Professor Van Helsing approaches the house with trepidation- the lone light is from the moon and even that scarcely illuminates the entry way- he wonders what horrors are hidden in the shadows…

A potential buyer for Count Dracula’s castle might also question what is tucked in the dark corners and hallways of the eerie abode.

Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, and Hollywood horror-movie directors of old understood the impact proper lighting has on a situation. A multitude of horrible-or dirty, dangerous, unsightly, disgusting-surprises can be lurking about, waiting for the most opportune time to make their presence known.

But while Van Helsing overcame his fears and entered the castle despite them, potential home buyers may not make it past the unlit foyer, no matter how attractive it is. If buyers can’t SEE it, they can’t love it. Even worse, they can fear the unseen, and quite possibly insignificant qualities, and become uneasy in a home that may be just perfect for them.

Lighting can be a relatively inexpensive but effective way to highlight the positive qualities of your home or downplay areas that are less attractive.

The most desirable and inexpensive lighting is natural sunlight. The easiest way to capitalize on this natural resource is to show your home during the daytime when the sun is shining brightly, throwing open blinds or shades, and decluttering windowsills and washing panes to allow light inside. This is also a good time to move Aunt Gerties’s antique walnut wardrobe away from the window. To do its job, light needs to enter a room unhindered.

Unless your window overlooks a neighbor’s collection of rusting cars or a grimy, graffiti ridden wall of the building next door, it is good to keep curtains open when showing your home. It makes the room look bigger and more inviting. If the view is less than attractive, hang sheer curtains over the window that will allow some light in while subtly distracting the buyer’s attention from the unsightly scene.

If the house is dark with few or very narrow windows, take heart. A trip to your local home improvement store can lighten things up quickly. Even naturally lit houses can benefit from the addition of appropriate electric lighting.

Begin by slowly walking through your house, taking special care to flip all switches and look at each light fixture and lamp. Are there burnt-out bulbs that need to be replaced? Keep a list of all the size bulbs you need to purchase.

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Light Is For The Living (Cont.)

Do shades or domes have dead insects or dust in them? Clean them and see how much brighter the room looks. Are there scratches, dents, dings or tarnish on fixtures? If they can’t be buffed or cleaned, consider replacing them. If fixtures need to be replaced, consider your target buyer and the style of your house when choosing the replacements. For example, if the architecture and furnishings of your home were traditional, modern style fixtures of polished gunmetal would look inappropriate. Or if you are targeting younger buyers, the original circa 1970 pea green mod-style hanging lamp may need to go

When the shower and bathtub have been overhauled, top off your repairs with a new, crisp shower curtain or liner in a neutral color.

Take a good look at the ceiling and walls. Do you see any mold, mildew, finger prints or grime? If so, scrub it with bleach. Cracking or curling paint should be scraped and repainted in a neutral color.

A rule of thumb: Place only three items on the vanity area. Many real estate experts suggest these include potpourri, a new or clean filled soap dispenser and a plant. It is a good idea to keep the toilet tank top cleared as prospective buyers and inspectors may want to peek inside it.

After the big clean-up and repair job in the bathroom, it is important to maintain the fresh smell and appearance each day the house is on the market.

The space should be kept uncluttered, clean and sanitized. It should reflect well on the house of which it is a part and offer few glimpses of the personalities who currently live there.

At this point, a homeowner enters the sprucing-up stage. After cleaning every nook and cranny in the bathroom, it is time to add the finishing touches. All dirty towels and wash cloths, bath mats and robes should be removed. A clean set of towels should be displayed before the house is shown.

Trash baskets should be emptied and floors wiped daily. All personal grooming items-tooth brushes, make-up, combs and brushes, hair dryers, perfume, etc.- should be tucked away, preferably in a container and stored in a drawer or cabinet.

How To Avoid The Most Expensive Mistakes Smart People Make When They Sell A Home…

Mistake #2:
Failing to “Show-Case” their home.

First impressions are the most important. Experience shows that for every $100 in repairs that your home needs, a buyer will deduct $300-$500 from their offer. Thoroughly clean and prepare your home before you put it on the market if you want top dollar.

  • If you have more than two cars in your driveway, park the extra vehicles at a neighbor’s house. This will give your driveway and yard a spacious look.
  • Oil and rust stains can be removed from concrete with commercial driveway cleaners that are available from automotive and home improvement stores.
  • The basement needn’t be spotless, but change light bulbs and clear cobwebs before showing the house.
  • Change air conditioning and furnace filters so the units will run efficiently.
  • If your washer and dryer are in the basement, create a cozy laundry area by adding an area rug and shelves to store detergent bottles.
  • Check for termites by using a pocketknife to jab the support beams near the house foundation. If the knife penetrates the wood easily, then there could be a termite problem.

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