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A stereotypical teenage bedroom—unmade bed, dirty clothes strewn about the floor and posters messily taped to the wall—can look like a disaster area. Sometimes parents get exhausted admonishing their kids about a messy room, so they throw their hands in the air, close the door and try to forget that the room exists.

But that won’t work when selling your home. You can’t tell prospective buyers to stay out of a certain bedroom, and you certainly can’t let them see a room that looks as if a fraternity just held a party in it. A badly kept room can make it difficult to sell a home, so it’s time to take these steps.

Lay down the law. Some parents are fine with their kids keeping a messy room; but if you’re trying to sell a home, your teen has to start cleaning and maintaining their bedroom. Offer to team up to clean the room and, if they resist, set a deadline. Let your teen know that if the room isn’t cleaned by the deadline, you’ll go in and clean it yourself—and no teenager will want that.

Clear out the excess. Are childhood toys and old clothes filling your teen’s closet? This is the perfect opportunity to get rid of things that haven’t been used in a while. Create throwaway and donation piles, and keep things that are useful or have sentimental value. This not only makes the room look better, it will cut down on what has to be packed up when you move.

Clear the walls. Teens hang all sorts of things on walls: posters, pictures, artwork, notes from friends, etc. While these can be special to your child, it’s important to keep homebuyer appeal in mind. Just as you’re supposed to take down personal photos when staging a home, these types of things need to be taken down, as well. Posters of your kid’s favorite band can be distracting for homebuyers trying to picture their own furniture and decorations in the room. Explain to your teen why this needs to be done, and promise to spend some time and money on decorating their future room.

Clean it thoroughly. Give the room a good dusting and cleaning. Clear items such as jewelry boxes, trophies and decorative items from dressers, nightstands and desks—and dust all surfaces, walls and corners. Vacuum carefully; clean under the bed, in all corners and go behind the dresser and desk.

Consider a paint job. After you’ve cleared the walls of posters and other unsightly decorations, you may notice areas that are washed out or where paint has peeled. And perhaps the color is outdated or too loud. Painting the walls is another effective and affordable way to make a room look better.

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