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Based on the book: 

Got a Spring House Sale in Mind?

In the world of real estate, spring is the season of selling. Many families base their moves around the school season and begin their house-hunting as the winter recedes. If you are planning on moving to a larger or smaller home, or plan on making a move to another city, the next few weeks are your goldmine for preparation.

Many people ask me...."Should we just put our home on the market while we get things ready?" No. No. And No. Here is the issue. Once your home has hit the market, it is a known entity. People who are interested in your home will catalogue it the first way they encounter it. I am often called in when a house isn't selling. Although staging helps the situation greatly, it is nearly impossible to get people who saw the house before it was staged to revisit it. It has already gotten an X on the list fo potential homes. It may do better with people who come into the game after the staging but picking up the earlier potential buyers may not happen.

Remember too that it is an INTERNET DRIVEN EXPERIENCE. Gone are the days that realtors drove clients house to house with no prior knowledge. With the rash of available online real estate apps, clients give lists to their realtors, based on what they see online. So how do you score an online date for your house?

1. Create clean, clutter-free spaces. Your house should look like a magazine....beautiful light, few non-essential items, updated colors...essentially each photo should be warm, welcoming, and inviting.

2. Update what you can afford to update. Lighting, faucets, window treatments, cabinet hardware, and rugs are easy to switch out and can often update a room significantly.

3. Neutralize your color palette. Be sure your walls are not too strident for the average buyer. Paint is an easy weekend fix and can make or break a sale. Bedding should be solid, neutral colors with just a punch of accent in the throw pillows or duvet.

4. FIX EVERYTHING. Last week, my husband and I looked at a waterfront home we had been watching. There were so many things that needed doing (porch rails, porch steps, dock stairs, peeling paint) that we were afraid of the things that we could NOT see. Don't give buyers a chance to worry. Fix every knob, handle, faucet...paint every scratch, take down warped blinds....fix fix fix.

5. Create a beautiful entryway outdoors. The first view of your home occurs from inside the buyer's car. Really look at the entryway. Is the grass trimmed? Bushes trimmed? Does it beckon you to come indoors? Do everything you can to create a vision for potential buyers that allows them to envision your home as the place they want their friends to visit.

If this seems overwhelming or you aren't exactly sure of what to prioritize? Hire me. For 150.00 I will come and do a walk-through of your home and give you a detailed written plan on what you can do between now and selling time to create the best seller experience for your home. After that? You can decide if you'd like to tackle the list of suggestions by yourself or hire me to do it for you. It's as easy as that. But whatever way you choose to go? If you are planning on selling, start the preparation process NOW.

Laurie Easterlin is a home stager and professional Masters preparation specialist. To learn more about her services, please visit:

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