Motivated sellers know that putting time and energy into preparing a home to sell can more than pay off in the end. Getting things clean, organized and up-to-date is all part of the process. But what many sellers may not know is how important the specifics of these changes can be.

How can you know what updates to make? When you replace things-from carpeting to kitchen appliances-should you go with top-of-the-line or more moderately priced?

The most important thing to remember is to make decorating decisions that emphasize your house, not your style. Here are six tips to get you started:

  1. DON’T paint with bold colors: Repainting the walls of your home’s interior may be a very good idea, especially if you have spots, stains or any kind of damage showing. But if you repaint, choose neutral colors that could accommodate a variety of tastes. Remember, your preferences don’t matter here-this is about appealing to the largest number of potential buyers.
  2. DON’T showcase personal mementos: It’s no secret that well-framed photographs can make a house a home. However, when you’re selling, you want to remove yourself as much as possible from the decorating. Take down degrees, kids’ artwork and anything that may overemphasize your personality.  Focus on making your home a blank slate for someone else’s living space.
  3. DON’T install the most expensive appliances: If your kitchen appliances are very dated, you should probably replace them. Don’t choose the fanciest, most upscale products, however. Remember that everyone’s taste is different. What you want to choose is something simple, clean and modern, which makes the kitchen look its best.
  4. DON’T install the most expensive carpeting: If you’ve lived in your home for a while, you’ve probably seen some wear and tear on your flooring.
  5. DON’T fix what ain’t broke: Now is not the time to make gigantic, sweeping changes to your residence that aren’t necessary. Also, don’t remodel features that are already in good condition.
  6. DON’T continue living as you always have: As soon as you decide to sell, you need to switch gears in the way you’ve been living. Put as much of your things away or into storage as possible. Declutter. Clean out spaces. Only leave out enough furniture to define living spaces.

Believe it or not, going into your home sale with these simple tricks in mind will definitively set you apart from the pack in terms of home quality. Buyers will be able to visualize themselves in your home more easily, making them more likely to move towards a purchase.

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