Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign outfront. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get thebest offer possible in the shortest time.

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks inthe walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. Ifyou have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwoodis a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix anysticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issueswith the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curbappeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside.

Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home.If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all yourcollectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do.Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with somethingmore neutral—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will makeeverything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all thepossibilities.

Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time toplay dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that willbring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors,throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture.Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or ifthe exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’sdone right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.