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Ten must-do improvements for resale


1. Reduce the clutter: Sort through closets, cupboards and storage areas. Toss what you can; organize the rest. If your rooms are filled to excess, put some pieces of furnitures in storage while you sell your house. Park campers, boats or extra vehicles at another location.

2. Clean: not only should your home be spotless, it must smell clean. Apply elbow grease and strong cleaners to surfaces inside and outside your home. Hire a professional to shampoo carpets. Be especially aware of household odors caused by smoking.

3. Paint: Light neutral colors have a broader appeal and can make small rooms seem larger and airier. If you have wild or dated wallpaper, remove the p aper and paint the walls. Choose premium-quality paint. Fill nail holes and caulk before painting.

4. Make minor repairs: Tighten loose knobs, fix leaky faucets, lubricate squeaky hinges, clean out clogged drains, replace dirty filters, secure loose shingles, fix holes in screens, replace broken panes and remove stains.

5. Repair a leaky roof: One tiny water stain on the ceiling will cause buyers to question the entire roof. Fix the source of the leak, then repair any damage to the ceiling.

6. Repair a wet basement: Easy to fix as installing covers over window wells or attaching drain spouts. If the problem calls for more extensive repairs and you are not able to make them, be prepared to explain the problem to a buyer. Never try to hide the signs of a wet basement.

7. Exterminate: One bug, dead or alive, can make a bad impression on a buyer. Call in a professional to rid your home of insects such as termites, ants, wasps and cockroaches.

8. Organize the kitchen: Clean off the counters, add drawer organizers to suggest efficent use of space. Store seldom used small appliances and large baking pans.

9. Update the bath: If cleaning and painting can't overpower a dingy bath, consider replacing the vanity and sink, installing a new floor covering, or resurfacing a stained bathtub.

10. Dress up the front entrance: A coat of paint on the door, brass accents, a doorknob or kick plate can help. Prune bushes and shurbs to give that great first impression.

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