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  by Paul Grunlerder

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  Making Houses for Sale Look Like Homes

Are any of your houses for sale out there? If so, beware the appraiser! Appraisers not only use objective criteria for evaluating houses (i.e. location, structural integrity, they also use subjective criteria (i.e. landscape, paint, overall appearance).

Buyers depend on appraisers and inspectors, as a rule, to check out construction details but tend to rely on their own feelings and impressions of how houses look and feel to make their buying decisions. Five tips for positively influencing those decisions with ease follow.

1. Houses that are clean and clutter-free are more attractive than houses that are not. Many of us, who live with clutter, lose sight of that fact. Others of us live with clutter because we believe ourselves too busy to tidy things up on a regular basis. If you find managing clutter to be overwhelming, check your bookstore or library for great resources on how to eliminate the overwhelm in clutter management.

2. Stinky houses are gross! You may not notice the odor of last night's fish feast or the pile of athletic socks fermenting in the laundry, but guests will. Try two things to help this. First, keep your houses clean and clutter-free (see above). Second, use potpourri lamps, scented candles, or a realtors favorite: Place a drop of vanilla extract on foil or a baking sheet and stick it in the oven on low heat for a wonderful household scent. Make sure you're not hungry if you do that last one!

3. Look at your floor spaces. Do you feel cramped as you move about your houses? If so, experiment with your furniture arrangement and see if that helps create more floor space. More floor space equals a more comfortable living space.
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