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Spring is nearly here, and in the real estate world that means home sales are starting to heat up. If you’re thinking of listing your home soon, you’re probably not alone.

“In the spring, school is wrapping up and people start thinking about where they want to be next year,” said Armand Ferrara, Associate Broker with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, The Preferred Realty. “That brings buyers and sellers out after the holidays, especially with spring being the first breath of fresh air.”

If you want to sell your home quickly — and make a good profit — it’s all about staging it right. Here’s how to do just that.

Work from the outside in

Your kitchen island might be spectacular, but unless you can get potential buyers inside to see it, it’s not going to sell your home. Your home’s first impression comes from the curb, and that’s why it’s imperative to make sure your exterior is looking its best.

“Trees and shrubs should be trimmed. Wild bushes should be cut down nice,” said Ferrara. “Make sure the front door is painted and looks good. I’ve had people drive up to houses and say they don’t want to go in. Even if the inside is staged for beauty, if it looks bad outside, people don’t want to get inside.”

Clean, clean, clean

There’s nothing like a good spring cleaning — particularly if you’re selling your home. Before you start staging your house to sell, make sure it’s clean — down to the doorknobs and light switch covers. If you can, hire a professional service to give your home a deep clean. If not, roll up your sleeves, don your best rubber gloves and get to work.

Make it not yours

According to the National Association of Realtors, 77 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. That means making it not feel like yours. If you have a gallery wall with 45 pictures of children and grandchildren, it’s time to pack it up and get it ready to move. In addition to making it easier for buyers to see the home itself, it’s just a good safety precaution.

“You have to think about when you first walk into someone’s house. So many times there are so many personal things out,” Ferrara said. “It’s giving strangers more information than maybe they should have. In today’s society I don’t trust it.”

Get rid of the clutter

If your home could double as a home décor store, it’s time to simplify. Before you list your home, it’s important to make it look as large — and as clean — as possible. Even excess furniture can make a room feel smaller than it really is.

“I go into some houses, and people have lots of furniture,” Ferrara said. “It’s perfect for maybe what they need, but if you’re walking in, you’re thinking, ‘Wow, this place is small.’ You’re not looking at the furniture; you’re looking at a lot of stuff . Put things in storage until the room looks bigger.”

Cozy it up

With the clutter gone, your home shouldn’t be all bare bones. It’s important to set the scene so your buyers think of your home as comfortable and even a little luxurious. If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s stocked with logs. Light a candle or place a bowl of potpourri in the bedroom. Stage the bathrooms with deluxe linens and soaps to give buyers the feeling they’re investing in luxury.

Get the right help

Selling your home isn’t a job for just anyone. You’ll want to make sure you hire the right Realtor to do the job right. Ferrara always suggests interviewing someone before committing.

“Find out what they’re going to do for you,” he said. “It’s a big process; It’s not just putting a sign in your front yard. Is it going to include professional pictures, online listings, print marketing and video tours? What are you getting from the agent that’s going to help sell your house?”

Expert pricing is also critical. That’s where the right Realtor can help tremendously.

“Pricing can be complex,” Ferrara said. “It’s not what your neighbor sold their home for. It’s what yours is worth.”

This article is brought to you by Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, The Preferred Realty - Armand Ferrara.