The moment has finally arrived. The decision has been made, Realtors have been contacted, options have been chosen. You’ve finally agreed with all concerned that it’s time to sell your house.

So what do you do about the tricycle in the front yard?

“Move it to the back yard,” laughs neighborhood Realtor Ron Burch. “The main thing I tell my clients who want to sell their house is that the first drive up is so important. It’s true what they say about first impressions: People never forget them.”

Burch, who works with Coldwell Banker in Lakewood, isn’t alone in his assessment. Talk to real estate professional, and all agree that curb appeal – what your house looks like from the street – plays a key role in selling a home quickly and for a good price.

There are three areas, they say, that neighborhood homeowners should keep in mind while preparing to sell their home.

Put a good front on it

The first thing prospective buyers see isn’t jus the front yard, which needs to be wellgroomed and free of clutter, but the entire front of the house. Are the windows clean? Are the areas around the windows caulked and tight? Does the door fit neatly into the frame? Is it bright and clean? Is the paint on the front of the house chipped?

“That first appearance  is the most important thing after pricing,” says Scott Carlson, who owns Scott Carlson Real Estate. “It’s like the buyer is a critic, and you’re putting on a Broadway show. You want them to leave with a great feeling.”

Size matters

One of the most common ways for sellers to turn a nice-sized house into one that seems too small is to leave their junk lying around. Burch says buyers like to see airy rooms and big closets.

He suggests cleaning out the closets and rearranging the remaining items so that the space looks as big as (or bigger than) it is. And if your rooms seem to have too much furniture in them, consider renting a storage locker and moving some of the extra pieces there until the house is sold.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

A basic premise, but it’s one that often is overlooked in the hustle and bustle of selling a home and buying a new one. Some areas are obvious, but some don’t get enough attention.

One of those is bathrooms. A new stripe of caulking on a tub makes a world of difference as does cleaning any mildew from the walls. And don’t overlook countertops, which often become stained or chipped, and dirty toilets, which can quickly make a buyer look elsewhere.

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