We like to post helpful real estate tips lists every once in a while. Our last one focused more on low-impact home improvements, but this list involves the so-called “staging” of a home. As is always the case, the idea is to prepare a home and make it appealing enough that the buyer either wants to move in or sees it as a good investment.

Ramping up the curb appeal

These and others are relatively inexpensive and do not require much in the way of mechanical knowhow.

  1. Less is more: Some people like knickknacks, but keep counters, shelves and surfaces free of objects. Go through closets and thin out clothing, clear out basements and garages and be ruthless – throw out broken stuff and try to donate as much as possible, including toys, furniture or anything not an heirloom that is seldom used. If there is extra furniture for the next home, consider moving it (and other stuff) to a storage locker.
  2. Perform small repairs: Touch up paint, fix doors or broken lights. If time is an issue, hire a handyman or specialist – the cost is more than made up for in the sale of the home.
  3. Deep clean: Dust those hard to reach areas, clean the windows inside and out, scrub the bathroom and get rid of any stains in the tile. Renting a carpet shampoo machine will do wonders.
  4. Do not forget outside: This is the first impression buyers see when they come to the home. Get rid of tacky or worn lawn furniture, weed and replant gardens, mow the lawn and get the landscaping in order. Touch up the trim paint, especially near the doors.
  5. Keep it clean: Sellers must stay on top of maintenance and cleaning while the property is on the market. Oftentimes realtors will “be in the area” and want to stop by on short notice. If this is too much to ask, consider a weekly cleaning service.

A good return on your investment

As mentioned, any money put into repairs and maintenance will generally increase the value of the home and enable the property to stick out even when it is a buyers’ market. Once a buyer shows interest, it is advisable to contact an attorney who has experience handling real estate transactions and closings as well as paperwork, titles and other important details. They can help ensure that the sale will be a smooth one with less last-minute drama.