Start by airing out the home.  You are the last person to notice any peculiar odor in your home that may be blatantly obvious to visitors.  Go on a search to find the offender.  It may be a kitty litter box or a dog bed.  It might even be a mildewed shower.


Next, wash all the windows in the house, inside and out.  While you are at it, clean the window sills and the bottom of the window jambs, and wash the blinds.  If it has been over a year since you have had the carpets cleaned, now is the time to do it.  The bare floors should also be waxed or polished.


Put bright light bulbs in every socket made for a bulb.  Buyers like bright and cheery, so you have to keep it from looking like a dungeon.  You will also want to keep the drapes and shades open during the day, even if you are not in the habit, because it will make the property look better.


The next item on the required list, is to clean out the garage, the basement and all of the closets and cabinets.  Get rid of things you haven’t used in the past five years and pack up everything that you haven’t used in the last year.  My motto is “When in Doubt – Throw it Out!”  Do it without conscience or remorse.  The main reason is that it will make everything look larger.  Surely, you don’t want to pay a mover to haul things you never use.


Closets should look as if they have enough room to hold additional items.  You might need to box up off-season clothes to make it look that way.  Get everything off the floor and don’t have the shelves piled to the ceiling.


Another basic requirement for home preparation is to be sure there is not too much furniture in a room.  Even though it may be inconvenient, you will be far better off by selecting the pieces that look best and putting the others in the garage, basement, or better yet, in storage.  You can rent a storage unit for a few dollars a month.


You need to go over the kitchen like a health inspector.  Clean the oven and keep it that way, even if it means eating out more often. After cleaning the range, put new drip pans under the burners, or at least, cover the old ones with foil.  Clean around the seal of the  door to the dishwasher.  Remove everything off of the counter except for those  absolutely necessary items. 


Bath tubs, showers and sinks should be freshly caulked.  All the grout should be clean and in good condition.  There should be no leaks in the faucets or traps.  Put fresh or new towels out in the bathrooms and replace the shower curtain, if needed.


Keep children’s toys out of the front yard and off the sidewalks and front porch.  Get the children to understand the importance of keeping the house looking good while it is on the market.  Take down any posters until the house is sold.


Recognize the difference between decorator touches and clutter.  Less is definitely better.


Clean the ashes out of the fireplace during the season that it isn’t being used.


Keep the television turned off while the home is being shown.


Go over the woodwork with a polish or cleaner.  It brightens the wood and covers scratches.


If you don’t have time for a garage sale, consider donating items to charity.  Make a list of all the items and their estimated value, and be sure to get a receipt.  The donation is tax deductible and may be worth more to you than the time and effort you would put into a garage sale.


A final note...Having your home on the market can be a very stressful and trying time.  Please keep in mind the importance of preparing your home for sale, and keeping it in “Showtime” condition.  Think of it as “MONEY IN YOUR POCKET” because that is what it literally is.  The better you have your home staged for showing, the more money it will command from a prospective buyer and in a shorter period of time.  The better prepared everything is, the quicker it will sell.


Many of my customers have each member of the family assigned to a “get ready” task for when an RealtorÒ calls for a showing.  That way you won’t all be doing the same things to get ready.


I know all of this work will be hard and just plain boring...IT WILL PAY OFF IN DOLLARS.