When it comes to first impressions, the little things make all the difference.

Planning to sell your house this year? Now’s the perfect time to prep it for listing!

Set aside a couple of weekends to do the work, and follow these three  steps. Then, get ready to make a great impression on potential buyers  and cinch the deal.

Step 1: Clean and de-clutter

It may sound obvious, but the importance of cleaning and de-cluttering  cannot be overstated. Here are some ideas to make this process nearly  painless.

  • Eliminate clutter before cleaning: This is the time  to purge your house of unwanted and unnecessary items. In addition to  donating items to charity, consider giving them away through Craigslist  or neighborhood sharing groups. Recyclers are often willing to pick up  and haul away large metal items for free.
  • Deep clean your house: This step will probably  involve the biggest time investment. Get the whole family involved if  you can! Think of this as a pumped-up spring cleaning. Pay special  attention to kitchens and bathrooms, and clean the inside and outside of  your windows — this makes a striking improvement in the overall  appearance of your house.
  • Organize closets, cabinets and drawers: In this case, out of sight is not  out of mind. Many potential buyers will open cabinets and closets,  because they are thinking about storage space. Clean and organized  storage areas signal to buyers that you take care of the house.

Step 2: Make small repairs

Take care of these problems before you show the house for the first time. These are all fixes that you can do yourself. Get a pre-sale home inspection, this can help you find the items that will need repaired.

  • Fix any leaking faucets and running toilets.
  • Replace caulking around tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Freshen up or repair grout as needed.
  • Repair walls and repaint them in a neutral, generally pleasing color that complements your home.
  • Fix cracked or broken windows.
  • Replace or repair damaged window screens.
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs.

Step 3: Go for curb appeal

You want potential buyers to be charmed by the outside of your house  so they look forward to coming inside. Extend your pumped-up spring  cleaning to the outside of your house too.

  • Trim bushes, shrubs and trees. Make sure vegetation isn’t touching your roof or siding.
  • Repair broken downspouts and gutters.
  • If it’s appropriate for your yard, apply new mulch, river rock  and/or pea gravel. This can do wonders for your landscaping and provide  immediate curb appeal.
  • Clean and repair concrete areas, such as driveways and walkways.  Eliminate any oil or grease stains, and clean out any weeds coming up  through the cracks.
  • If it’s seasonally appropriate, put out some pots of annuals, which  will maintain their color for the season. Freshen up your doorstep with a  new welcome mat and make sure the house numbers are easy to see.

With just a moderate amount of effort, you can make your house beautiful and welcoming, both inside and out.

This article originally appeared on Zillow.com

 

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