by Isabel Jones, realtor, Dwell Realty Group

Now is a great time to be selling a home. With housing prices at a recent high, it’s no wonder that about 5.3 million homes are expected to change hands in 2015, up about 30 percent from the bottom of the crash, according to the National Association of Realtors.

So how do you make the most money when selling your home ? Here are five tips to help you get top dollar for your home and to help it sell fast.

Living Room
Curb appeal: First impressions matter. No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Before scheduling a showing, potential buyers usually look at photos on online listings or drive by to decide if it is worth their time to look inside. Keeping up on your landscaping goes a long way. Have your grass mowed and flower beds weeded. An affordable way to add a pop of color to your exterior is to add new flower arrangements, paint your front door an accent color or place colorful patio furniture on your porch. These simple steps will make buyers curious to see what’s inside.

Remove clutter and deep clean: Potential buyers need to envision themselves living in your house. If the space is cluttered, they won’t be able to see past the chaos. Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half of the stuff out of your closets and then neatly organize what’s left. Potential buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy. Simplify all accessories and furniture in each room and store or throw away unnecessary items. Also, give your house a good scrubbing inside and out. This includes cleaning bathrooms, putting out fresh towels, making mirrors sparkle, shampooing carpets, wiping down everything and ensuring the air is fresh by opening windows occasionally, taking out trash and cleaning animal areas.

Paint, paint, paint: Nothing delays a house sale more than the wrong paint color. Paint is relatively simple to apply or change, but the wrong color inside or out can turn a buyer off from the entire house. To prevent this, paint your home in neutral colors. Also be sure to touch up paint throughout the house. If a potential buyer sees worn out walls and trim, they will question how well the house has been maintained.

Furniture layout: The layout of furniture helps potential buyers see the use and size of each space. Having too much furniture or an awkward use of space will limit the potential of the house. Rearrange furniture to show how each space can be utilized to its fullest. Avoid having too much furniture in any one room. Keep walkways clear to allow traffic flow. Repurpose rooms to show purpose. For example, if you have a four-bedroom house, consider showing one bedroom as an office or playroom. This will eliminate repetition and make the house feel larger.

Let there be light: Maximize the light in your home. Second to location, good lighting is one thing that most buyers say they are looking for in a home. Before a potential buyer comes to view your house, open all window coverings to expose as much natural light as possible, clean windows, replace all burned-out or broken light bulbs and increase the wattage if necessary and turn on all lights so they feel welcome. A good rule of thumb is for each space to have three types of lighting: ambient, task and accent.