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The 6 Best DIY Tips to Prep Your Home for Sale

It’s common for home sellers to make big, sweeping improvements on their homes right before they sell. But while it’s true that buyers may prefer a kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, you won’t recoup the cost of that major upgrade when selling.

If you’re hoping to sell in the next year, it’s best to put your money towards small changes that have a big impact. Here are the six best DIY tips to prep your home before selling.

1. Pretend to be a buyer and pull up to your house
Imagine you’re seeing your home for the first time. Make sure it looks clean and inviting by clearing the sidewalks, and trimming or updating the landscaping.

Pro Tip: Buyers are naturally drawn to unique front doors, so consider painting yours a complementary, fresh color like teal, red or yellow.

2. Paint only what’s needed inside
Try to avoid repainting every room, if you can. Focus on touching up the areas with scuffs or holes from previous wall hangings.

Exception: It’s important that your wall colors be neutral so buyers can see your home as a clean slate. If you have bold or unique walls, repaint the rooms so they don’t stand out. And yes, this includes kids’ rooms.

3. Wash your windows
Buyers “love” light and there’s no easier way to add light to a room than to make sure the windows are clean. Be sure to wash both inside and outside, and consider hiring a professional if you have hard-to-reach windows.

Pro Tip: You’ll save money and see less streaking when you use newspaper instead of paper towels.

4. Quick kitchen updates
Buyers love an updated kitchen, but it’s not worth your money to gut the whole thing. If you have old wooden cabinets, consider painting them white, and adding new hardware and a chic backsplash. If your lighting fixtures scream mid-90’s, replace them with inexpensive modern versions.

Pro Tip: The cheapest way to create a modern look in an out-dated kitchen is to replace your countertops with — gasp! — laminate. While your current laminate is probably outdated, a variety of fresh laminate countertop options are available at a fraction of the cost of marble or granite.

5. The garage is not a dumping zone!
The last thing you want potential buyers to think is that you don’t have enough storage in your home. If need be, rent a storage unit for any furniture or boxes that don’t fit easily in your home and garage. Buyers may need a certain number of garage spaces for their vehicles or even a boat, so it’s important they see each stall ready for use.

6. What’s not worth fixing?
Unless you’re planning to stay in your home for a few years, don’t bother with an addition or attic upgrade, home office revamp, swimming pool or full kitchen remodel. These projects will cost more than they’ll earn you back upon resale.

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