Thursday, October 16, 2008

Making a House Look Like a Home

Make an empty home look more inviting:

•Clean. Top to bottom. A fresh coast of paint will do wonders. Clean or replace the carpeting, redo the wood floors. Wash the windows, appliances and bathrooms.

• Spruce up the exterior. Trim the shrubs, throw down new mulch and paint the front door. Hire a lawn service to keep the grass mowed.

•Power up. Keep the juice on so the air conditioning keeps the place cool—or the furnace keeps it warm,, depending on the season. Visitors will need to turn the lights on if they tour at night.

•Window treatments. Keep them up. And clean them too.

•House sitters. Consider using a firm that places people and their furnishings in house. These folks agree to keep the place clean, show the house on a moment's notice and move out within 30 days.

• Experienced agent. Make sure that your agent has experience selling empty houses. Maybe the agent has some extra furniture he can put into your former home to make it look more enticing.

•Leave-behinds. If any room in the house has no ceiling fixture, leave a small lamp plugged into the wall so it can be seen at night.

•Leave appliance manuals on the kitchen counter. If you don't have them, order them. Also leave a list of your last 12 months' utility payments for visitors to view. Another idea: photos of how the place looked furnished.

•Security. Consider installing some type of alarm system. At the very least, put your lights on a timer. Also, notify your insurer that the house is going to be empty and ask what steps need to be taken to keep your coverage in force.


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