Create a pleasant smell
Pet smells or musty basements are bad enough in cooler temperatures, but summer heat can make them unbearable.

So make sure you remove things such as kitty litter regularly, and consider relocating your pets for a while if that's what it takes to keep your home smelling clean.

If you tend to have a damp or musty basement, clean it with bleach to remove mold and mildew before putting the home on the market. Then use dehumifiers to keep everything dry.

Knapp also suggests giving a house a "homey" smell by baking a pie in the oven when you know house hunters are on the way.

If the idea of cooking during hot summer days turns you off, you can actually buy sprays, essential oils and scented candles that smell like apple or cherry pie.

Water the front lawn
High water costs and summertime sprinkler bans can make green grass hard to come by this time of year, but Knapp says you should keep your front landscaping looking good to maximize curb appeal.


"Try to keep the front yard as green as possible -- but you can forget about the backyard if you have to," he says. "Most buyers are astute enough to know that if all of the backyards up and down the street are brown, there really isn't a problem if yours is, too."

Have a clean front door and windows
A nice front door makes a great first impression, but keeping one clean takes extra effort during the summer pollen season.

Knapp recommends cleaning the front door at least once a week to keep it pollen free.

Also thoroughly clean all windows inside and out before you put your home on the market. Then check the windows periodically throughout the summer to make sure they still sparkle.

Provide school information
Most schools are closed during the summer, but school boards, superintendents and other top people typically work year-round and can provide tours or answer house hunters' questions.

Knapp suggests leaving brochures and contact information for all nearby public and private schools on a table in your home where would-be buyers can see them.

Go away
Summer vacation or not, all occupants -- including kids -- must clear out of the home any time would-be buyers drop by.

"You need to pack your kids up and go out for ice cream whenever a buyer is coming," Knapp says. "You have to give the buyer and the real estate agent free rein of the house. A lot of buyers will feel very uncomfortable looking at a home if the seller is there."

Declutter
Regardless of when you put your home on the market, Knapp recommends throwing out, giving away or storing off-site as many things as possible to make your home's rooms and closets look spacious and clean.

You also want to "depersonalize" your house by removing offbeat furnishings and taking down most family photos.

After all, would-be buyers want to imagine what your home will look like with their stuff in it -- not yours.

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