Selling your house shouldn’t have to be a long, drawn out affair. In fact, the quicker you sell the more likely you are to get the price you’re seeking. Homes that stay on the market, unsold, for an extended period of time are usually tougher to move. But while it’s important to sell fast you don’t want the sale affected by poor planning. That’s why it’s critical to enter the market smart, putting your best foot forward when it comes to prepping the home to sell. So before you get started, it’s good to have a properly prepared strategy towards setting a price and getting the house ready to show potential buyers. You may need to do some research on how to achieve all of this and, luckily, you can start right here, with these seven tips to help you sell your home fast.

1. Get an Appraisal

Bringing in a professional to appraise the home is a good start for most homeowners who are looking to sell. It gives you an overall impression of what the house is worth, taking into account the condition of everything both inside and out. You may want to do some remodeling, some renovating, and of course, a whole lot of cleaning and fixing things up to make the home presentable. But getting the appraisal before you do all of that will give you an idea of how much work you want to do and what that will cost in order to get the price you have in mind.

2. Setting the Price

There’s a common belief about pricing that one should start high and then drop the price if the house doesn’t sell. But that can actually hinder the transaction and keep the house on the market for much longer than intended since realtors and the buyers they represent won’t believe the price is realistic. They will think you’ve set the price too high because you’re not really interested in selling or that the price is firm and negotiation is out of the question. In order to sell quicker, set a reasonable initial price based on what the home is worth and how much you may have spent on any makeover or renovation.

3. Clean Up the Landscaping

When you’re selling your home, the first thing anyone is going to see is the exterior. That means the landscaping needs to be well kept and detailed before it hits the market. So trim and prune the shrubs, trees, grass, all of the greenery surrounding the home. A property marked by overgrown weeds and shrubbery presents a terrible first impression. It makes buyers wonder if the outside looks this bad, what could the inside possibly look like?

4. Exterior Paint

As important as it is for the trees and bushes to look properly cared for, it’s even more crucial for the exterior of the house to look good. Depending on the state of the dwelling, it might be as easy as repainting the outside of the house or you may need to do some additional work repairing and replacing noticeable areas of wear and tear. Major damage will have to be addressed, you can’t leave broken shutters or splintered wood or glass as is, you really should have those problems fixed. Remember, like the trees and grass around it, if the first thing you buyers see is a rundown property, they’re going to run for the hills.

5. Tidying the Interior

Once you have the outside handled, it’s time to take a look around at the inside. Maybe it’s time for an upgrade, a fresh coat of paint, maybe replacing some fixtures that have been in the home since the Clinton Administration. Whatever the case may be, take a good long look and decide what you want to update and what you can leave alone. If you plan to paint, then keep things neutral and don’t start repainting rooms in loud colors that you may prefer but your prospective buyers might not appreciate. Beige or white is best because it allows the new owners to repaint as they please. Re-doing the bathroom or the kitchen in a dark green is not a good idea.

If you’re going to make some changes in the home, start with the kitchen. It’s the most popular and widely used room in the house and it will be the first place realtors will bring a buyer. So presenting it in the best light possible is going to let your buyers imagine themselves living in this room. Neglecting to update it or freshen it up will only make your buyers think of how much more they’re going to need to spend to get it where they want it to be. That could impact the amount of their offer or even kill the sale entirely.

6. Remove Yourself from the Home

Regardless of the extent of any makeover you might perform, you want to get as many of your personal effects out of sight. Potential buyers want to imagine what the home looks like with them living in it, not you. So any artwork, collectibles, knick-knacks and other personal items should be removed. Try to clean out some closets and eliminate any clutter as well. The less stuff that your buyers need to walk around and avoid in order to see the home, the better.

7. Be Ready to Show

You want to sell fast, you’ve put a lot of time and effort into preparing the home for viewing, so make sure you have the flexibility to show it to all of your potential buyers at a moment’s notice. That might mean having people come over at nine in the morning or nine at night. The more flexible you are about your schedule, the quicker you can sell the house. In addition, allow your buyers and their realtor to have some privacy when walking around the home. Whether you need to leave the house entirely to let them have that freedom or just walk outside while they’re inside, it will give your buyers the ability to talk amongst themselves.