The end of winter and the beginning of spring is the most popular time of year for people to offer their homes for sale, mainly because people want to relocate during the summer and not interfere with their children's school year. This article gives you helpful tips on what can be done to your home to make it show well and sell quickly. It is very important that your home makes a good first impression that lasts right to the settlement table. Even if you are not thinking of selling now, some of these ideas will help you maintain your home and keep it from getting run-down. The first thing you need to do is take an unbiased look at your home and see what needs to be done. The key is to put yourself into the buyer's shoes. This is very hard for someone to do for him/herself. It is always best to ask a close friend who has a good eye for detail to point out imperfections in your home. If you are the type of person who will get offended by your friend giving his/her opinion, it may be best to call in a professional home inspector who can point out these issues to you. A home inspector will take a look around your home and give you a list of any problems that should be repaired prior to offering your home for sale. More often than not, the problems can be resolved with lots of elbow grease and not necessarily lots of shekels. * Exterior: The first thing a potential buyer will see is the exterior of the home. It is important to have the lawn cut and shrubs trimmed. Toys, garden hoses, lawn tools, etc. should all be put away. The caulking around windows and door frames should be inspected and resealed if needed. The front door should be cleaned and perhaps even painted. If you live in an apartment, you may not have a lawn to take care of, but you should consider how the building looks in general and the hallway to your front door in particular. Often the building does not take care of the necessary maintenance and it may be necessary to paint the hallway outside your front door to give that first good impression. * Once you open the front door: The house should be clean and lighting should be good. Make sure the house smells fresh and clean. A fresh coat of paint is a good investment and should be done in a neutral tone. * Kitchen: Many buyers will judge your house by the way you keep your oven and stove. All appliances should be spotless and in perfect working condition. Replace or repair anything that sticks, squeaks or drips. Counter, cooking, cabinet and eating spaces should be kept open and uncluttered, without countertop appliances. I know the custom here in Israel is to take your appliances with you from home to home. However, you should reconsider this. Often the appliances are not worth taking with you as they would not fit into your new home. If the potential buyers do not have appliances, it certainly would be a great selling point if you would leave appliances intact. * Bathrooms: The sink, toilet, bathtub, tiles and even shower curtains should be immaculate. Fix leaky faucets - rust stains indicate faulty plumbing. Repair caulking and grouting and replace any missing tiles. Any mold should be cleaned and painted with an anti-mold paint. It is also helpful to use some potpourri for a pleasant scent. Here also I suggest people deviate from the typical custom. There is no need to totally strip the home of all the accessories. Consider leaving the toilet paper holder, towel rods, shower curtain rod, and medicine cabinets. A buyer who is told these things are being left will not only be grateful for having these items, but will be able to avoid the hassle of looking for replacements that will exactly match up to all the holes, especially in the ceramic tiles. * Living room, dining room and bedrooms: It would be helpful to get as much clutter out of the rooms as possible. A room without clutter makes the room appear larger. If any repairs are needed with the trisim or missing panelim these should be fixed. Additionally, if the room is in need of a paint job, it is worthwhile to repaint in a very neutral color. Finally, it would be nice to prepare a sheet with all the facts about your home. This would give the potential buyer all the information about your home that they can refer to after they leave. The fact sheet should contain photos, measurements of each room and a list of any appliances, furnishings and closets that will remain. Anything positive that you can do to help make your home stand out above the others will leave a very good impression that could make a potential buyer - become the buyer. Readers' tips and comments are always welcome! The authors can be reached at [email protected].