|IF YOU ARE SELLING YOUR HOME . . .
You want to put the best face forward. With some elbow grease and not a whole lot of dough, you can spiff up your house and improve its chance for being sold.
On the outside
A good exercise is to pretend that you've never seen the house before and look at it from the prospective buyer's eyes. Slowly drive by the front of the house; see if it catches your eye, and notice any problems. The following ideas are recommended
* Make sure the yard is clean, mowed and edged. Trim hedges and shrubs.
* Spiff up the flower beds if necessary by replacing faded and shriveled annuals with fresh ones. You don't need to go overboard and spend a lot of money.
* Touch up peeling or cracking exterior paint. If there's a lot of dirt or dust on your exterior, get a spray nozzle for your
garden hose and wash it off.
* If there are screens on your windows, they should all be in good condition. If you have any broken screens, it's better to remove them and store them in the garage.
* Make sure hardware on the front door is cleaned and polished. See that the door opens and closes without sticking in the frame; if it does, plane or sand down the sticking edges.
On the inside
Now that the prospective buyer is parked at the curb and jotting down our phone number, here's what to do with the interior of the house.
" Clean, clean, clean; vacuum, vacuum, vacuum, and dust, dust, dust. Make sure everything's spotless: sinks, counter tops, windows, floors, walls, doors, bathtubs, tile, light fixtures, light switch plates, cabinets and shelves. Have you forgotten anything?
" Thin out your closets and tidy up. A full closet looks smaller, no matter how big it actually is. Box up out-of-season
clothes and some of those shoes on the floor and store them in the attic. If the closets smell moldy or musty, put an air freshener in there.
" Open all the heavy drapes and let the light in. Open up mini blinds. Dark rooms look smaller and are less inviting.
" Make sure all light fixtures have bulbs that work. If you have noticed that your house is going to be shown, turn on a light fixture in each room.
" Replace broken electrical outlet plates and light switch plates.
" Inspect your walls and trim for cracks and dingy paint. Caulk and paint areas that need touch-up. Take off rusted air-conditioning vents, spray paint them and remount.
" Eliminate clutter in kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
" Check drawer pulls and cabinet knobs to make sure they match room by room. Replace any that are damaged or mismatched.
" Repair leaky faucets. Make sure the toilets flush properly and replace sticky levers.
" Don't clutter your kitchen and bathroom counters. Put out potpourri or fresh flowers in the bathrooms or bake something fresh to give your kitchen and home a warm and friendly atmosphere.