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Beginner's Guide to Selling Your Home

Selling your home should not just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front, even in an areas as low on inventory as Boston, Brookline, and Newton. Sure, it's a seller's market and just putting the home on MLS and waiting will eventually lead to something for you, but getting top dollar in the shortest amount of time possible requires some preparation and the involvement of a highly-skilled agent. As a seller, you can start with three simple steps:

1. Repair. Over the course of your ownership, I'm sure you've gotten use to all sorts of creaking and cracking on the property. The purchase process is delicate, especially when inspections are involved, so you want to take care of all those little things you've noticed over the years. Fix the crooked doors and cracked walls, landscape the front of the home, and paint anything that looks a little dingy. The property will photograph better and you won't have buyers distracted by inconsequential details.

2. Neutralize. Replace any bold color choices or "statement pieces" in your home with something more neutral—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities. You want buyers to be able to see themselves in the home, and too much personalization can make that harder to do.

3. De-Clutter. You're going to have to start packing boxes and de-cluttering eventually, so make it part of the selling process rather than a reaction to an impending move. Throw away dated items or extra "stuff" you've been keeping around for the right moment. This will help the home present in its best light both in photographs and during showings. Hide any cords that hang out, and tuck as much away as possible.

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