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Let’s get your home ready to list.

Here are our top staging tips.

Planning on selling your home? Here’s what you need to do prior to listing in order to maximize its value—and your return on investment!

The months and weeks leading up to selling a home are stressful. There’s a seemingly endless list of things that need to get done, from packing up all your belongings to looking into schools in your new neighborhood.

During this hectic buildup, it’s easy for things to fall by the wayside. You’re going to have to accept that your home probably won’t be perfect before you list. That’s why it’s important to prioritize what needs to get done versus what you want to get done.

In this article, we’ll break down the most important things you should do prior to listing your home and why they matter. We’ll also review the benefits of working with your realtor to put together a plan ahead of listing.

See our top home staging tips.

If you’re planning on selling your home in the near future, you should start thinking about cleaning and staging it now. In our latest infographic, we review our best home staging tips and what you need to consider before you list.

Here’s what you need to do before listing.

Plan ahead

Unless you’re in the position where you just learned you need to move, give yourself as much time as possible ahead of your move to plan out everything that needs to get done. Trust us: the weeks are going to fly by, and you need as much runway as possible to get everything done without feeling the time crunch every weekend.

Make a list

Once you have a good idea of when you plan on listing, start making a to-do list that outlines everything that needs to get done ahead of that date. This should include the things you’d typically associate with a move—packing, cleaning, paperwork, and more—but should also have time reserved for any home projects or upgrades you want to make before you list.

Focus on the essentials first

Yes, renovating your kitchen can add significant value to your home. But, if you have a leaking roof that’s on the verge of failing, you have bigger fish to fry. Here’s a good way to think about things: put yourself in the shoes of a person buying your home as they get their home inspector’s report back. What items, if you were in their spot, would give you pause about moving forward with the sale? What things would you ask the current homeowner (you) to fix or pay for prior to close?

If you decide to forgo these essential repairs, just know that they may impact the value of your home and, consequently, your return on investment.

Think about the first impression

We’re told not to judge books by their covers. Yet, it’s hard not to jump to conclusions about a home based on what it looks like outside. If your home has an overgrown jungle of a lawn, peeling paint, or other exterior defects, buyers and other realtors are going to notice. They’re going to have opinions—warranted or not—on the condition and value of your property before they even step inside.

Realtors typically call this the “curb appeal” factor, but it’s worth noting that its impact isn’t just limited to people physically visiting your home in-person. Most prospective buyers are going to first see your home online. If it looks dingy and beat-up in real life, it’s going to probably look even worse in photos. You might say that the camera adds 10 years!

Clean up the aesthetics

Paint is important. Hire an exterior painter to repaint the outside of your home. This will address any cosmetic defects and help your home stand out from others in your neighborhood.

When doing this, talk to your painter about your available color options. Pick something that matches the overall aesthetic of your community and isn’t too far “out there.” You might love hot pink, but it’ll transform your home into an unloved eyesore.

Interior paint is important, too. As one of the last projects you complete before you list, repaint all the interior walls and clean up or replace the baseboards. You’d be shocked at what a positive difference this can make—your home will look and feel like-new again.

Talk to your realtor about staging your home

Home staging is the art of getting the decor and interior design of a home ready for prospective buyers to see. In many cases, this involves switching out your furniture for modern pieces. Many realtors will advocate for home staging if the current home has oversized or outdated furniture. This can make the home feel a lot smaller than its square footage, and make it difficult for the homeowner to picture themselves living in the property.

A home staging professional will also advise you on proper lighting for your home. You’d be surprised just how much lighting impacts our perception of space: dim lights in a living room can make it feel small and dingy. Letting more natural light in and installing new lights might be key items on the to-do list.

Work out the details with a professional

In addition to talking to your realtor about home staging, be sure to ask them about any other upgrades they think might be right for your home. Their advice can help guide your pre-listing to-do list. For example, if you’re listing your home in an area where all the other homes in your price range have upgraded kitchens, you may need to upgrade your kitchen in order to compete for attention from buyers.

Your realtor can help you plan out your sale, from the moment you contact them to the day you close and sell your home. To learn more about home staging and getting your home ready to sell, be sure to check out our new infographic below.