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Based on the book: 

A Home is like a Marriage

Those of us who have been married a long time know that keeping the partnership moving along is not magic. You have to continue to put something in in order to keep it moving forward. You don't get married and just automatically sail successfully forward. The same goes for home ownership.

As a realtor, clients are sometimes shocked to find that the home they have had for many years and kept in very good order is not going to go for top price in their neighborhood..because they have not put the regular updating into it. They bought it, life got busy, the old stove still worked and who cares? Well. the resale market cares.

What should you be doing?

1. Paint. Cycle through rooms. Keeping paint fresh and updated is a must. Try not to do extremely strong colors unless you plan to paint over them before putting your home on the market. I always suggest using strong colors in accessories like pillows, curtains, bedspreads, things that are easily changed.

2. Keep the kitchen updated. One of the MOST requested things for buyers is an updated kitchen. Currently buyers want stainless appliances and solid countertops. If you know you may sell in a year or two, budgeting for that update is important.

3. Bathrooms should be updated over the years. Keep them looking fresh. An easy bathroom update is to add interesting faucets and mirrors. I had a client with brass-trimmed shower doors and brass fittings. To make her house look instantly current, we ordered very modern faucets and mirrors.

4. Wash and paint the exterior. I had a client this week who pressure washed his home to ready it for market. He wished he'd done it while he still lived there. Pressure washing is a great "car wash for your house". Do that first and then touch up any paint that is peeling or fading.

5. Watch interior trends to see what is outdated. Last week, my blog dealt with things which instantly age a home. Window treatments are a dead giveaway that a home might not be updated. Today's buyers are looking for bright open rooms without valances or overly ornate window coverings.

6. Keep things in excellent working order. There are so many items that aren't fun to redo. But keeping a roof in order, AC working, hot water heaters, etc...are important. All of those things list on the MLS with their exact age, right where the buyer can see them. So keeping the systems going and updated are important.

Consider your home an investment. Keep it in great order and try to budget for tackling a room or two per year to get a little extra dose of attention. When you go to sell? You'll be much happier that YOUR family had some years to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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

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