Get the Place in Shape

Walk through every room of your home and make a list of everything that needs to be done. During your inspection, jot down problems and note what can be done to make each room attractive. Taking down dark curtains and opening a room to sunlight may change its character completely. So can repainting.

You can't anticipate what will catch the attention of a prospective buyer. Plaster walls and a new furnace may hardly elicit a comment—but the cracked toilet-tank top, that's another story. A buyer may spend hours assessing the heating and plumbing systems and apparently ignore the fresh paint, refinished floors and brand-new windows.

Use the inspection guide on pages 288 and 289 to see your home as buyers might.

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