By Beth Weinhouse
Selling Your House Torch Blog Banner
Whether you've lived in your house for two years or twenty, you've undoubtedly invested a lot of time and energy into making it into a home. But according to real estate experts, when it's time to sell your home, the most important rule is to take yourself out of the equation as much as possible.

As buyers search for a new home, they need to be able to picture themselves living there, so take a step back and start looking at your house the way prospective buyers will be looking at it. Making a few easy changes at the get-go can help you find greater success when selling your house:

Spruced Up or Repaired

  • De-clutter, de-personalize. De-cluttering is especially important for home sellers so that prospective buyers can focus more on your house and less on your things. Real estate experts recommend starting with removing items that are personal, like family photos. Then remove excessive knick-knacks, small décor items like vases, and unusual artwork. A good rule of thumb is to think about how a hotel is decorated—there are pieces that add to the visual appeal of the room, but they don't detract from the function of the space.
  • Make repairs. You may have lived happily for years with a jiggly doorknob or a kitchen fan that doesn't work well, but even those small things might indicate to buyers that the house hasn't been well maintained. Small repairs can go a long way toward making a home more appealing. An inexpensive project that can make a big difference is touching up paint. Start by giving rooms with bold or unusual colors a fresh coat of neutral paint and touch up areas that are chipping or worn in other parts of your home.
  • "Stage" your home. Beyond general cleanup and repairs, many realtors recommend staging a home, especially if your own furniture or décor is outdated or unusual. Some realtors maintain warehouses of furniture and artwork for just this purpose, or you can work with a professional real estate stager to help remove your own items and replace them with more neutral pieces. Staging can involve adding accessories to your home, too, such as fresh flowers or a bowl of green apples to brighten up a space.
  • Work on curb appeal. First impressions count. You might have a brand new kitchen and walk-in closets, but if your house's exterior looks worn-down, you may not be able to get prospective buyers inside to see them. Assess your house from the front and make updates to give it some curb-appeal if necessary.
  • Enlist your neighbors. If you're lucky enough to live in a close-knit community where neighbors know each other and help each other out, use that to your advantage. Tell your neighbors you're planning to sell, and ask them if they know of anyone who might be interested in moving into the neighborhood. They'll appreciate being part of the process and having the opportunity to choose the neighbors who will replace you.
Preparing to sell a home can take a lot of work, but with the right steps you can make your home more appealing for buyers and benefit in the long-run from your home sale.

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