If you’re gearing up to sell your house, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount that has to be done. From cleaning every inch to painting everything a neutral color, it can seem like selling is more of a hassle than what it’s worth. And will all the hard work pay off? While there are endless articles written about everything you need to do before selling, some factors hold more weight than others. Here are the five most important things to know before putting your house on the market.

It’s Not Personal

Those neutral colors are recommended for a reason. When selling a home, you want a potential buyer to be able to imagine themselves in the space. A love for red in the dining room may have been perfect for you, but a potential buyer may not be able to envision themselves in the space. The same goes for personal belongings. If pictures of your family, mementos, and knick-knacks are scattered about the home, it blocks the buyer from seeing their family in the space.

Additionally, outdated fixtures and furniture can distract people from the possibilities that lie in every inch of the house. Small, inexpensive measures can be taken to update the home in an impactful way. Most experts agree that, if it’s in the budget, hiring a professional stager to design the home is good step to take.

Early Bird Gets the Worm

Many first-time sellers don’t know that the process takes as long as it does. If you want your home on the market in October, you should begin the process as early as sixty days before listing. In this time, meet with real estate agents, research the local market, and begin the upgrading and staging process.

Another thing to do in those sixty days? Start taking high-quality images of your home. Photos that are grainy, blurry, or improperly angled all play a big role in the amount of inquiries your home receives. The process is long in general, but the more prep time you allow yourself before actually putting your home on the market, the less stressful it will be.

Light It Up

People are affected by light more than they know. Lighting is often the difference between a popular versus an unpopular retail store, and for good reason. The light that occupies a space plays a major role in how we perceive the space. It’s the reason hospitals are so bright. It imparts a clean and sterile feeling.

The same principle applies to homes. Natural lighting is key, as is warm lighting for an evening open house. Natural and warm lights make a space feel fresh and cozy, respectively, which is what homes should feel like. Selling your house is all about making someone feel like they could live here and lighting plays a big part of that vision.

What You See is What You Get

When the exterior of the house leaves a lot to be desired, you’re pushing away customers before they even walk through the door. Make sure the house has been pressure-washed, weeds have been pulled, and that the yard is clean and tidy. Put out some flowerpots and a doormat and fix the cracked concrete stepping stone that’s been forgotten about.

It’s important to remember that the goal of a potential buyer being able to picture themselves living in a space extends to the exterior of the house. You want to buyer to be able to imagine themselves throwing a ball to their dog, sitting on the porch looking at the flowers, or playing catch with their kids.

Getting Emotional

You’re changing everything about the house you’ve lived in to disrupt the reflection of your family. Home’s see a lot of personal and life changes. Kids grow up. Promotions and dreams come true. Now you’re painting over growth notches in the door frame and taking down graduation pictures.

Taking away the personality in your house isn’t personal, but it is emotional. Remember that it’s okay for the process to feel emotionally overwhelming. That’s another reason to take your time. The more time you invest in the process of selling, the less painful it’s going to be when you sell because you’ve had time to process the experience.

Take a deep breath, finish ordering the bulk packing boxes, and concentrate on the aspects of selling a home that you can control. As long as you keep these five important aspects in mind, you’ll have an easier time saying goodbye to the space you called home for years.