Preparing Your Home for Sale

Most people know they need to clean and declutter when they want to sell their home. They put pots of flowers on the front porch and bake cookies. But they still miss sales by failing to fine-tune the presentation. Here are six things you can do to make your home stand out:

1. Get an honest evaluation. Invite an acquaintance who’s never seen your home to give you a brutally honest evaluation. People who’ve been in their homes for years don’t notice problems that are glaringly obvious to a newcomer. Ask your real estate agent for suggestions on home updates.

2. Don’t forget the pops of color. Yes, you should neutralize your walls so the buyers can picture themselves in your home. But if there is no color anywhere, your home will look bland and boring. These homes tend to look especially bad in internet photos. The trick is to add the color in things that don’t stay and aren’t too large—a brightly colored cloth on a small table, some eye-catching throw pillows, or some pretty placemats. In very neutral schemes where color might be out of place, add interest with texture, shape, and line.

3. Face the fireplace. Most buyers want a fireplace and will pay extra for it, yet furniture is often faced away from the fireplace. Worse yet, some people actually place furniture so it blocks the fireplace. Always place furniture so it calls attention to this and other attractive features.

4. Add a contemporary vibe. Even in a traditional house, a few more contemporary pieces will make your house look like it’s been updated and well cared for. If all your furniture is old fashioned, it’ll look dated, which tends to turn buyers off. Adding some big glass vases with simple, bold shapes or some massive pillar candles in contemporary holders can give a traditional house an up-to-date flair.

5. Anticipate objections. If your furnace is very old, hire a technician to clean and inspect it, and place the work order where the buyers will see it. If there is an obvious problem that you don’t want to fix, get several estimates on the cost of repairing it and make the lowest one available to your buyers.

6. Outshine the competition. Browse home design magazines, and adopt an idea or two. Stealing ideas from professional decorators can make your house look stunning for very little money.

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