Selling your house gives you a list of things to do: pack up your belongings, forward your mail, vow to your kitchen sink that you’ll never forget it. While all these things are important – you don’t want your kitchen sink’s hopes going down the drain – the importance of home improvement weighs heavier. After all, before you can leave your house you might need to sell it, and before you can do that, you might need to improve it. The following is a list of the most important things to do before placing your house on the market.


Get a Paint Job: Few things make a house look worse than chipped paint. Whether it’s on the exterior of the house or behind a bedroom door where you think no one will notice, chipped paint is a quick way to find yourself chipping down the asking price. Instead of presenting a house that looks neglected, leaving potential buyers to think that old paint is just the beginning, buy a few buckets, take a few days, and paint whatever in your house needs to be painted. If your house doesn’t need an entirely new paint job, then simply touch up the areas that need some tender loving care.


Remember the Small Things: We often overlook the small things in favor of looking at the bigger picture, but it’s the small things that make up the bigger picture. Not only is it amazing how much an attention to small details can improve the appeal of your house dramatically, but it’s also amazing how affordable this kind of improvement can be. From something as simple as buying a new shower curtain to redoing the mail box, from planting flowers in the front yard to putting new drapes in the living room, the small changes you make can help make the entire home look detailed in more than one way.


Repair What Really Needs to Be Repaired: Improving your house before you sell it doesn’t mean you should go around fixing everything in sight; chances are, everything in your house can use enhancement: it is, after all, used. Instead of trying to improve everything from the floor to the ceiling, focus on the things that really need repairing. If your carpet doesn’t look brand new but good enough to last a few more years, leave it alone and instead replace the cracked bay window in your living room.


Pay Particular Attention to the Kitchen and Bathrooms: The kitchen and the bathroom are two places where we spend a lot of our time, though for very different reasons. Because we spend so much time in these rooms, we also spend time focusing on them. A dirty bathroom or a kitchen on its last leg will quickly ruin a potential sale. This isn’t to say you should neglect every other room in your house, but put twice as much effort into them than you would, say, the basement.


Use Your Green Thumb or Hire Someone Else Who Has One: We don’t all have a green thumb; in fact, some of us have an odd ability to kill anything with roots. If you don’t have a green thumb, or at least some talent with gardening and landscaping, hire someone who does. Making the outside of your house look nice is as important as the inside’s appeal. The landscaping is what potential buyers will first see and first notice and, as they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression.