Selling your home can bring up a lot of different emotions – maybe it’s the memories you’ve had there or just the upcoming stress of moving causing your head to spin. But one thing is for sure, if you’re putting your house on the market, you want to get top dollar for it. After all, a home can often be your most expensive asset, which is why it’s even more important to educate yourself to make the best decisions about your real estate.

To get the process started, here are some tips to follow before putting your house on the market to ensure you’re getting the most value from it:

  • Mentally Prepare Yourself: remember why you decided to sell your home in the first place. Most people feel attached to their home, and rightfully so. However, when the time comes to sell, it’s important to disassociate yourself from it, which can be much harder said than done.

    o Tip: create a personal mantra when you find yourself falling into a downward spiral and second-guessing your decision. Something as simple as, “This is our house, not my home. We will build our new home in our next place.” Or perhaps ask a spouse or family member to be there to talk to for emotional support.

  • Thoroughly Clean: of course if you’re looking to sell, your house needs to be presentable. But this doesn’t just mean your standard wipe-down. From the windows to the driveway to the trim around a room, every nook and cranny should be accounted for. This does make a difference when someone is walking through and picturing whether they can live there or not.

    o Tip: hire an outside cleaning company to deep clean your house. This may sound silly since you’re looking to move out, but having this thorough cleaning job can help make a good first impression to potential buyers.

  • Declutter and Depersonalize: in addition to cleaning, it’s also time to clean out and put things away. Anything that may distract from the home should be removed – this can include photographs, bright colored walls or any other unique décor.

    o Tip: consider renting a storage unit. Keep in mind, you’ll need to pack this stuff up anyway when it’s time to move, so why not get a jump start on boxing it up? Keep it in a storage unit so it’s out of the way and your home feels clean and organized.

  • Prepare for Snoopers: although it’s odd to think of strangers snooping through your personal spaces, when your house is on the market, that’s fair game. Instead of shoving miscellaneous items into closets, find a more suitable spot for it. Keep in mind, this is a big purchase for the next owner, so they will want to open cupboards, closets and storage areas to understand the space. It’s important to show how well kept these areas are, in addition to the rest of the house.

    o Tip: if you feel uncomfortable with this concept, talk to your listing agent. You can even request him or her to be present during showings for an extra layer of comfort.

  • Hire a Real Estate Agent: speaking of your listing agent, if you haven’t already, hire a real estate agent. This person will help you through the entire process of selling your home, including decisions on exactly how to get your particular home ready to list. Ensure you do your due diligence in hiring the best fit – from personality to understanding the local market, there are a lot of different factors to consider.

    o Tip: interview several real estate agents before making your decision. You may even ask the agent to run a comparative market analysis to see specific numbers on your property, to help set expectations on the price before deciding on your next steps.

If you aren’t quite ready to sell your home but are considering a large renovation project, you should also be mindful of what home improvement projects add the most value to your home when you decide to sell. Some projects have a better chance of gaining the investment back when you decide to sell your home in the future, including: (1)

  1. Remodeling the Kitchen: according to HGTV, you can expect to recoup 60%-120% of your investment on a kitchen remodel
  2. Bathroom Addition: especially relevant if your home only has one bathroom. It’s estimated you can recoup 80%-130% of the cost
  3. Building a Room: adding on square footage and an extra room to the home can recoup anywhere from 50%-83%, depending on the layout and home. Some properties can even install an ADU or granny flat with its own entrance and can be used as rental income, significantly increasing the overall property value.
  4. Adding Energy Efficient Windows: adding energy efficient windows can save up to $500 a year in heating and cooling costs, helping you recoup 60%-90% of the investment to install energy efficient windows.
  5. Deck Addition: outdoor living spaces are appealing to prospective buyers, recouping 65%-90% of the investment

Considering the average homebuyer stays in their home for 13 years before moving, it’s important to understand how to get the most value out of your current and future properties.(2) As the saying goes, “when one door closes, another one opens…” and that should also include getting the best price on your house when the time comes to sell. By following these steps, it should help keep you on the right path to do so.