1. Minimize: DECLUTTER! Remove all of the unnecessary items around the house. If it doesn't have a daily purpose, remove it! Box up or store all items you do not use on a daily basis. This will make your move easier and help you get rid of items you no longer use.
2. Storage: I suggest renting a storage unit to store all of your personal items, holiday decor and childhood memories. Buyers do not need to see these items and packing them in advance will make it all that much easier when you move.
3. Closets: Clear closets of unnecessary clutter, boxes and items you do not need at the moment. Donate them or relocate them to a storage unit. Storage sells! Buyers want to see how much storage a home has so make yours as empty as possible.
4. Photography: Pictures can sell your house more than a walkthrough. You want clear, bright images to advertise your home. It is worth the $200 to get professional photographs of your home. A photographer will know how to take the right angle, making the room look larger. They can use tools to edit lighting, make your grass greener and colors more vivid. Before the shoot: remove all personal items including family photographs, hide all cords from electronics and remove all furniture possible. Also relocate cars away from the home.
5. Walls: Always go neutral! Clean bright walls will make your home look new and larger. Bright colors can be limiting to a buyer. If you can paint your walls, paint them white or a very light gray or greige (gray-beige). Clean up trim with a magic eraser or give it a fresh white coat. Patch up holes and remove art and wall hangings that aren't needed.
6. Flooring: If you have carpet you are not replacing, make sure it is clean. Rent a steamer and clean your rugs, sofas and upholstery to remove stains and odors. Make wooden floors shine and remove any area rugs that are stained or not needed, it will help open up the space and show off your hardwood. For hardwood, consider replacing damaged boards and giving the rest of the area a fresh sanding and stain rather than pulling up the entire floor.
7. Landscape: Curb appeal. The first thing a visitor will see is your homes exterior. Remember, first impression counts. Spruce up your yard. Remove all dead plants, replace them with plants that are in season. Clean windows inside and out.
8. Kitchen: Clean out fridge, pantry and shine countertops and sink. You can spend less than $200 on giving old cabinets a fresh coat of paint or replacing the cabinet hardware.
9. Pets: Although most families own them, you don't want a buyer to know that. Remove all traces of pets for photographs and showings. (toys, crates, odors, food etc.)
10. Children: Remove all unnecessary toys, games and lawn toys. Keep it minimal.
11. Group in 3's: Decor items that you are going to keep should be tidy and minimal. Odd numbers are preferable when grouping accessories. 3 Different heights and textures are more striking on the eye.
12. Professional Stager: Hire a professional stager or ask your realtor to help you if you don't know where to start. On average, sellers receive $2 increase in sale price for every $1 they put into staging a home.
Updating is always good but keep in mind some buyers want to redo the home to fit their style so don't break the bank on an entire remodel before you sell.