Selling your home is an exciting process. Once you make up your mind, it can be tempting to jump right in, but it’s important to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you list your home. Some basic preparations can save you time and trouble as well as increase your home’s sale price.

Find an agent you can trust.

Finding a real estate agent you can trust should be at the top of your list when you’ve decided to sell. A good realtor will be experienced and have firsthand knowledge about the housing market in your immediate area. You should be able to comfortably express your questions and concerns with your real estate agent, and they should be able to provide answers in a concise and timely manner. Trust is key, so if you’re not comfortable with an agent, keep looking! The right representation can make all the difference.

Clean and organize.

You will most likely need to make some repairs and improvements to your home before selling, but before you do that, take some time to remove clutter and do some deep cleaning. Starting with a clean and organized space will help you assess which repairs are necessary and which improvements will be most effective for increasing your home’s value and marketability. This goes for the outside of your property as well! A nicely mowed lawn, swept driveway, or colorful flowers can raise a potential buyer’s interest in your home and encourage a closer look.

Make repairs.

Some repair needs, like a leaky faucet or cracked floor tile, can be obvious, but don’t overlook small problems like scuffed walls and sticky doors. These small improvements can make a world of difference to a potential buyer considering your home. Your real estate agent can help you do a walkthrough of your home to identify little upgrades you can make yourself, help you decide which larger repairs and improvements are worth the time and effort, and when to hire a professional. Getting an inspection before listing your home will also help you identify issues.

Freshen the décor with neutral colors.

In addition to repairs, don’t underestimate the importance of aesthetic upgrades! A fresh coat of paint in a room or a new rug can make it feel brand new. When you’re choosing paint colors and small accents for showing your home, choose neutral, unobtrusive colors and designs. A subtle approach to decorating lets potential buyers imagine their own life in a house, and light colors can make a space seem larger. It’s also a good idea to remove any extra furniture or knickknacks. A real estate agent can also help you find home staging professionals to improve the interior design of your home.

Get professional photos.

Once your home is looking perfect, it’s time for pictures. This is no time to skimp on quality. Experienced, professional home photographers have the equipment and skill necessary to capture and highlight your home’s distinct charm. Similar to curb appeal, online photos often give buyers their first impression of your home, making quality photos critical to getting buyers to come for a tour.

Consider more than looks.

When a buyer feels comfortable in your home, it’s easier for them to feel relaxed and happy during their tour and imagine an enjoyable life there. It can be hard to notice subtle aspects of your home like smells or sounds that could detract from a buyer’s comfort. Replace or remove fabrics that can hold odors; clean carpets; and listen for noises like a rattling fan or refrigerator. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the weather report so you can make sure it’s a comfortable temperature during showings.

Prioritize your to-do list.

Thinking of all the repairs and improvements your home needs can feel daunting, and you may not be able to complete every task you’d like. As you prioritize your list of home improvements, keep in mind the state of the housing market in your area. A hot real estate market means that homes are selling fast, and buyers may not be as picky about a house that needs some work. In a slower market, on the other hand, it’s worth the time and effort to get your home in the best shape possible before listing, since potential buyers have the luxury of taking their time to find the perfect home, and relatively minor issues can be dealbreakers. When you’re ready to sell, your realtor can help you assess the current state of your local real estate market. Before you list your home, take the time to get organized and get informed so you can sell your home for its top value. An experienced local realtor will be a valuable ally. Before you decide which realtor to work with, make sure you understand the commission they charge and the services you’ll receive so you can get the best possible value from the partnership. For more tips on selling your home, check out the Simply Better Realty blog.