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

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the old carpet doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers, drippy faucets, broken windows, or other postponed fixes as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, lighting etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never want to see the inside.

Declutter. You may like your “stuff” handy and accessible but if there’s too much of “it” sitting around your buyer may be distracted and unable to imagine themselves living in your home. Let’s box it up to get a jump on packing for your move. You’ll like it and so will your buyer! You do want to sell your house don’t you?

Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral or warm—beiges, tans, grays, and whites. Think Pottery Barn…Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.

Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Some home stagers will work with your decor items and many times rearrange your furnishings to make your home show better. Be sure to replace any burned out light bulbs and open those shades, curtains, or blinds! A dark home never sells well so let the “LIGHT” shine in. Home staging can be particularly useful no matter the age of your home. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.