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If you plan to sell your home within the next year, the best time to start preparing is right now. First things first, you need to make sure your property is in good condition and a place that potential buyers will remember. Taking the time to prepare your property is crucial when you want to get a competitive price and the sooner you start, the better.

Some projects are necessities and others are good if you have the time and the budget. If you’re looking to get the biggest return by selling your property fast, here are four things you should add to the top of your priorities list.

Slap on a Fresh Coat of Paint

It’s amazing the difference a layer of paint can make. By investing in some brushes and the right neutral colors, you can breathe life into your space and make it feel more fresh and inviting. Be sure not to paint just a day or two before your home is open for viewing or the smell could be a giveaway. Also, use a light neutral that will make a space more open or choose just one color accent wall if you’re going for a more modern look.

Declutter and Eliminate the Personal Items

One thing that most sellers don’t think about is how their personal pictures, plaques and collectibles can really affect the buyer’s ability to picture themselves living in the space. If your home is cluttered with furniture or other items, it’s time to de-clutter and eliminate.

Putting some furniture in storage and leaving bare minimums will make the space more intriguing and will also make it appear larger. As much as it might hurt your heart, you should also take down photos, cards and even the pictures your kids have drawn for you.

Have Your Home Systems Inspected and Maintained

When a serious buyer comes to your home, one of their main concerns will be to learn about the history of the home’s HVAC, plumbing and roofing systems. Failing to have these systems inspected before a viewing or before a serious offer could lose you a sale during the home inspection phase. Be sure to have a professional from somewhere inspect the interior systems and maintain the systems so that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Make Minor Repairs

Homes suffer wear and tear when they’re lived in. It’s only natural for there to be cracked tiles, leaky faucets, holes in the drywall, burnt out light bulbs or worn caulking. Take a tour around the home and make a list of the things that are noticeable and can easily be fixed. Making these minor repairs can make a huge difference.

If you’re ready to take the next step in selling your home, reach out to a First Team agent for a Comparative Market Analysis and home estimate. The sooner you get starter, the sooner you can start living the life you want.

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This guest post is written by Anica Oaks, professional content and copywriter. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. You can connect with Anica here. Anica writes on behalf of Bishop Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, which provides HVAC services in Prospect Heights, IL.