4. GOOD LIGHTING IS ESSENTIAL.
Your home may appear darker due to less daylight. Fight the gloom. Turn on all the lights possible for visitors — this is no time to worry about the electric bill. Open blinds, drapes and shutters to let natural light pour in. Make sure to clean any grime off the windows first.
Encourage showings during high-daylight hours. Showing after work in the dark isn't a great idea. Make sure you have enough outside illumination for drive-by visitors in the evening, however. And keep the place well-lit even when you're not there.
5. TASTEFUL HOLIDAY DECORATIONS CAN HELP.
The holidays give you an extra chance to make your home stand out. Keep decorations conservative and don't overdo it on outdoor lighting. You don't want to put 25,000 lights on the roof like Clark Griswold in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." As sure as he blacked out the neighborhood, you would scare off buyers. But a big red bow on the For Sale sign and some holiday greenery, twinkling lights and elegant decorations inside can help give buyers a dose of seasonal cheer.
When Christmas and Hanukkah are over, you can keep the spirit alive. A colorful winter wreath on the front door and colorful poinsettias and holly bushes in the yard will help retain a festive look for January and February, when more house-shoppers start to turn up.
Personal Finance Writer Dave Carpenter can be reached at http://twitter.com/scribblerdave .
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