So you have made the big decision to take the next step and put your home on the market. Here are a few steps that will help you to prepare your home for a successful sale.

1. Take a Fresh Look at Your Home

Your home looks great to you, but how does a prospective buyer see your home? First, hop in your car, drive around the block, and then scrutinize your home as a buyer will see it for the first time. First, consider what’s called “street appeal;” does the exterior need to be cleaned or painting? Does the driveway need repair work? Is the landscaping in good, manicured shape? Remember, be very critical; your buyer will be.

Next, pull into the driveway and take a good, hard look. Is the yard neat and trimmed? What about the view from the front yard? Then, walk inside and size up the interior as though seeing it for the first time. Take a tour and imagine what your real estate agent might say about each room, look into cabinets, open doors, check out the bathroom.

Then, make a mental note of the things that might turn off potential buyers, along with another list of the things that first attracted you to the home. Then make a list of all of the items you have done to improve the home since you have lived there. Lauren will take this list and use it to help market your home.

2. Clean Out the Clutter Before You List

Before putting your home on the market, get rid of clutter – closets, attic storage, kitchen cabinets, drawers, bath vanities, and shelves – everywhere. Remember, this is not the time to be sentimental: if you don’t use it, lose it or pack it up to take to your next home. Potential buyers are seriously put off by clutter and personal items.

3. To Sell, Sell, Sell — Clean, Clean, Clean

After you’ve cleared out the clutter, it’s time to really clean. Have the carpets professionally cleaned, strip and polish the floors, scour the bathrooms, organize the laundry room, polish the furniture, clean the inside and outside of the kitchen cabinets, wash the windows and window treatments, and don€„¢t forget to clean ceiling fans and kitchen appliances. In short, clean everything.

Don’t forget the exterior; paint or power-wash everything that needs it. Remember, this is a ceiling-to-floor, roof-to-foundation clean-up project.

4. Get More for Your Home: Repairs Pay Off

After you’ve cleaned the place to within an inch of its life, the next project is making all the repairs necessary to attract a buyer.

So, patch up the roof, touch up all the paint, repair the screens, spruce up the porch framing, and make your entry area really shine. Don’t forget to water the lawn and landscape beds, and take the time to trim, mow, edge and get rid of  dying plants. Inside, fix the grout in the bathrooms and on tile floors, adjust any doors that need it, fix any scratches on the walls, cover any stains, and be sure to fix any plumbing problems. Remember, do what your home needs before the first buyer appears at your door.

There is, however, an alternative to the sweat equity you get from a total house clean-up –but it carries a price. An “as-is” sale keeps you from doing all this work, but a buyer will assess about twice the price you would have paid for the repairs. Then, the buyer will deduct that amount from your asking price before making an offer.

5. Putting Your Home on the Market: Show It to Sell It

After you have cleaned, shined, mowed, and generally whipped your property into shape, it’s time to attract a buyer.

Here are some small things you can do to help attract buyers. For example, if it’s bright sunny day, open the blinds and turn on the lights. Also, open all the interior doors to make the home appear roomier. Remember, you need to make sure your home is available to be seen by a prospective buyer with as little notice as possible. That means less than an hour, or even five minutes, if possible.