1. Clean and declutter your house.

You don’t need to have brand new everything, but everything should be properly cleaned and free of clutter. The goal is to make your space as appealing as possible, so potential buyers can easily visualize themselves living there. To reduce clutter, you can:

  • Store roughly half of your “stuff,” including things like knick-knacks and unessential furniture
  • Remove several personal objects, like family photos or children’s artwork you have on display
  • Remove everything from closet floors
  • Put half your clothes into storage, so your closets are only about ⅓ full
  • Keep your linen closet meticulous so no one will wonder if you’re hiding wiring or plumbing
  • Hide all obvious electric cords and wiring
  • Eliminate any unhealthy plants
  • Put fresh sheets on all your beds along with four extra pillows

2. Make good first and last impressions. 

Did you know buyers decide in the first eight seconds whether or not they want to buy your home? Your brain tends to remember the first and last pieces of information presented in a series of images, while the middle remains a blur. This means you need to consider your lawn’s curb appeal, as well as your home’s entry and exit points. You can paint a more welcoming picture by doing things like:

  • Paint the front door and trim
  • Hang a seasonal wreath on the door
  • Add potted flowers or hanging plants
  • Fertilize the grass to make it healthy and green
  • Put fresh mulch around the bushes
  • Fix the doorbell if it’s broken or in poor repair

New mulch and colorful annual plants are inexpensive options to keep your home looking neat and updated. Make sure your bushes are trimmed, the grass is cut and cleanly edged, and any ground cover is fresh.

3. Paint your home, or add touches of color.

A good, clean paint job really does wonders to freshen up your space. A light and neutral palette is the way to go. There are a variety of options as long as you stay away from any colors that elicit strong emotions, like black, red, or neon. If your walls are already a welcoming hue, consider a fresh coatfor a finish that’s free of scuffs and scratches.

Alternately, you can use touches of yellow and other warm colors to say “welcome home.” Throw pillows, colorful rugs, and live foliage are easy ways to add pops of friendly color.

4. Invest in a pet-sitter.

Studies have shown that people buy with their eyes and their noses, more than any other senses. You should pay at least as much attention to how your home smells as you do to how it looks. To make the olfactory introduction a pleasant one, you can do things like:

  • Remove any kitty litter trays, dog beds or beddings, and any other potentially smelly pet items
  • Warm a few drops of vanilla extract inside the oven door
  • If you or anyone in your house smokes, make sure it’s happening outside. Remove all ashtrays and keep them outside as well.
  • If possible, open all windows in the house an hour or so before the potential buyer arrives
  • Keep the trash can clean by emptying it as soon as possible, and by wiping down the outside frequently

5. Let the sunshine in.

After location, light is the second most quoted reason for why a buyer chooses a house. Everyone loves a sun-filled room! By hanging drapes with only a few inches of fabric covering the sides, the windows will appear larger and let more light in. Hanging mirrors opposite your windows can also magnify the light and brighten the room.

Spend some time playing with lighting and mood to make your space feel inviting, and avoid any arrangement that feels sterile.

To make the most of your home’s natural light, you can also:

  • Clean all windows thoroughly and regularly
  • Replace heavy drapery with sheer curtains or white shades
  • Replace darker lamp shades with sheer white shades
  • Trim back any shrubs that block window light
  • Paint the inside walls white
  • Put white or lighter-colored slipcovers on all dark furniture
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