If you’re faced with the prospect of selling your home over the next couple of months, you may be anxious at the thought of strangers walking through your space and taking stock of all its flaws. Fortunately,┬áthere are a few simple steps you can take to quickly and inexpensively improve your home’s marketability, helping you fetch the highest possible price after your home spends just a few days (or weeks) on the market.

Put your best foot forward

If you’ve ever written off a home in your own search simply due to unflattering listing photos, you know firsthand how important this first impression can be. You may want to go ahead and take some photos of your home’s exterior and entryway, then review them with a critical eye to see what jumps out — from sagging porch steps to weed-choked landscaping.

To the extent you’re able to make minor fixes to your home’s exterior, like adding a fresh coat of paint to your porch rails or having some mulch and bright flowers trucked in, you should be able to dramatically improve its appearance in listing photos and give prospective buyers something to work with.

You’ll also want to keep photo quality in mind. While you and your agent shouldn’t need to shell out for an expensive camera (as most smartphones can capture photos of sufficiently high quality to be posted on a real estate website), you do want to make sure the photos you use aren’t out of focus or otherwise flawed.

Replace worn flooring

Unfortunately, even if you’re willing to provide an allowance to the next owners of your home for the installation of new flooring, many prospective buyers are unable (or unwilling) to look beyond a room’s current state. If any rooms in your home currently boast faded or discolored laminate, stained carpet, or peeling vinyl tile, paying to have these floors removed and replaced with an inexpensive carpet or laminate in a neutral color can be a wise investment.

Not only will doing so allow you to avoid concessions on your sale price and shop around to find the best deal on flooring replacement, you’ll also be able to reel in a number of buyers who might otherwise have written off your home as in need of too much work.

De-personalize and de-clutter your home

Just as many buyers are unable to envision new carpet or paint in a room that has seen better days, it can be difficult for them to imagine themselves living in your home if it’s too cluttered with personal belongings. Depending upon your timeframe for moving, you may find it cost-effective to rent a small or medium storage unit to store many of your possessions while your home is listed for sale.

Not only will this help keep your items secure while your home is being toured by realtors and prospective buyers, it will prevent these buyers from becoming distracted by your family photos or vacation keepsakes rather than focusing on the various charms and selling points of your home.

Jodi Bakst has been serving the Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh area for the last 20 years and was recently recognized as one of the 10 best of 2016 in client satisfaction, by the American Institute of Real Estate Professionals

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