1. 1. Take the home out of the house.  Remove your family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes.  You want potential buyers to focus on your home not your stuff.

  1. 2. The kitchen comes first.  Kitchens can make or break a sale.  Consider updating yours before you put your home on the market.  To make the kitchen look fresh without draining the bank consider adding a fresh coat of neutral paint and new hardware to dated cabinets.

  1. 3. Light it up.  Maximize the light in your home.  After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home.  Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let the sun shine in.

  1. 4. Half-empty the closets.  Storage sells, but packed closets makes it look like your home doesn’t have much.  Showcase your closets by taking half of your belongings out then neatly organizing what remains.  Think of it as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.  Another nice touch is to swap out cheap plastic hangers for wooden ones, as they give a high-end look to closets.

  1. 5. Make it sparkle.  Wash windows inside and out.  Rent a pressure washer and spay down sidewalks and the exterior of your home.  Clean out cobwebs.  Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.  Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.  Wax floors and vacuum daily.  Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.  Bleach dingy grout.  Replace worn rugs.  Hang up fresh bathroom towels. Clean and air out any musty smelling areas - odors are a no-no.

  1. 6. Step back and scrutinize.  Go outside and open your front door.  Stand there, do you want to go inside?  Does the house welcome you?  Linger in the doorway of every room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.  Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.  Tune in to the room’s statement and its emotional pull.  Does it have impact and pizzazz?  Does it look like nobody lives in this house?  You’re almost finished.

  1. 7. Check Curb Appeal.  If a buyer doesn’t like the outside of your home you’ll never get them inside.  Keep the sidewalks cleared.  Mow the lawn.  Paint faded window trim.  Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together.  Yellow evokes a buying emotion.  Marigolds are inexpensive.  Trim your bushes.  Make sure visitors can clearly read your house numbers.

  1. 8. And finally Let Go.  Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house - a product to be sold.”  Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the the fact that  soon this house will no longer be yours.  Picture yourself handing over the keys to the new owner.  Say goodbye to every room.  Don’t look backwards -- look toward the future.

The First Impression is the Only Impression