It's time to pack up the clutter and put a fresh coat of paint on the walls!  The Spring real estate market has started and according to www.niche.com, Rochester is now the best city to buy a house in all of Minnesota!  (Number 4 in all of the United States!)  We've got a few tips from local REALTORS to help you get your house ready to sell this season.

I've added few tips of my own too.  I've sold four houses, bought three and may have even been in your home at one time.  ;)  Don't worry!  I was a licensed REALTOR in Minnesota and I saw a lot of great homes that were the perfect fit for a new family.

Tips on Getting Your House Ready to Sell

No. 1   First impressions are the most important. As the agent is working on opening the door, what is your buyer seeing?  Make sure the sidewalks and driveways are clear.  Doors that require a "special wiggle" to open aren't so special to a buyer.  Great curb appeal can be even better with clean outdoor light fixtures (no bugs!), new door hardware and a fresh coat of paint on the door.  My Own Tip: make the lockbox easy to find.  I once wasn't able to show a house to a buyer because the seller didn't want the lockbox on their front door.  It was hidden so well, we never found it.

No. 2   Smells.  That first whiff that greets you as you walk in a house...that could be the deal breaker.  Don't overdo it with anything scented.  Many individuals are allergic to the air fresheners too.  One recent homebuyer shared, "don't overdo scenting (candles, etc), it can seem like you're hiding really bad odors!".  My Own Tip:  One house that we bought had so many candles burning all the time that there were smoke stains on the vaulted ceilings...and they weren't smokers.  

No. 3   Paint - keep it simple, light and professional looking.  The stencils you think are cute and the paint color that matches your child's' bright green bedspread - that might work for you but probably not for the next owner.  Create a blank slate on your walls and remove the bold colors.    My Own Tip:  Go walk through a brand new construction house.  Look at the paint colors that were chosen and go copy that in your own.

No. 4  Is it Personal? Put it away. - Medicine, Money, Credit Cards, Jewelry, Photos & Social Media Accounts.  We might think that everyone is honest in Minnesota but they aren't.  You are letting random strangers walk into your home and it is best to put anything and everything away.  My Own Tip:  This also includes photos.  I know it is tough to do but if you think about it, you are moving anyways and need to pack your belongings up.  Yes, you love your family but you can still love them with photos stored in a box.  This includes any cute magnet pictures on the fridge.  I'd also suggest setting your social media accounts on private.  You don't need a buyer researching you because you never know what bargaining power you might give away just because of a picture you shared on Facebook.

No. 5  Your home needs to look like a 10!  Homes are selling fast but you still need to make yours look the best.  Walk through the home with your REALTOR and ask them, "What would you do differently in this room?".  They will probably have some great ideas for you or even have connections to a home stager.  My Own Tip:  During our moves, I usually downsize a lot.  Our closets, I removed at least half of the clothes so it appeared to be larger.  Kitchen and Bathrooms, everything was off the counters.  Appliances also need to be really clean!

Bonus Tip! - I know most of us are still living in the house as it is being shown and some days, you just have too much stuff to hide and not a ton of notice before a REALTOR is pulling in your driveway.  Your car is a very useful storage space.  I usually had at least one, if not more, baskets of clean and dirty laundry shoved in the back at the last minute.

If you need more tips and tricks, here are a few other resources that REALTORS in the area sent me that might help you:

Listen to Jessica Williams weekdays from 12pm until 6pm on 103.1 KFIL