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To sell your home fast and for top dollar requires a lot of up front work! The quickest way to sell any property is to declutter and stage, i.e. make it look like it belongs in a magazine.

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The following checklist should help you remember the little details that can make a big difference:

  1. Finish all unfinished projects such as painting, hanging curtains, updating switch plates, door knobs, etc.
  2. Touch up any warn, scratched, or scuffed paint.
  3. Wash all marks off of walls, including the baseboards.
  4. Clean the fireplace. If it is a gas fireplace rinse off the rocks and fake logs.
  5. Clean out closets, bookcases, and all areas of storage. Sell or donate anything that is no longer useful to you.
  6. Clean appliances such as the refrigerator and oven.
  7. Start packing. Pack all excess knick-nacks, books that aren’t read often, personal pictures. Clear surfaces of loose papers and unnecessary personal items.
  8. Make sure all lights are in working order.
  9. Arrange furniture to create well defined, spacious areas in the home that show off unique aspects such as a fireplace or great view.

The biggest and most challenging step is probably #7. Here are some things to consider for this step:

  1. You will need a place to store everything that you have packed. Many people rent a temporary storage unit for this.
  2. Remove photos of family. It helps perspective buyers imagine themselves in the home and keeps your privacy.
  3. Consider very carefully what you actually use that sits out. For example, on an average day my desk has on it, loose papers, nail polish, pens, pencils, highlighters, envelopes, a tin of paperclips, etc. These are all common items to have on a working desk, but they are all very small and therefore look like clutter when they are all visible. If I were staging my home all of these items would be placed in a drawer. I might keep a few pens and a small pad of paper on the desk along with my laptop, but that would be it.
  4. Carefully declutter your bookshelves. If you have books with beautiful bindings keep those out, but most books can be packed away. The shelves can then be used to display some knick-knacks and the prettiest books.
  5. If you have an open liquor cabinet pair it down. Keep visible only the essentials for your favorite one or two cocktails.
  6. Store away out of season clothes. Even if you don’t normally do this, it will help your closet look spacious.
  7. If you are an art lover take care with how you have curated your walls. Art can certainly help highlight the architecture of a home or brighten it up with color, but it’s best if your art and the space on your wall are in sync. This means the walls shouldn’t be so full of art that you can’t see the color of the paint, but the wall shouldn’t dwarf your art either.

If you can plan ahead, give yourself a few months to do these projects. Good luck with your sale!


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