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It goes without saying that you want your home to shine when prospective buyers view your home. Yet you’d be surprised how many sellers skimp on this important step in the home-selling process. Here are six keys to unlocking maximum appeal.

Clean house inside and out. Not only should the regular mopping and dusting be done, but the outside of the house must be sparkling, too. Either hire a professional or rent the proper tools to get the job done. Sidewalks, fencing and masonry should be powerwashed. Windows must be cleaned inside and out so you can throw open the curtains and pull up the blinds to let in all that natural light. Remove window screens and store them in the garage for an even brighter look. Don’t forget to do a thorough cleaning of everything, especially the kitchens and baths.

Manicure the lawn and flowerbeds. Keep the yard mowed and trimmed, the weeds pulled and bushes trimmed. Make sure to keep up the regular lawn maintenance until the time of closing.

Fix what’s broken.  Don’t let an overall appearance of indifference to repairs cloud your buyer’s thinking. They may wonder what expensive major components may need fixing as well. Obvious repairs that have been neglected are also distracting and unattractive. Even something as simple as a burned out light bulb should be replaced.  A buyer may think it is a sign of an underlying electrical problem.

Paint.  Peeling paint is an eyesore, especially outside. Either hire it out or do it yourself. One focal point is the front door. You’ve heard of “drive-up appeal?” There’s also “walk-up appeal,” meaning the buyer’s first impression at the front door.  A well-painted or stained entry door is warm and inviting. Flowers in a planter by the door add color.

Declutter. Systematically go through each room in your home and remove extra furniture, decor and belongings. Sell, donate or trash what you don’t regularly use or need.  If your home is still too crowded to effectively show, box up and store those items you’ll need for your new place.

Have the house “staged.” A professional stager will rearrange your furniture, accessories and artwork to create a comfortable space that appeals to homebuyers looking in your price range. Most stagers will work with your existing belongings, adding (and subtracting) pieces as necessary. Remember, a more appealing house commands a better price.