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Thinking of Selling in 2022? Here's How to Prep Your House

A smiling woman dancing around and cleaning her apartment.

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In most real estate markets, it's still a really good time to sell your home as inventory is low and demand is high. But this doesn't mean you shouldn't take steps to ensure you get top dollar for your property.

How can you prep your property for sale to maximize the price? Here are five tips that can help.

1. Declutter and depersonalize

Home buyers need to see your home in its best light and should be able to focus on the property's features when they tour it. They also should be able to picture themselves in the house when they visit.

If you have a lot of clutter, you could end up obscuring features that are attractive to home buyers -- such as a nice fireplace or trimwork. You could make your home look smaller and less attractive than it is, turning off potential buyers. And if you have a lot of personalized details, would-be buyers may be unable to imagine themselves making the place their own.

Since you will need to declutter and take down your personal possessions when you move anyway, you may as well get a jump start on doing so when you list your property in order to make the house more attractive to potential buyers.

2. Take care of deferred maintenance tasks

Many people have minor home repairs they put off because they are inconvenient. This could be as simple as a cabinet handle falling off or a leaky faucet.

Unfortunately, these deferred maintenance tasks can be a turnoff to potential buyers who may fear you've let bigger things slip as well. To avoid having a minor problem turn into a big obstacle to finding a buyer, take care of these minor repairs. Since they'd probably be identified during a buyer's home inspection anyway, it's best to handle the issues upfront before they interfere with a sale.

3. Ensure your home is clean and odor free

A smelly, dirty home is a major turnoff for potential buyers, who may fear the house won't be able to be brought up to their standards. If you aren't sure how to get your house clean and odor free on your own, bringing in a cleaning service could be well worth the investment so the property can make its best impression.

4. Highlight your home's best features

When you're getting your home ready, think about the things you love most about the property -- such as the nice gardens or the spacious closets. Play up these features by including photos of them in the real estate listings and by making sure there's no furniture or other obstructions in the way of buyers seeing them.

5. Talk to a real estate agent before making any major renovations

Finally, if you're considering doing any major renovations that could come at a big cost, you may want to talk with a real estate agent first -- especially if you'd have to finance those fixes using a personal loan or credit card.

Often, home upgrades don't provide a good return on investment. And potential buyers may prefer to pay less for the home and fix it up the way they want, rather than buy a newly renovated property that's not to their taste.

A realtor can give you advice on whether renovations are a good idea to bring your house up to par with the neighborhood or whether you're better off selling the home as is -- potentially at a slightly lower price point.

By taking these five steps, hopefully you can sell your home quickly while making plenty of money to pay off the mortgage and perhaps even have some cash left over.

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