A few years ago, during the height of the housing bubble, any old shack could find a buyer. But now it can take a little ingenuity to make your house stand out.
Kate Hart, owner of Hart & Associates Staging and Design in Philadelphia, said once you put your house on the market, be sure to keep it in show-ready condition at all times.
Some other tips from Hart:
-Make a good first impression by improving the exterior. Fix anything that needs fixing and paint anything that needs painting. Polish door hardware to catch the eye of potential customers.
-To spruce up the kitchen without breaking the bank, repaint the cabinets. Hart recommends a semi-gloss espresso brown for a modern look or a semi-gloss creamy white if you want to go traditional.
-Replace the lighting, faucets and hardware in the bathroom.
-Add a headboard to make your bedroom pop. You can make one yourself with plywood, foam, batting and fabric.
-Everyone loves TV, but to highlight the architecture of your house, refocus your family room around the fireplace.
-De-clutter the dining room. Remove any item smaller than a softball.
-Remove family photos from the living room. Limit yourself to three items per surface to give the room a clean look.
Habitat for Humanity for the holidays
Habitat for Humanity has made gift-giving easy this holiday season.
Gift options range from making a donation to Habitat for Humanity in honor of a friend or loved one to purchasing items from the group's online store.
Habitat's Gift from the Heart (http://www.habitat.org/support/giftfromtheheart.aspx) program allows tax-deductible donations to be given in honor of a family member or friend. Gift from the Heart recipients will be notified with a card informing them that a family in need of simple, decent and affordable housing will benefit from a donation made in their honor.
Habitat's Gift Catalog (http://www.habitatgiftcatalog.com) allows users to honor loved ones by giving donation amounts based on the cost of typical items used to build a house. From construction tools and materials to rooms and whole houses, the gift catalog symbolizes what a donation can buy to help families in need.