Prepping your home for sale

Jenny Rogers

While working on our April cover story we spoke with Colleen Lora of Colleen Lora Designs & Staging about prepping your home for sale. As a realtor and a home stager, she knows a thing or two about what sells. Here's some of her insider advice.

"One of the newer trends-for homes more than 10 years old-is to do a preliminary home inspection," Lora says. "Especially for older homes, it's a good idea to inspect before putting it on the market. This way, you can identify any issues that would otherwise come up later." After all, no one likes a bad surprise.

"Buyers snoop-it's just human nature," she adds. Before showing your home, clean out medicine cabinets and safely store jewelry.

According to Lora, vacant homes do not look bigger-or sell faster. "I've never seen a vacant home sell for more than a well-staged home," she says. "It looks desperate … people will think you've already moved out and are eager to sell. And they'll focus on every little negative thing." If you need to empty your home, stage it and give potential buyers something to look at.

Finally, says Lora, "inspectors and appraisers are more likely to appraise a home at full value if it looks well taken care of."