Thinking about putting your property on the market? In today’s real estate market, buyers are looking for move-in ready homes. For most people, a home is the biggest purchases they’ll ever make. That means they don’t want to spend a lot of money updating and fixing the property as well. “Staging” a home is easy, cost little to no money, and is one of the most effective things you can do to ensure that a buyer makes an offer. Before you put the “For Sale” sign in the front yard, here are a few simple tips to get it looking better than the competition.

1. De-clutter and de-personalize. We may love our clutter, but prospective buyers don’t! Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, so in those areas especially, make sure there is nothing at all on the counters. This will make them seem more spacious. While you’re at it, remove all magnets or children’s school work from the refrigerator. And buyers want to see space, so thin out crowded rooms with furniture to make the room feel larger. And believe it or not, family photos distract prospective buyers and could make it harder for them to see themselves in the home. Replace or remove photographs. Also, any religious items should be out of sight during showings.

2. Repaint with neutral colors. Do you have a lime green bathroom or yellow polka-dotted kitchen? While a bright purple accent wall may appeal to you, buyers will most likely find it distracting. And if they see too much that they want to change (changes equals work and money), they’ll simply move on to the next house. If a room needs a splash of color, throw a couple bright throw pillows on the couch or bed, or display a bowl of lemons on the kitchen counter. Neutral tones such as beige and mocha create a sophisticated, clean look that helps buyers envision their own furniture in the space. Not only that, but neutral colors photograph better than bright ones. Don’t underestimate the difference a little paint can make.

3. Clean. This will cost you no money just a little elbow grease. Unless, of course, you want to hire a professional house cleaner, which might not be a bad idea. No buyer wants to walk into a dirty or smelly house. It may seem obvious, but your house must shine from top to bottom. Don’t forget the windows, baseboards, sliding glass door tracks and ceiling fans. If you have a pool, remove any debris and have it sparkling for showings. Many of us have four-legged friends with toys and beds around the house. Hide as many of these items as you can. The less of a “presence” your animal has in the house, the less the buyer will be worried about hair/chewing/or suspicious spots on the carpet.

Remember these three easy steps, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll be posting that “Sold” sign.

• Ahwatukee resident Eric Hubert is a real estate agent at Berkshire Hathaway with special emphasis in the East Valley. Contact him at eric@erichubert.com

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