If you're planning on putting your home on the market, consider fixing it up first. Simple cosmetic changes don't cost very much and they can make a real difference to a buyer.
From Consumer Reports, here are four ways to spruce up your home for a sale:
Take out the stuff. You should throw out, or at least hide, the clutter. Pick up old newspapers and magazines from the coffee table and put the shoes away in the closet. Don't let potential buyers be distracted by all your stuff. Homes look better without clutter. They also look more appealing with furniture, so fill any empty rooms you may have.
Polish and clean. You don't want to show a dirty house. Mop the floors and scrub the counter tops. Clean kitchen appliances as well. If it's an older model appliance, a little shine will make it seem newer. If a room needs a fresh coat of paint, then paint it. Try to stay away from bright colors.
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Arrange your furniture. A good furniture layout can change the way a room looks. Try setting up chairs and couches around a focal point such as a fireplace.
Bring in a professional. Professionals in this arena are called stagers. Their fees can range from $200 for a two-hour consultation up to $5,000 for a full staging. Stagers can also provide any furniture and accessories that may be needed. A good resource to find a stager is the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, at www.iahsp.com.