The best way to improve the resale value of your home is to look at it from a buyer’s perspective. According to David Newcombe, realtor with Habitat Urban, “The first step is to take a look at the closest model home in the area. The model home will show you exactly what buyers are looking for. Then go back to your own home and compare your property to the features and look of the model home.

Start at the curb and take a close look at your property,” says Newcombe. “Buyers make the decision to purchase a home within the first 45 seconds of getting out of their car.”

That’s why curb appeal is so important. Look at the roof, the front door, the garage door and the landscaping. “Unless the roof has problems, it is probably okay not to do anything with it. However, simple things like repainting the door and painting or replacing the garage door can add a whole new look to the home,” says Newcombe.

According to Dave Krzyzak of Palm Valley Garage Doors, “A garage doors can definitely add to curb appeal. Lately, carriage-style doors — made to look like the double doors used on the buildings that horse-drawn carriages were stored in more than 100 years ago — are becoming more and more popular. In addition, there are lots of new products and styles including doors that look like they are made of wood, which can be stained in various colors to match your home’s style and color.”

In addition, Krzyzak says that repairing and maintenance of a garage door is really important. “A garage door is the biggest, heaviest, most- used large object in your home, so maintenance is necessary. Having a garage door in good working order will definitely be important to prospective buyers, particularly since the last thing they want is the expense of paying for repairs or a replacement door as soon as they buy the home.”

When it comes to landscaping, Bob Pryor of Pryor’s Better Yards Landscape and Design, says that the Phoenix area is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world, each with its own different likes and dislikes. That makes deciding what to do with landscaping a real challenge. In general, Pryor says not to go overboard, but to keep things simple and clean.

There are some things that really do catch a buyer’s eye,” says Pryor. “Pavers leading to the front door and entryway are very popular, as well as in the backyard for patios. I’ve never had a client want to remove pavers. In addition, a cultured stone façade definitely adds value to your home.”

When it comes to the lawn, everybody has different tastes. “Families with pets and children like real grass, while older families like artificial turf, and putting greens are very popular for backyards,” says Pryor. “As for plantings, people tend to gravitate toward either a tropical or desert look. Families with children tend to prefer landscaping with no cactus or thorny plants, which is why the tropical look is becoming more and more popular.”

Last but not least, Pryor says the hot tubs are very successful additions. “People want their grounds to look like a resort. An in-ground hot tub does add value to the home and makes the yard look like a resort setting.”

Once the curb appeal has been taken care of, Newcombe suggests touring the inside of your home with an objective eye. “The number one thing buyers hate is dirt and clutter. If you have carpet, get it professionally cleaned. Grout should be professionally cleaned as well. If you have grubby floors, replace them. Tile is very practical here in Arizona and very budget friendly.”

Newcombe says a quick paint job (the easiest and cheapest fix) can go a long way to making a home look like new, which is exactly what buyers are looking for. “Choose a neutral color of paint — even if your prefer brighter colors — when painting the walls. Neutral colors will appeal to a broader audience. Then take time to depersonalize your home. Remove personal items and photographs, declutter and do a thorough job of cleaning. Store your personal items until your home is sold. If necessary, bring in neutral décor to fill in gaps.”

Next to curb appeal, the number one way to increase the resale value of your home is with a kitchen and bathroom remodel,” says Newcombe. Kitchens are the heart of the home and should be warm and welcoming with modern amenities. Bathrooms should look like retreats, where buyers can relax after a stressful day.

The final step, says Newcombe, is not to overlook the back yard. “Mow, remove yard debris, clean up pet messes and store unnecessary items. Make sure your animals are not there when the home is being shown.”

Once the changes are made to your home, you must keep it in pristine condition for every single showing. You only have one chance to make a great first impression.