1. Be Realistic About Your Price. Take a look at the other homes in your neighborhood and nearby areas to see how much they have sold for. Do they have larger bedrooms? More bathrooms? Have they recently remodeled the kitchen? These are things you need to take into consideration when speaking with your agent about your asking price.

2. Try to Be Objective. You may have wonderful memories when you’ve lived in a home for a long time. Maybe you raised your children from birth to adulthood there; or perhaps you spent time there with an aging parent. Unfortunately, a buyer may not place value in your sentiments from the home. Seeing the reward of your daughter crawl for the first time in the living room or how much fun the summers were picnicking under the shady tree in the backyard will not raise the value of your home.

3. Take a look at Your Curb Appeal. You know those windows you’ve been meaning to clean? What about the garden out front that needs to be weeded and re-planted? Remember the driveway that should have been pressure washed 5 years ago? Now is the time to make room in your schedule for all of those little outdoor tasks that needed to be done months ago. Curb appeal is a huge deal when trying to sell a home! Even the smallest of improvements can reap major rewards. The goal is to make your home feel friendly, warm, and clean when your buyer first sees your property. You only get one first impression!

4. Pretend You Don’t Live There- Seriously. I am not asking you to move out. I am asking you to GET RID OF THE CLUTTER. We know you have things and you love them dearly, and we are okay with that. The problem is the buyers are distracted by all of your stuff and they are not seeing your home. With all of your personal items lying around, the buyer cannot envision their things in the space. This means get started boxing-up your photos, knick-knacks, drawings on the refrigerator, personal memorabilia, extra kids toys, and anything and everything you can live without. Make it look as clean and clutter free as possible. The good news is you’ll be halfway done packing by the time you get an offer on your home!

5. Increase Your Closet Size. I don’t mean tear down walls- I mean show how large your closets actually are when they aren’t harboring all the clothes you never wear. Having closet space is a BIG DEAL to potential buyers. The less things you have in your closets, the larger they will look. So go ahead and pack up the heavy coats and ski gear taking up precious closet space. Bonus points for donating items to a charity for people who actually need those things.

6. Maximize Your Upgrades. Sometimes a major renovation pays off, and sometimes it doesn’t. The key is to find what works for your home so that it appears updated but you don’t lose money in the long run. It may be as complicated as a full kitchen renovation, or it may be as simple as a fresh coat of paint, some stylish rugs, and updated hardware. Don’t go overboard if you aren’t going to get a return from it.

7. Kitchen, Kitchen, Kitchen. A great kitchen can sell a home. Heavy cleaning is recommended (yes even the inside of your oven). Clear off the counter tops. Pack up the excess appliances. Clean out and organize your pantry. Neutral paint and updated hardware can go a long way if you can’t do an entire overhaul. Do the best you can with what you have.

8. Always Leave It Clean. Each and every day there is a chance that your home could be shown. If it is not “preview ready” then you could miss out on your buyer. Clear the dishes from the sink, wipe off your counter tops, make your bed, pick up your dirty laundry every morning before you leave. It only takes a few extra minutes if you do it regularly, and it could mean the sale of your home.

9. Go Odor Free. A smelly home can be a deal breaker, so get those odors under control! You may not be able to smell these things because you live there, but garbage, fish cooking, pet odors, and cigarette smoke can all wreak havoc on the interest someone has in your home. Do yourself a favor and have an unbiased person with a sensitive nose come in and tell you what odors they can smell in your home. You may be surprised but don’t get offended, just correct the problem!

10. Hide Your Pets. DON’T lock them in the closet or leave them in the car. Some people love furry friends and some people not so much. We won’t even discuss allergy sufferers. Make sure to keep the pet hair off your furniture, floors swept free of pet debris, litter boxes clean, and animal smells at bay.  If you know your house will be shown that day, make an appointment for doggie daycare or take your pet with you to run errands.  If you can, put away the food bowls and litter boxes during the showing. A friendly pet who leaps on a potential buyer could cost you the sale of your home.