If you’re going to sell your home, you’ll want to do everything you can to make it look its best for potential buyers. Here’s how to make it shine.

Assess the condition of the home. Identify problems before buyers do by having the home inspected before you list it. A report on the condition of the property will help you pick a listing price and prioritize the things that need fixing.

Make necessary repairs. Decide which repair projects are DIY and which need a contractor. Buyers may be willing to pay more for a home that doesn’t require a lot of work, but if you’re not sure about the return on investment for an expensive or elaborate repair (such as replacing an HVAC system or installing new carpeting), your agent can help you decide whether the job is worth doing.

Cut the clutter. Whether you recycle, donate, store or throw away, decluttering and depersonalizing your home makes it more attractive to buyers. (If you decide to use short-term storage, visit AAA.com/Save to find discounts for AAA Members.) Put away personal photos and remove refrigerator art. Leave space in closets to make them look bigger. Put all your appliance warranties somewhere safe, like in a kitchen drawer, for the next owner.

Give rooms a new coat of paint. Repaint bold colors with neutral hues. Touch up any spots (door frames, windowsills) that are dirty, and paint or clean trim, doors and baseboards. Adding a new coat of paint is an easy way to make a house look fresh.

Clean everything. Consider having a professional service deep-clean the home. Bathroom tiles and tubs should shine. All windows, appliances, cabinets, drawers and closets should be cleaned. Have carpets professionally cleaned. Neutralize odors and consider using potpourri to make your home smell inviting.

Don’t forget the exterior. Trim the lawn, bushes and shrubs. Put away tools and equipment. Inspect the area around the front door; it’s the first thing that potential buyers will see, and a tidy, welcoming entryway can go a long way toward making a good first impression.

Set the stage with finishing touches. Home staging is a way to professionally dress up a home. It can involve little things, like opening all the blinds to let in natural light, or bigger things, like swapping out the furniture. If you’re serious about getting top dollar for your home, consider hiring a staging expert.

These steps might seem like a lot of work, but a home that’s properly prepared will likely sell faster and for a higher price than one that isn’t.

Download this printable checklist.

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Buy and sell with confidence using the comprehensive real estate portal from AAA and Xome, where you can:

  • Determine the value of your property with a free home valuation report.
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This story was featured in the
January/February 2022 issue of AAALiving Magazine

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