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You want to sell your home for the best price. Start by enlisting a real  estate agent and making a list of needed projects, to maximize the potential of  your home.

Use this list to determine what to do before listing your home for sale:

1. Enlist a Real Estate Agent

An agent experienced with the market in your neighborhood is the most  qualified person to determine how potential buyers will perceive your house.

2. Evaluate Your Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is critical because many prospective buyers will only drive by  your home. Ideally, you want every person who stops and looks at the house from  the curb to be sufficiently enamored that they want to come in to see more.

Curb appeal is made up of three primary components:

  • Front entrance
  • Landscaping
  • The rest of the front of the house
Front Entrance The front door, porch and any surrounding windows  and structures form the focal point for your home. A freshly painted door and  polished door hardware can make it more attractive. Easy-to-read house numbers,  a freshly painted mailbox and functioning porch lights are also important. The  doorbell should work reliably. Sometimes a drab entrance can be dressed up with  a couple of potted plants.

Landscaping Another major component of curb appeal is landscaping.  This includes the lawn, plants and such structures as retaining walls, walkways  and steps. The trees and shrubs need to be well trimmed. Garden beds should be  well defined and freshly mulched.

And, keep in mind that many homes have overgrown shrubs that hide the house  and make it look smaller.

Also, consider powerwashing the concrete surfaces to make them appear new  again.

Home's Exterior Look at the rest of the front of your house. Is  the siding clean? Is the paint in good shape? Are the windows clean and clear of  spider webs? Are the gutters clean and hung securely?
3. Update the Interior

Kitchens and Bathrooms Kitchens and bathrooms can present  problems. The question is whether renovating a kitchen or bath (or adding a  bath) will ultimately pay for itself. If a kitchen is not updated, but is on par  with the other houses on the market, no major changes need to be made.

Often a fresh coat of paint, a new countertop and a new floor are sufficient  to bring a kitchen up to speed without great expense. The same is generally true  of bathrooms.

Reduce Clutter The next major issue to consider when getting your  house ready for sale is often the least expensive and the most troublesome:  getting rid of clutter. This is where the advice of an honest outsider, or  better yet, a professional organizer, is important.  If you are unable to take  on the clutter problem immediately, the best thing to do is to put things into  storage until you're ready to sort through them or move.

Walls, Floors and Countertops Regardless of the surface, if you  are going to refurbish it, choose neutral colors. With paint, that nearly always  means off-white. With floors, stick to lighter colors. In most cases, if you  haven't done much painting recently, it makes sense to repaint the entire  interior.

If carpets are in good shape, a professional cleaning will usually suffice.  If they are old or stained, you are better off either replacing them, or  removing them and refinishing the floor underneath.

In the bathroom and kitchen, replacing an older vinyl floor can easily  brighten things up. Use quality materials and avoid patterns and colors that are  busy. Also note any tile or caulking problems.

Fixtures and Outlets To check electrical fixtures, go through  each room and try each electrical outlet by plugging in a portable lamp. Test  every light switch, replacing bulbs when necessary. Test the faucets in the  kitchen and baths. Note any that are leaking or otherwise in need of servicing.

4. Prioritize Your List of Home Improvement Projects

You have now identified everything that you will need to do to prepare your  home for sale. Look at your overall list and decide on the things you want to  handle yourself. Nearly all do-it-yourself projects take longer than you think,  so be realistic about what you can accomplish on your own.

Determine the projects you are unable to do yourself. Group the projects by  category. Many times service professionals prefer to receive larger projects,  and you will save money by having everything repaired and updated  simultaneously.

5. Remember to Use Patience

Complete your list of repairs before listing your home on the market. Your  house will be more desirable to potential buyers and command a higher selling  price. Avoid putting yourself in the position of showing the house before it's  ready.


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