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4 things to do now if you plan to sell your house later

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Washington - It requires a lot of time and energy to maintain an organised home, but the benefits of that labour can pay off, while you're living in your house and when you're ready to sell. 

Real estate agents consistently report that potential buyers don't overlook a house's organisational elements and in fact really seem to value them. Orderly storage spaces signal that the current owners have carefully maintained their home. This, in turn, can translate to less time on the market and higher sales prices.

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Real estate agents consistently report that potential buyers don't overlook a house's organisational elements and in fact really seem to value them. Photo: Leon Nicholas

Here are four things you can do that will not only make your home more organised now but also potentially increase its value and help it sell quickly when you're ready to move.

Don't wait to get organised

Don't continue to stash things that you're not sure what to do with in your back basement closet or attic, thinking you'll get to them later. No matter the circumstances surrounding your eventual move, you'll probably be too busy or distracted to properly deal with the contents. Plus, why let all of that stuff weigh you down when you could take one weekend day or a couple of hours each week to get things in order? Consider adding portable shelving in storage spaces to get boxes off the floor. 

If you want to go one step further, use identical, labeled bins to corral like items. Using the vertical space will make the room seem larger, and getting things out of cardboard boxes will protect your possessions and brighten the space. It's okay for these spaces to be filled with things, as long as they look tidy.

Outfit closets properly

Every closet and cabinet does not need to be ready for public viewing at a moment's notice, but it is useful to have your main storage spaces outfitted properly so you're able to keep them reasonably neat and find what you need. 

Don't wait until you're about to sell your home to make your closets and cabinets work well. Small and inexpensive improvements, such as adding an extra shelf or rod and some bins, can go a long way toward increasing functionality and maximizing the space. And sometimes a fresh coat of paint or additional lighting is all you need to make a space more inviting. 

Prospective buyers will open closets and cabinets when they walk through your home, so make improvements that you can enjoy now while at the same time preparing for a future move.

Make smart renovations

The primary goal of any renovation is to improve your home's functionality, appearance and style for you and your family. But if there's a chance you may sell in the next five to 10 years, it is also important to consider whether your changes will be desirable to future buyers. Make efficient use of space and try to avoid trendy changes. 

Carefully consider how your modifications will be viewed by the next buyer. Although it's fun to experiment with new gadgets and looks, trends are only temporarily cool; you may not make your money back. And don't skimp on things like new windows and floors. If you're going to renovate your home, do it right. The return on your investment will make it worth it, and you'll enjoy the upgrades as long as you own the home.

Keep up with repairs

Stay current on home repairs and upkeep to ensure that you don't have to sink a lot of money into your house right before you sell. Keep a running list of maintenance for your systems and appliances – HVAC, water heater, boiler, refrigerator, stove, etc. – that you'll eventually be able to give to a prospective buyer. Maintaining a comprehensive list of improvements will convey that you've been a consistent and responsible property owner. It will also be invaluable to you while you're living in the home.

Life moves fast. It's important to enjoy your home while you're living in it and not constantly worry about what happens next. With a bit of planning and forethought, you can do both.

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