Preparing your home for sell

In This Article

While there are several factors and market conditions that ultimately lead to the sale of a home there are some factors that are completely controllable that are both easy and low cost. One of the most effective ways to have a home that shows great is by creating a warm, clean and tidy home. Below we’re going to be covering great examples and tips to help your home have great showings! We will be covering interior, exterior, and also cleaning tips. 

Please note: The recommendations listed below are meant to be cost effective and while there are more substantial financial solutions that can increase the value of your home that is not the purpose of this article


Cleaning a home while maybe an obvious item on the to do list for preparing your home for sell it is also under valued. The impression of the same room that’s clean versus not clean can literally make or break a sell.  While many people have vision, some people have a difficult time seeing past what’s right in front of their eyes. Since we can’t make a second first impression it’s important to put our best foot forward from the start. If there’s nothing else you take away from this article, take this section with you. Here are some common cleaning tips. 

  • Dust ceilings, walls, and furniture including art/paintings
  • Neutralize odors
  • Clean all towels, clothes, sheets, pillow case and comforters
  • No dishes should be in the sink and sink should have no beads of water 
  • Wipe down all faucets including shower heads and handle
  • Clean all appliances thoroughly including the interior of the oven as well as the stovetop and microwave
  • Toilets and tubs should be sterilized and have no beads of water or mildew stains or rings
  • Gutters should be free of leaves and debris
  • Front and back porches should be swept
  • Grass and landscaping should be trimmed and mulched. Leafs should be raked, blown and bagged
  • Attics should be cleared and/or organized
  • Basements and/or crawl spaces should be cleared and/or organized
  • Garages, storage units, or sheds should be cleared and/or organized
  • All drawers should be organized, as well as closets
  • Beds should be neatly made
  • Clothes should be properly folded and on hangers or shelves
  • Make up bags, gym bags, backpacks, toys, bikes, work out equipment, tools, jackets etc. should all be in their proper places
  • All garbage should be in the exterior trash can with the lid closed down. 
  • Shampoo and vacuum carpets, mop hardwoods, tile and laminate
  • Clean all interior and exterior windows including mirrors
Please note: that if there are any items left that maybe specific to your home, you will need to exercise good judgement in determining whether or not they should be cleaned and/or organized or thrown away.
During the time your home is on the market, the above items should be kept in constant order. Especially before a home showing or open house. While people may book a private showing and stop by your open house, it is not uncommon for people to arrive slightly early to drive through your neighborhood. You should at all times keep your home in show ready condition so that you don’t miss an opportunity establish and build value.  


By decluttering a home and removing buyer specific items such as family portraits, nic-nacs, hobby based items, tools, mis-matching drapes, pillows, sheets, comforters, shower curtains, etc. I think you get the picture. It will not only increase the buyers positive perceived value of your home but also help them to visualize themselves living there. Leonardo da Vinci has been quoted time and time again saying -

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” 

- Leonardo da Vinci 

It’s important to understand the mindset of the buyer. When you have too many items in your home ie furniture, antique collections, clothes, photos etc. it creates friction that prevents the buyer(s) from being able to fill in gaps. For example: If there’s an excellent and obvious place where a family portrait would go by not having your own family photos there it allows the buyer to imagine their own. 

The same is true for other specific rooms such as a room you’ve converted into a workshop or hobby room. Allowing the mind of the buyer to place themselves into those rooms and fill them up with their own belongings and imagination helps them to visualize themselves living there. That small off bedroom may currently be an office or a place for your treadmill but to an expectant Mother it’s the first room she and her husband will bring their first child home to. The garage you’ve turned into a workshop for building furniture will become a garage to keep the new homeowner(s) 1957 show car in. It’s important to appeal to the greatest amount of possibilities and the most amount of buyers. You can accomplish this by making your home non-buyer specific.

It’s recommended to keep the same color sheets and comforters in each bedroom. Not only does this create a uniform feel it helps the home feel larger. As does similar neutral paint colors. Let’s talk about paint colors. While we certainly aren’t asking you to run and hire a painting professional, we are asking that if there’s a crazy colored kids room that glows in the dark, you may want to spend an afternoon re-painting to a more neutral paint color. The point is simply to not turn the buyer off before they’ve had a chance to warm up to the home. When there’s obvious items to your home that stand out the buyer starts thinking about how much money they’ll need to set aside to hire a professional or how much time it will take to change them. While your own kids love the glow in the dark room the next family may have teenagers. Painting also is a relatively inexpensive solution and also has the highest return value than any other investment to a home (traditional statistics apply some situations maybe different and unique.)

Let’s go into the kitchen and baths now and talk about how to spruce them up a bit. We’ve all heard the saying that kitchen and baths sell homes. And while there are obviously other factors that contribute to the sell of a home these rooms are still very important. While we don’t ask you to shell out thousands of dollars for the latest kitchen cabinets and technologically advanced appliances for a complete overhaul, we do recommend removing any mis-matched dishes, pots and pans, and the drawer, the drawer everyone has, the junk drawer. Believe it or not people will actually open your kitchen drawers and cabinets. No, it’s not that they’re nosy, they’re buyers wanting to find out what kind of space the kitchen has, if there are any issues with the hinges, are the inside of the cabinets covered with a veneer. So it’s important to organize your cabinets and drawers. Dishes should be placed nicely in the cabinets, plates on one one shelf, bowls on another, cups, silverware etc. 

Staging your kitchen is relatively inexpensive. Plus you would be amazed at how far a few simple props will make your kitchen go. Try setting one cook book on the counter next to a white mixing bowl, an international hand soap next to the sink, and one full size pot on the stovetop. 

The bathroom(s) should be stocked with fresh white towels folded and draped over the towel rod, matching hand towels near the sink, and the same international soap that’s now in the kitchen. The shower curtain need not be expensive but should match the towels or can simply be clear. The toilet bowl, bathtub, and sink should be bleached and sterilized. There should be no mold or discoloration due to moisture in or on any of these items. Up next, exterior.


Now that we’ve covered interior tips let’s talk about exterior tips. It’s the first sight the buyer sees online and in person driving to your home for the first time. People call this curb appeal. Today we’re going to cover some simple cost effective ways to give your home greater curb appeal. 

Keeping your lawn mowed is one of the easiest ways to let people know you take care of your home. If the outside looks well maintained the inside probably is too, that’s the rule of thumb. 

Shrubs and trees should be trimmed and if you use mulch or straw fresh bags should be added to the landscaping/trees including for the back and side yards. If you don’t use mulch or straw it maybe time you started even if it’s temporary.  Keeping your landscaping simple and clean will help keep home buyers from becoming overwhelmed by the amount of time they would need to invest maintaining. 

If the siding of your home has oxidation or mildew caused by moisture, dust, or pollen it is highly recommended pressure washing the home and windows, as well as the driveway. 

If there are any obvious disctractions that can take away from seeing the value of the home in the eyes of the buyer, they should be removed at once. If you think it may be a distraction then it probably is one.

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