By Mary Lynn Bruny

Along with spring, the start of the big home selling season is here. Thus I’d like to give homeowners some advice to help sell their properties quickly while maximizing profit. These are the things realtors want to say to you but are just too darn polite. They don’t want to offend you.

The main points: You can’t really see how your home actually looks. Assuming you don’t have a lot of hired help, your home is probably a bit more dirty and beat up than you think. And you probably have too much stuff to make it look as nice as it can to potential buyers. When we live in a place for a while we just kind of stop seeing it.

It’s like this crazy hair I used to have. In my 20s I had this one hair that grew from under my chin. (Got to love Italian genes.) But since my eyeballs are located so high on my head and I wasn’t looking for said hair, I never noticed it. My friends did. My acquaintances did. But nobody ever told me.

Then one day I had a first date with a young buck. He thought a fallen hair was sticking on my chin and went to remove it for me. Both he and I were surprised to learn it was actually attached. As you can imagine this was mortifying, and made even worse after I quizzed my friends and learned people noticed it.

The young man asked me out again but I declined. He could get over the hair thing but I could not. (What kind of guy chooses to go out with a witch?) And obviously decades later I haven’t forgotten it. (Perhaps writing about it to thousands of people doesn’t help.)

But my point is this: You often can’t see what’s right in front of you. And this includes your home. To make your home as attractive as possible when selling, chances are you need to do these things:

Deep clean
Baseboards, doors, windowsills, cupboards, closets, windows, carpets. Maybe even your upholstered furniture if it’s full of yucky stains. Most of us live in a bit of filth and don’t even notice it. It’s our filth; it’s cozy filth.

Touch-up paint/wood
Baseboards, doors, wood floors and your own wood furniture. If your house has a gazillion rooms all painted unrelated colors (which causes seizures for potential buyers), consider painting it one light color.

Replace worn out/ugly/dated items
Like beat up hardware and light fixtures (unless they are antique). Replace bedraggled bedding and towels you’ve had since the Clinton administration. (I know they’re soft. Pack them up for later.) If your carpet looks like its best days were when disco was in the first time, consider replacing it. Remove heavy window valances from the 90s. Someday they might be back in style but not today.

Reduce/replace accessories
Pack up most of them, especially the dated ones. The look you’re going for is “nice hotel” – very sterile and neat. Buy a few new trendy things to freshen things up and make your place look like it’s 2021 and not 1991 (or 1971).

Spruce up yard
Invest in some natural colored mulch (not that heinous fake-looking orange stuff) and trim back overgrown foliage. Put some inviting potted plants out front. Water your grass well.

When in doubt of what to do, ask your realtor. They’ll very nicely give you advice. Don’t take their suggestions personally. It’s not like they’re saying you look like a witch. Only a few of us get that distinction.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics. Contact her at [email protected]. To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to