Appearances matter when you’re selling a house, in the Atlanta area or elsewhere. If the inside and outside of your house look drab, dirty or uninviting, you will turn off potential buyers. If you have an eclectic or unique style and personal tastes, you risk putting off potential buyers if they can’t look beyond your decorating choices. When getting your home ready for sale, think of it as a blank canvas. Buyers want to be able to see themselves living in the house, so don’t put your own personal stamp on it.

Focus on the outdoors

The first area that potential buyers will see is the outside of your house. Even if you only have a front porch or entryway, spend a bit of time and effort sprucing it up. You don’t have to have a green thumb to put a potted plant or two beside the front door. In the spring and summer, choose annual flowers, such as marigolds. If you are selling a house in the fall or winter, put a small shrub in a pot outside. Instead of a potted plant, you could also hang a seasonal wreath on the door to welcome buyers.

Avoid knickknacks

Take the time to clear out your house before buyers come to check it out. If you avidly collect figurines, picture frames or any other types of tchotchkes, pack them up and put them in storage. You can proudly display them in your new home, but you don’t want a buyer saying “no” to your current one because of your collections of porcelain cats or action figures. Instead, choose a single decorative item to display on a coffee table, such as a vase of flowers or a bowl of fruit.

Set the table

Make the dining area of your home look inviting by laying out table settings when people come to view the house. You don’t have to be particularly elaborate or formal. Set out simple white stoneware or porcelain plates, solid-color napkins, flatware and a wine or water glass at each seat.

Add some color

If you can, stick with neutral colors on the walls and floors, but add pops of color throughout the space to catch people’s attention. For example, you could arrange a few colorful throw pillows across a neutral-colored sofa. Flowers in a vase are another way to add color without detracting from the overall look of the home.

Clear out the bathroom

The bathroom is a small space, but it can have a big impact on what buyers think about the house. Hide away anything too personal, such as your shampoo bottle and your old towels. Only display items if they are in excellent shape, such as a set of new, neutral towels or a fresh bar of soap.

Cleaning and clearing away clutter is also essential when getting your house ready for buyers. Removing extra clothing, toys and other items from your house lets potential buyers see it for what it is.

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