10 Ways to Get Your Home Ready to Show

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You’ve finally done it: you’ve made that big decision to sell your home. Now the next big step is getting an offer, and to do that you’ll want to spruce up your house so potential buyers can visit. That may sound a little daunting, but lucky for you there are lots of easy ways to make sure your house puts its best foot forward. So to help you make a great first impression, here are 10 ways to get your home ready for its grand debut:

1. Make it squeaky clean—This probably goes without saying, but now is the time to scrub those floors and make every inch of your house sparkle. Wipe down surfaces, dust your blinds, clean your carpets, wash your windows . . . you get the idea.

2. Declutter!—Before showing your home, you’ll definitely want to remove all forms of clutter: excess decorations, piles of papers, over-large furniture, all those magnets on the fridge—anything that can go should go. Cramped, cluttered houses are far from inviting, and you want people to look at your house and think how big and spacious it seems.

3. Take down all those family pictures—This might sound strange, but wherever possible try to take those pictures down. You want buyers to be visualizing themselves living in your home, so putting away your entire wall of family mementos and putting up one tasteful landscape canvas is probably a good idea.

4. Put away anything personal—Be sure to whisk away any personal information lying around the house: calendars in the kitchen, bills on the counters, any financial information, medications or other medical info—basically anything distracting. Also consider putting away any valuables, like expensive jewelry.

5. Watch the smell—Along with the appearance of your house, you also want your house to smell as good as it looks. Smell has a huge impact on all of us, so sniff around to make sure your house smells inviting. Or better yet, doesn’t smell like anything at all. A word of warning: going overboard with scented candles could turn off a buyer or make them wonder if you’re trying to hide something.

6. Light it up—While you’re cutting out the clutter, keep in mind that artistic, beautiful lighting will make your home sell much faster. Buyers want bright homes that don’t look one bit like a cave, so even if someone is coming to see your home during the day, turn on all the lights.

7. Make arrangements for your pets and kids—Nothing distracts potential buyers like a barking dog or a screaming baby, so try your very best to get your kids and your fluffy friends out of the house when someone is coming to see it. You’ll be glad you did.

8. Paint your walls neutral—Walls that are totally white or too bold can turn off buyers, so do yourself a favor and paint it all neutral. While we’re on the topic of home improvements, this is also a great time to fix up any do-it-yourself projects gone wrong, like that hideous self-installed shelf or that stenciling project that didn’t quite turn out the way you’d hoped.

9. Take care of the yard—If your house looks bad on the outside, nobody’s going to want to see the inside. So now is the time to mow the lawn, clean up the junk in your driveway, weed the flowerbeds, and trim up those shrubs. Whatever you can do to up your curbside appeal, go ahead and do it.

10. Organize your closets—Storage space is a huge selling point, so make sure your closets aren’t bursting with junk. Clear out as much clutter as you can and organize what’s left so it looks minimal and tidy. If you need to rent a storage unit for a while, it might be a good investment.

Looking for more home-buying advice? Check out this great article about what to look for in a real estate agent and this one about what you can do now to buy a new home. Best of luck in your home selling efforts!

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