tipsA recent Consumer Reports survey of 330 real estate professionals painted a clear picture on what can be done to ensure you receive top dollar when deciding to sell your home. With the busy spring selling season here, let’s see what the survey says.

First, you will want to leave yourself plenty of time to prepare your home for sale. While a home that’s in good order can be listed within a month’s time, it typically takes longer to get it done right. With that in mind, at least two months out you will want to get the wheels rolling by selecting an agent. This is among the most critical steps when selling a house, so make sure you find someone with a proven track record of trustworthiness and credibility.

Once you’ve hired an agent, the next step is to begin to identify any large repairs or upgrades that are needed on your house. This could include things like replacing appliances or changing-out corroded fixtures in the bathroom. One other easy and highly-valuable repair/upgrade is to put fresh paint in the home’s high-traffic areas.

After all the major repairs are done, you are now a couple of weeks away and a few minor steps away from being ready.

The next step to ensure top dollar when selling a house is to remove all the clutter from your home. A cardinal rule of selling a home is allowing prospective buyers to envision themselves in your home. That’s pretty much impossible if there’s a bunch of your stuff all over the place. Remove family pictures and other mementos.

You also will want to empty your cabinets, closets and other storage areas as much as possible. Ample storage space is a major selling point these days. In fact, the survey’s respondents said the de-cluterring step can add upwards of $5,000 to the ultimate sales price.

As you near the time to list your home, and it’s in prime shape, take pictures. Either hire a professional or at least use an advanced digital camera. A smartphone camera usually won’t cut it.

About a week out, you will want to give your home one final deep cleaning. Wipe down every surface, vacuum and dust every nook and cranny and your home is now ready to sell.

Finally, list your home online. The best day of the week to add a listing is Thursday or Friday, as statistics show traffic at real estate Web sites tend to increase at the end of the week.

Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to a successful home sale.