lawns, decks and walkways. Don't use too many pumpkins, and forget about decorations. Display photos of the pool and garden areas that were taken in the spring and summer. If the house is vacant, leave the shades up.

n Burn a small pumpkin spice candle, says Tom McGiveron of Coldwell Banker Matherson. The yard should be manicured, trees pruned and leaves raked. Yard maintenance is key. People don't want to see tasks ahead of them when they look at a house to buy.

n If the home is in a development, clear away the leaves, says Dolores Peterson of Town & Country Real Estate. But if the home is part of a farm or if it is a quaint, old-fashioned neighborhood, then leave the leaves where they fall. They add character and color.

Say 'I do' at home

If you happen to be planning a family wedding, look no further. Listing agent Sal Ammirati of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate refers to the basement of the Centerport house - on the market for $799,000 - as "a catering hall." At a whopping 1,100 square feet, the space has a dance floor, a wet bar, a jukebox and separate men's and ladies' bathrooms.

One of the homeowners is a music teacher. In addition to conducting music lessons and annual recitals in the room, her two adult children had their weddings there. "When I first saw the room, I told the homeowner, 'This is like a church basement,' " Ammirati says.

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