With the real estate market being as competitive as it is right now, it’s important to set your home and its appeal above the rest of the homes on the market.  All home sellers want their homes to sell for top dollar and quickly. Well, it’s not just luck, the community you live in, or the talents of your real estate agent that will make that happen. It’s all about preparation, staging and sprucing up your home that will make home buyers want to buy it, sooner rather than later, and for the price you’re asking. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your home for sale, turning it into an appealing, dream home for potential home buyers.

1.  Less is more – Make sure to get rid of excess furniture, overflow of kitchen appliances, personal photos and knick knacks that can make you home look overcrowded and much smaller than it actually is. A clean, open environment allows the home buyer to imagine what the home will look like filled with their personal possessions.

2.  Make your home smell appealing – Making sure the home smells clean and fresh is extremely important when it comes to getting it sold. If the home has an unpleasant odor, it can easily throw home buyers off. The sense of smell is one of the strongest senses we have, so you want to make sure the message received by this sense is a positive one.

3.  Classic, not aged – Your home might have been built years ago, but it doesn’t have to look that way. Make sure that the home, its appliances and everything in it looks classic, not worn down. Well maintained, older homes can be more appealing than new one because they have that classic look many find appealing, including lush, mature landscaping in many cases. Make sure that the feeling they experience when they walk into your home is that it is a classic, attractive older home, not old and worn down. This means you’ll need to make sure the appliances are working and up to date, the bathrooms are in good shape and appealing and the carpet and walls show no damage or wear.

4.  Family proof it – A large percentage of home buyers are families with children, or couples looking for a home where they can raise a family someday. It’s important to keep that in mind and ask yourself if you would want to raise a family in your home. Is everything child proof? Child proofing the home is often overlooked however, whenever possible, should be considered.

5.  No smoking – The smell of cigarette smoke is sure to offend and put off a lot of home buyers. If you’re a smoker, make the effort to get rid of the smell. You’ll need to shampoo the carpeting, wash the walls, baseboards and ceilings. Vinegar in a cleaning solution is great for eliminating the smell of smoke, and even though it has a strong smell initially, it will go away with a little airing out.

6.  Light to balance space – Proper lighting is crucial when it comes to getting your home sold. Your home should be illuminated, nicely showing all the positive details so home buyers can appreciate them. A gloomy atmosphere can throw off potential buyers, so add, let’s call it mood lighting, wherever applicable.

7.  Plain white walls – Most of us love color, but not necessarily painted on the walls. People have their own ideas about what color a wall should be, so let the home buyer decide. Keep the walls white or another neutral color and they will be more inspired to imagine the possibilities for themselves.

8.  Carpet Problems – The carpet is a big part of any home, and nothing can mess up the homes appeal like stained, worn carpet. If it’s just a matter of dirty carpet, hire a professional carpet cleaner for the best results. It the carpet is worn, and you want top dollar for your home, it will be worth the investment to have it replaced.

12.  Skeletons in the closet – No matter what is in your closets, clean them out. Closet space is often one of the top requirements of home buyers so you want to show just how roomy your closets are. Home buyers won’t able to appreciate your closet space if they’re stuffed with your belongings.

13.  Proper decorative elements – Flowers or a colorful, tasteful accent here and there throughout can add a touch of color and warmth to a home. This is a consideration that adds a beautiful aesthetic without being overbearing.

14.  Play to the weather – If it is a sunny and beautiful day outside, open up the windows and let some light and fresh air inside. If it’s dreary and cold out, have a fire going in the fireplace if you have one and create a warm and inviting ambience.

15.  Make it Unique – Potential buyers love a home that has unique features. Make sure to play to your home’s unique strengths like the entertainment sized deck, hot tub, alcoves, upgrades, whatever makes it special.

16.  Last but certainly not least, curb appeal is key to getting your home sold. If potential home buyers won’t even get out of their real estate agent’s car because they don’t like the way the exterior of your home looks, you’ll never get them inside.