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Preparing Your Home for Sale

This DIY Basic will provide tips on preparing your home for sale.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Stage the Home

The goals of staging your home are to show off its greatest assets while minimizing anything undesirable to buyers, to abolish clutter throughout the home, and to neutralize the color palette. This is accomplished by extensive cleaning and de-cluttering, as well as painting and rearranging furniture and accessories to improve the flow and compliment the design of the home.

Step 3: Eliminate Clutter

Start by taking a walk through your home, imagining you are seeing it for the very first time. Note your impressions and make a list of what needs to be done in each room. Clutter includes anything that adds a chaotic, busy feel to the room, including excess furniture, wall art, area rugs, kitchen gadgets and paperwork.

Studies have consistently shown that staged homes sell faster and at a higher price. According to reports by the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, staged homes sell 17% higher than non-staged homes. Conservative estimates show a $2 to $3 return for every dollar invested in staging your home. In a recent survey by, staged homes spent 80% less time on the market than non-staged homes, with 93% of them selling on average of 1 month or less.

Step 4: Paint and Add Lighting

A fresh coat of paint is one of the cheapest ways to dress up your home. Warm, neutral colors help send the right message.

But the greatest return on investment comes from additional lighting. A clean, bright, uncluttered home gives the impression that it’s well cared for and that’s money in the bank.

Step 5: Make Small Improvements

There are many small improvements you can make that will yield large returns. According to a 2003 HomeGain Survey, buyers experienced this average return on investment for each of the following: Painting – 34%, Floor repair – 50%, New carpeting – 34%, Lighten and Brightening – 769%, Cleaning and Decluttering – 594%

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