If you are planning to sell your house there are several things you should do before calling a real estate agent that will help you to get the most money out of your home and insure the quickest sale possible.

1. Remove Personal Items

Personal items such as family photos, knickknacks, souvenirs from family vacations, excessive houseplants, piles of books, pet toys and your collection of two-thousand-and-one salt and pepper shakers may make your home personal to you but your goal is to make your house inviting for another family to move in. By removing your most personal items, it will be easier for your prospective buyer to picture themselves living in your home.

Pack these things away neatly in boxes that can be stored in a closet, basement or attic. Try not to leave the boxes out where they will disrupt the look of your home.

2. Keep Furniture to a Minimum

You want the rooms of your home to appear as large as possible. You may need to rearrange some of your furniture or even remove a few pieces to achieve this. Ask a friend or neighbor if they could possibly store Grandma’s rocking chair, or Dad’s old writing desk, until after you’ve made the sale. Having furniture crammed into every corner not only makes your rooms appear smaller but also makes it difficult for a prospective buyer to picture their own furnishings in the space available.

If you don’t have anyone able to take these extras off your hands, look into renting a spot at a local storage space.

3. Clean Up

No matter what time of year it is when you decide to sell your home you will need to do a thorough spring cleaning. Wash the windows. Remove the dust bunnies from beneath the beds. Clear the cobwebs from the ceilings. Wipe down the baseboards. Straighten out the closets and cupboards. Keep up with your laundry and if you don’t have one, invest in a hamper for dirty clothes. When prospective buyers and real estate agents come in they look at everything and they will leave no cushion unturned.

4. Freshen Up

Look around your home for areas of wear and tear. If your hand railings are chipped, touch them up. If a piece of molding is loose, tighten it. Don’t go crazy redecorating but if your walls are dingy, a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint is a fairly inexpensive way to brighten any room. Wash the wallpaper and glue down any loose edges. Polish the cabinets and while you’re there make sure all of their knobs and hinges are tightly in place.

You want your home to look well cared for and as perfect as possible. Chipped paint and fraying wallpaper will make a bad first impression on a prospective buyer and remember you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

5. Get Good Curb Appeal

Keeping in mind the fact that you want to make a good first impression, you also need to remember that the first thing your prospective buyer is going to see is your front yard. There is no need to do any new landscaping but make sure that the landscaping you already have is neatly trimmed and weed free. Depending on the time of year, rake up any leaves, cut the grass, deadhead the flowers, remove children’s toys and if you have pets, be sure to keep after them as well.

Your front porch needs to be kept tidy as well. No muddy sneakers or left out snow shovels should be in sight. If you haven’t done it in awhile, give a good sweep and hose it down.

By taking care of these things before calling a real estate agent and then keeping up with them throughout the sale of your home, your chances of getting top dollar and a quicker sale are almost guaranteed. Good luck!