Everyone loves light, and buyers are willing to pay for it. After location, the top reason buyers choose a particular home is the light. Take down your drapes, wash your windows and paint your walls a soft white color. Trim back the bushes by your windows, replace your lampshades and install high wattage bulbs.

Next, scrub your house clean as a whistle. Make it spotless! As people buy with their noses too, eliminate all the odors that accumulate from smoking, old clothing and kitty litter. Right before the first open house, open all your windows for a full eight hours. And since no one wants to move into your bathroom, freshen it with a new shower curtain, a new toilet seat and some pretty new towels.

It rarely pays to renovate your kitchen, but consider painting or replacing your cabinet fronts instead or adding a new countertop. Sometimes simply updating the cabinet knobs and drawer pulls makes all the difference.

Don't overlook your front yard and entryway. I've shown properties for years, and I'm convinced that buyers decide if they're going to buy your house within the first eight seconds of seeing it. So set your stopwatch, get out of your car, and see what you see in the first eight seconds. Chances are you'll do some yard work and paint your front door and trim. Also check to make sure your doorbell works.

Now that you're ready to rock 'n' roll, it's picture time. Rent a professional camera with a wide-angle lens and be sure to take the photos on a sunny day. A wide-angle lens will make your house and property look much bigger. One in three houses are sold online today, and people skip properties with poor pictures. Post at least six good, bright house photos, both inside and out, online. The more good pictures the merrier.

Finally, hire yourself a killer broker to sell your home. Eighty percent of all commissions today are earned by the top 10 percent of agents out there, and you want one of them working for you. To find the right one, call your local real estate office and ask the sales manager for their personal recommendation. And don't be cheap. Don't try to negotiate their commission. If you've hired the right broker, you'll know you're getting more than your money's worth.

Barbara Corcoran is the founder of real estate company The Corcoran Group. She is the author of If You Don't Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails , an unlikely business book and a national best-seller. Barbara is the real estate contributor for NBC's Today Show and CNBC, and she's a columnist for The Daily News , MORE magazine and Redbook .

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The opinions expressed by contributors are strictly their own.


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