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For Sale by Owner Articles • Owners.com - How to Prepare a Home to Sell

First Impressions Matter

"Curb appeal," the impression the exterior of your home conveys, is the first thing a prospective buyer sees.
Studies show that 50 percent of the purchase decisions are actually made during the first 60 seconds while the buyer is coming up the walk. If you've got to scrimp somewhere on getting your home ready for sale, pinch pennies inside. You want to be sure a buyer's first impression compels him or her to take a further look inside.
Follow as many of these suggestions as possible for the best curb appeal you can create.
Put on a happy face 
Paint your house, or hire someone to do the job. The cost will be more than worth it. If you really can't afford the to paint, hosing it off and painting the highlight features of your home, such as front door, trim, shutters, gutters, down spouts and railings will help uplift the facade. Add flower boxes with blooming flowers.
Make a grand entrance 
Clean the front porch or entryway. If your current door is outdated, add a fresh looking front door that opens smoothly. Clean windows. Fix broken, screens and shutters. Polish door handles, door knockers, lighting fixtures. Replace worn or broken items, such as an unsightly mailbox or rusty doorbell. Add a new gate and new house numbers. Be sure porch lights are working and turned on. Fix any broken or wobbly steps. Add a new welcome mat.
Police the grounds
Weed flower beds and replace dead plants and trees. Mow and edge the lawns, trim shrubbery and prune the trees. Cut back outdoor plants that restrict natural light flowing into the home. What you are after is tidy, simple landscaping. Re-landscaping probably isn't necessary, but a well-maintained, healthy looking yard is essential. Well-manicured landscaping adds warmth, character and spirituality to your home. Fertilize and water the lawn and plants thoroughly long before putting the house on the market so the landscaping is well established. Put in some new flowers to add splashes of attention grabbing colors.
The Driveway 
Clean up grease or oil, spills, spots and splashes on concrete and asphalt surfaces. Make sure the garage door opens freely and the automatic garage door opener is working. Provide an unobstructed view of your home from the street by not parking cars, boats or other vehicles in the driveway. Keep walkways, foot paths and other lanes of pedestrian travel clear. Repave areas that are broken or damaged. Turn on the security lights - even in the daytime.
Look high 
Remove debris from the roof and gutters such as tree branches and leaves. Clean, paint, and align gutters and downspouts as needed. Untangle or remove, cable, telephone or other exposed wiring. Make any necessary repairs to worn shingles or cracked surfaces. Inspect and clean chimney. Replace or repair loose shingles.
Look low
Check the foundation for cracks and make necessary repairs.
Don't get decked by the patio 
Flowering plants and outdoor furniture add appeal. Remove any unnecessary items such as gardening equipment. Clean any visible items, such as an outdoor grill or barbecue. Repair cracks, missing slats, enclosures and screens.
Get in the swim of things 
Swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, outdoor showers, fountains and their pumps and filters should be clean and operating smoothly. Ensure that the sprinkler systems and outdoor faucets are working properly too. Clean out ponds.

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