5 On Your Side

In hot housing market, follow these tips to help your home stand out

Posted July 12

Thinking about selling your home? You're not alone.

Home sales are expected to reach an all-decade high this year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

If you are ready to sell, there are some simple steps to take to get the most money possible:

First impressions do matter

Take steps to prepare it most effectively for prospective home buyers. Start with the rooms that matter most to a majority of buyers – kitchens and bathrooms.

Clean up

"Realtors surveyed by Consumer Reports said the costliest mistake a seller can make is ignoring grime, odors and clutter," Sara Morrow-Harcourt, with Consumer Reports, said.

Clear your counters and clean your rooms. Tighten loose handles and fix drippy faucets.

If your bathroom is outdated, Consumer Reports says money spent to replace a small countertop or old flooring can boost your sale price by 2 to 3 percent.

To paint or not to paint

Realtors surveyed by Consumer Reports agree that it probably does not pay off to paint all the rooms in your home.

Instead, look at the difference when you cover up bold colors with more neutral ones. Also, giving your front door a coat of paint in a welcoming color can help.

"For about $40 you can buy a gallon of top-rated paint that will cover a small room in just one coat," Morrow-Harcourt said. Interior paint from Behr got excellent ratings for coverage and scrubbability.

What about other areas?

As for the rest of the home, remember that buyers want to imagine themselves living in the house, not you.

"Some things to remove are family photos, personal items, perhaps some specific reading material," realtor Rachel DiSalvo said. "You want to make the home as neutral as possible."

Store the things you want to keep in a garage, attic or basement. And get rid of anything that's not moving to your new place, especially bulky furniture.

Focus your attention online

Consumer Reports says nine of out 10 home buyers shop for homes on the internet.

Don't take photos of your home with your phone. Have someone take high-resolution pictures of every room with a quality camera in natural light.

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