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There are ways to get the most out of your home's sale price, even in a competitive real estate market. If you're ready to list your house, review these items to make sure you get top dollar for your property.
1. Streamline all your stuff
Take some time to declutter throughout your home. Remove all personal items. Remove all photos, recipes and take-out menus from the fridge. Clear the kitchen counters to the bare minimum. Buyers want to see your house, not your personal life.
Any potential buyer walking through your house wants to feel the space is large enough for his or her belongings, not claustrophobic. If you have to put oversized furniture in storage or the garage, do not hesitate!
Be sure to make your bed, pick up your dirty clothes, take out the trash and stash dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
2. Keep curb appeal in mind
Buyers will drive by your home and if they don’t like what they see, they'll keep on driving. The exterior of your home speaks volumes to potential buyers.
If your lawn is struggling or your planter boxes are bare, it’s time to spruce up the front yard. Plant flowers, throw down some sod and remove all trash cans, junky cars, kids’ toys or anything else that distracts a buyer from seeing the house.
Curb appeal is the ultimate first impression
3. Eliminate any odors
The smell of a house is one of the first things to hit you the moment you step foot in the door. If you have pets. and your house smells more like a farm than an environment you’d like to call home, it’s time to get the carpets cleaned or replaced and the tile and hardwood professionally cleaned.
Light candles, vacuum with pet deodorizer, Febreze your teenagers' rooms and bake some cookies to get a welcoming scent in the air.
4. Hire a handyman
Everyone puts off fixing the little things like that leaky faucet, the loose tile in the bathroom and re-grouting the tub. But you can't wait any longer.
Hire a handyman for a day and get all of those tiny items off of your to-do list. It makes your home seem well cared for and allows buyers to see the house without creating a mental checklist of everything that needs work. If buyers see small issues as they walk through, they're left to wonder what bigger issues lurk that they don’t see.
5. Hire a Realtor
Realtors will expose your home to the public and ensure any well-qualified buyer looking in your area and price range will see the house. They will negotiate on your behalf, navigate the escrow process and get the deal done.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on July 5, 2013.
What else can help increase your home's sale price? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.
About this Experts contributor: Ivy Brooks of Ivy Brooks Real Estate in Marina Del Ray, California, has been helping buyers and sellers since 2001 and managing properties since 1996. The company, a full-service real estate brokerage and property management firm provides real estate services in Marina Del Ray, western Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.
As of April 14, 2016, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.