Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front or making a posting to the MLS. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the most traffic to your home and the best possible offer in the shortest time.

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the clutter of day-today living doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have tile floors that need grout cleaning or wood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—flooring is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Oftentimes Buyers will make a judgement about how well a homeowner may have maintained the bigger things about their home by how clean they keep the smaller things like bathroom drawers and kitchen cupboards, so be sure to clean up and declutter every area you can before putting your home on the market.  Every impression will cause a potential Buyer to form an opinion about the value of your home.  Don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside.

Spruce Up Your Landscaping. Speaking of curb appeal, did you know that many buyers do “drive by’s” to check out a home’s location and to see if they find it appealing…the home’s outside appearance can determine whether those buyers choose to schedule a tour or not 90% of the time!  So take the time to clean up the yard, add fresh mulch and bright new flowers!  It’s one of the best and most cost effective (and important!) preparations you will do when getting your home ready to sell!

Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green walls, or old berber carpet that the cats have used a scratching post, and you have all your collectables and personal photographs covering every tabletop, this will be much harder for them to do. Try replacing any bold color choices on your walls with something more neutral—currrently that means beiges, light greys and creamy whites. Repainting and carpet cleaning (or replacing) will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities while they see value in your home instead of replacement costs.

Stage and Declutter. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. You can stage your home with small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: updated lamps, mirrors, throw rugs, pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, and patio furniture can all make a big improvement many times when selling. But before you invest in all that, be certain to take a critical eye to your home to get rid of all the “stuff” that might have accumulated!  Pack up those old kids trophies and ribbons to store away out of site, put away the craft projects that might be lying around and simplify as much as possible so buyers can envision their own things in the home.  It might even be worth renting a storage unit to pack away belongings you’ll move to your next home while your home is on the market for a month or two.  Buyer’s FEEL as much about a home as they do to SEE a home’s potential!  Make sure your home allows them to “feel” themselves living in that great space by showing it in the best light possible.  All these steps will pay dividends with a quicker sale and the best possible sales price.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.