Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign in the yard. There are preparations you want to make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time. The #1 regret of sellers is that they didn’t spend more time getting their home market ready beforehand.

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to settling cracks in the walls and a worn carpet doesn’t mean a buyer will. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, gleaming hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers are like inspectors, they will see things that you overlook. They will notice peeling paint, a less than spotless kitchen or bath. Decluttering is critical because it shrinks the visual space, and they can’t see themselves and their belongings amidst the clutter. Don’t forget curb appeal like fences, shingles, sidewalks, landscaping. Your front door is the face of your home, spruce it, hang a welcoming wreath. You want buyers to build expectation from the outside in.

Neutralize. Buyers want to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag rug, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, that is all they will see. Strip down personal items, replace bold color choices with neutral tones—beiges, grays, and whites. Repainting and new carpet will make everything look fresh and new, and open up spaces up to new possibilities for the buyer. It’s an investment that always pays you back.

Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to get dressed. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities, add a pop of color in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels. Home staging can freshen the feel of a an older home in a way you hadn’t thought of. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge— done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.