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Before Your Home is Listed

Selling a home is often an emotional experience. It's one of the biggest financial decisions you'll ever make in your lifetime and if you're like most Americans, you'll only do it a handful of times.

So naturally you want to do it right the first try. It's always a good idea to have an experienced real estate agent on your side to help guide you to closing day; but besides that there are a couple of key things that you can do to help make the process quicker, easier and a lot less stressful.

Don't Be Emotional

When your house is put on the market you're going to have a lot of visitors and potential buyers. They're going to be looking for their dream home. Hopefully they think yours is right for them and they make an offer.

This doesn't happen immediately. Often buyers will find something wrong. They might think the living room is too small, the carpet is ugly or that it the bathrooms need too much updating before they can be comfortable living in your house. But that's okay.

It's easy to become offended as you start to hear feedback your real estate agent has been collecting. You've spent years personalizing and decorating your house. You're not used to hearing people criticize your life style. But everyone everyone has different wants, needs and tastes. It's a good idea to calmly take a step back and see your house as a potential buyer would, as a commodity.

Don't take negative comments personally. Instead write them down and address them individually. Pay special attention to the things you hear multiple times.

Being Anonymous Is Key

You might have great taste. You might have more unique preferences. Buyers may or may not share your likes and dislikes. They're going to try to imagine themselves having a barbecue in the backyard or opening Christmas presents in front of the fireplace. The best thing you can do is to help them.

Pack your more personal items a head of time. Take down family pictures and personal knick nacks

Getting a Head Start On Packing

Over our lifetimes we collect a lot of stuff. Pictures, electronics, furniture and toys to name just a few. So we naturally need a lot of space. One of the biggest assets a home can have is storage space and square footage. When potential buyers tour your house they're going to try to envision all of their stuff in place of yours.

This is harder to do if the house appears cluttered or messy. You're going to be moving, so why not get a head start on packing? Box up whatever you don't need and move everything to a storage unit. Don't leave boxes laying around, you don't want to be counter productive.

Take a step back. Invite a friend or your realtor over. Is there any clutter left over? Open space is a great asset to have on your side. Consider having a yard sale.

Repairs: Are They Worth It?

Don't do anything that's going to break the bank. Take care of minor repairs and small improvements, especially items that buyers have mentioned as concerning in their feedback. Don't initiate anything expensive or labor intensive unless absolutely necessary.

Unless your carpets are worn, consider hiring a carpet cleaning service instead of replacing them.

Too many repairs may make the house look messy during the showing process and you may end up accumulating debt. Remember, you're not going to be able to enjoy any repairs of renovations you make once the home sells.

Talk with your real estate agent about what is appropriate and what isn't.

Odor Control

You may have become used to some normal household odors, but buyers won't be. Curb this by keeping it in the back of your mind. Keep dogs groomed and shedding as little as possible, empty litter boxes every day and move smoking outside. Invest in carpet freshener and a couple of boxes of baking soda; they'll do wonders.

Landscaping and Maintenance: Key to Success

Curb appeal is very important. It's your house's first impression. If you're selling in the spring or summer, consider having the lawn mowed regularly. Tidy up when it comes to leaves, weeds and patches of grass that aren't up to snuff. If you find yourself in winter, keep the driveway and walkway snow free and salted. You don't want the first impression of a buyer to be slipping on a patch of ice!

Throughout the showing phase regularly inspect key areas to make sure pride of ownership shows. Try not to let anything fall into disrepair.