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In addition to deep-cleaning and decluttering, this is an excellent time to take a good look at every room for repair needs and issues. I would encourage you to talk to your REALTOR® to see if they have any suggestions, tips, or resources to help you with this process. My wonderful real estate agents in past years were able to help me with a wonderful painter who's work was great, prices were awesome, and I still use him – many years later.
Speaking of painting, as much as possible, I would encourage painting your home. My personal preference, based on tons of research and advice over the years, is Navajo White or another off-white creamy flat paint for the walls, with a coordinating white shade for the sills. I used that color scheme for several homes over the years and it worked great.
If the carpet isn't fairly new, you might want to consider replacing it as well. I know that most sellers much prefer to offer an allowance for a new carpet. It's easier, no money out of pocket, and they reason the seller would prefer that. As a matter of fact, my personal preference when buying is that I'd RATHER have the allowance and buy a carpet in a shade I personally prefer. However! Studies say that I'm the odd one out as most buyers prefer turn-key perfection, even if the carpet is a really cheap white one that will drive them nuts down the road because it'll show every spot and stain. 🙂
If you're still not sure, maybe this story will help. One friend of mine who helped her large company relocate from one coast to the other several years ago found that those who replaced the carpets before selling sold their houses much faster and for better prices. In spite of her great advice, I put my house on the market a year later with the older dated brown carpet where it languished for three months. Once we finally broke down and put in new carpets, our home sold within a month!
If you are not going to be living in the home, don't leave it totally empty. As odd as it sounds, an empty house actually looks smaller than one with furniture. Even if you don't hire a home stager and have full furniture set out in each room, you can easily do some simple staging on your own with good looking faux plants and a few key furniture pieces borrowed from friends or purchased cheaply from Goodwill or yard sales. (You can look into renting from a rent-to-own company. However, I checked their prices a year ago for a friend and they wanted to charge quite a bit as they had a minimum amount of time you had to opt for. So be sure ask what is the least amount of money you will be paying to rent the furniture.)
We've always made sure that you could tell what each room was designed for – a table in the dining room, beds in each bedroom, sometimes a child's table and chair set if it's a kid's room, etc. I have several Pinterest boards to help all of us get our creative juices flowing including “Sell Your House-Preparation,” “Homestaging is Grand,” and “Frugal & DIY Home Staging Ideas.”
Hopefully, these ideas will help you get started with your preparations to sell your home this coming Spring. And if you have more suggestions, we'd love to hear them.