Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick asign out front. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you getthe best offer possible in the shortest time.

Repair.Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles inthe radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors thatneed refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point.Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers aswell. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences,shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may neverget to see the inside.

Neutralize. Youwant buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime greenshag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs,this will be much harder for them to do. Try replacing any bold color choicesin your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, tans, and whites.Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and helpprospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.

Stage.Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagerscan add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilitiesin the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows,flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can beparticularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looksdated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you noticethe beauty, not the makeup.