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story.lead_photo.caption An elegant fixture adds appeal in this dining area. (Design Recipes/TNS)

When it comes time to sell your home, you are going to want to ensure it not only sells in the shortest amount of time but that it also sells for top dollar. What are buyers looking for? While the must-haves may vary depending on the area, some general guidelines can help savvy sellers garner an offer. Looking to place your house on the market? Here are some top tips.

1. Perform basic repairs: Most potential buyers see even the smallest items as worry, work and money. A savvy seller will be best served removing any worry.

2. Deep clean: Many potential buyers see dirt and grime as a sign of a house that may be in poor condition.

3. Highlight your home’s best features: Perhaps it has a gorgeous view, wood molding or trim you wish to have stand out. Reveal, don’t conceal.

4. Neutralize: Many potential buyers are turned off by personal colors.

5. Clear the clutter: From too much furniture to odds and ends, be sure to purge before placing your house on the market.

6. Add light: If you have lots of windows, that is a plus. But if you don’t, adding lots of light can go a long way. Most buyers prefer spaces that are light-filled.

7. Swap carpet for hardwood, if possible: Most buyers prefer hardwood flooring over carpet.

8. Hire a professional stager: Staging involves showcasing a home so it appeals to the most amount of potential buyers. It’s a powerful marketing and selling tool.

9. Paint: If you spend money on nothing else to sell your home, this is the one must-do.

10. Shop your competition: Most potential buyers will not just come to see your home, they will shop other similar properties. You will want to make sure your property stands out in a crowd.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert. Contact her at [email protected] or

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