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DIY real estate tips to get your home ready to sell

June 20, 2014 at 11:57 AM ET

Video: Nicole Curtis, host of “Rehab Addict,” joins TODAY to offer some strategies to help you get top dollar for your house. One key secret: The kitchen comes first.

Summertime is the season for real estate, so if you’re looking to put your home on the market, make sure it’s ready to sell. Host of HGTV’s “Rehab Addict” Nicole Curtis is dishing on four inexpensive insider tricks to help market your home and get the best price.

Selling secret #1: The first impression is the only impression.  

In today's digital age, people are checking out your home online before even driving by. Maximize your digital presence by taking as many photos as the listing website will allow, and adding pictures of decorative accents throughout the home, such as flowers or updated hardware.

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With your home's exterior being the first photo potential buyers will see, take an afternoon to spruce it up before snapping photos. Add vibrant flowers, inexpensive shrubs and get that lawn freshly mowed.

“Twenty dollars of fresh flowers makes a huge difference,” Curtis said.

Selling secret #2: Take the home out of your house.

Those photo frames lined up in your living room featuring your family’s smiling faces? Take them down.

“You want people to focus on your home, not your pictures,” Curtis said. “If you have family photos up, they will stare at your photos all day long and not pay attention to anything else.”

Also store away memorabilia collections, personal keepsakes and done town any themed bedrooms, which can be distracting if they are not the potential buyer’s taste.

“Themed bedrooms are not a good selling point,” Curtis said.

Selling secret #3: The kitchen comes first.

Kitchens will make or break a sale, so consider updating yours before putting the home on the market. Curtis says that with kitchen upgrades, you will most likely get 85 percent of your money back, and renovations eliminate a buyers negotiating points (they may ask you to knock $10,000 off the price because the kitchen needs updating).

To make the kitchen looking fresh without draining the bank account, consider adding a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint and new hardware to dated cabinets. If you do have a little bit of cash to spend in this area, Curtis recommends adding at least one stainless steel appliance to give the kitchen a high-end look.

Selling secret #4: Half-empty the closets.

Storage sells, but packed closets make it look like your home doesn’t have much room for a buyers’ things. Showcase your closets by taking half of your belongings out of the closets, then neatly organizing what remains. Another nice touch is to swap out cheap plastic hangers for wood ones, as they give a high-end look to closets.

“The key to selling your home is about 32 Rubbermaid containers,” Curtis said. “The time to pack is before you list your home.”  

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