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So you want to sell your house? First things first...

#1. Hire an excellent realtor.

Make sure they know the area, have successfully sold homes in the past, and check out their past reviews. Obviously, if you want the very best, you'll hire me. But if you live elsewhere, do your research. I contract the best professional photographers, copywriters, and marketers to ensure I have done every single thing possible to move your home quickly and at the best price.

#2. Cut the clutter.

I don't just mean the piles of junk or stacks of books you plan to read. I mean, everything that makes the room feel full. Whisk away the cumbersome coffee table, the cute bookshelf full of your travel knickknacks, the extra end tables, and the chair that just barely fits in the corner.

Take everything off the kitchen counters except the coffee maker (life giving staple) and remove all personal photographs. It will make the rooms look bigger and brighter.

Potential buyers want to imagine they live there, which is harder to do when your face is decorating the walls and tables.

#3. Light it up.

A variety of lighting creates a warm, cheerful, feeling. Change all your lightbulbs to the brightest wattage allowable (LED lights are excellent energy savers). Don't depend only on overhead lights. Beautiful ambiance comes from lighting on different levels so when you de-clutter, keep the lamps out.

#4. Paint it pretty. Keep it simple.

The red accent wall may have been perfect for your Mediterranean design, but potential buyers will better receive a nice neutral paint color throughout. Not everyone is visual and not everyone can use their imagination well. A neutral taupe is like a blank canvas where one's imagination can run wild. A few hundred dollars in paint can make a big difference in how long it takes to sell.

#5. Fix and replace the simple things.

Does the toilet seat have a crack in it? Replace it! Is a light switch cover loose? Tighten it! Is a shower head covered in lime & calcium? Clean it or replace it. Is a window missing a curtain? Hang one up. Is a window screen ripped? Replace is.

You get the idea. These small improvements set the tone for the overall shape of the house. Potential buyers think to themselves, "If they couldn't even bother replacing a ripped window screen, I wonder what other maintenance fell to the wayside?"

#6. Curb appeal is key.

It's hard to get past the initial judgment, so curb appeal is everything. Trim it, shape it, edge it, mulch it. Buy some flowers, paint the door, clean away the cobwebs and power wash the driveway. Create something inviting. It will take a little manual labor but doesn't need to cost much. And getting potential buyers through the door is half the battle. Don't scare them away at the street.

#7. Say sayonara to the stink.

Don't forget to cater to the sense of smell. Rumor has it that the smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, so spray some lovely scents. Bake some cookies. Squeeze a lemon down the drain. Go ahead and assume your house smells like old fish, because you may be used to the scent and not even realize it's a little stinky.

#8. Farewell Fido.

Get rid of any trace of your beloved pets, including the kitty litter. The dog hair, cat hair, dog beds, dog toys - all of these things need to be out of sight. And of course, the animals should be completely out of the home for every showing, not just shut into a separate room or put outside.

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