How Do I Prepare My Home for Sale? (Uncovered)

You can increase your home’s value and speed up the selling process by making a few simple improvements. These include cleaning thoroughly, repairing minor problems, staging your home and decluttering.

Buyers will open closets and cabinets to check storage space, so it’s a good idea to remove or store items that are out of sight. This also includes removing pet odors and clutter.

Declutter and Clean

The first step in getting your home ready for sale is to give it a good cleaning. This is especially important if you’ve lived in your home for a long time, because the dirt that builds up in corners and in the cracks of doorways and baseboards can deter potential buyers. Start at the top, with ceiling light fixtures and second-story rooms, then move down to dusting walls and woodwork and vacuuming carpets. Remember to clean the blinds and shades, as well.

It’s also a good idea to organize your closets, cabinets and other storage spaces. This will make your home look bigger and more spacious and may even reduce the amount of furniture you need to put in each room. Remove items from countertops (no one wants to see your toothbrushes and makeup) and keep refrigerators and pantry shelves clean and uncluttered.

When deciding what to pack away, try to see your home through the buyer’s eyes. Knick-knacks, family photos and other personal touches can distract potential buyers and may prevent them from seeing the true potential of your home. If you’re unsure what to keep or what to get rid of, ask your real estate agent or an experienced friend for advice.

Another way to make your home more attractive is to plant some flowers and shrubs before putting it on the market. A few flowering plants add color, and lush green lawns and trimmed hedges signal to buyers that your home has been lovingly maintained.

If your garden is large, you can consider hiring a landscaper to trim and mulch to add curb appeal. If you don’t have the time or money for an extensive landscape makeover, pull weeds, water and feed your lawn, and trim hedges to improve your home’s overall appearance.

The exterior of your home is also a big draw for potential buyers, so be sure to clean your gutters and pressure wash your driveway, deck, porches and other surfaces. It’s a good idea to rake leaves and remove dead branches, too, so your yard looks inviting and well cared for.

Make Repairs

When buyers drive up to your home, you want them to think, “I could live here.” That’s why it’s important to make sure the exterior of your home is well-maintained and inviting. Touching up or repainting trim, scrubbing and washing windows and doors, keeping the grass cut and trimming shrubs and flowers are all easy projects that can improve your home’s curb appeal.

A fresh coat of paint can be one of the best things you do for your home to prepare it for sale. Even in rooms that aren’t getting much use, a new coat of paint can make a big difference in how your home looks to potential buyers. It’s also one of the most cost-effective and easy fixes you can make.

Buyers are often concerned about the condition of homes they’re considering purchasing, and a home that needs major repairs is likely to put them off. That’s why it’s a good idea to get as many small repairs done as possible before selling your home.

Fixing things like scuffed floors, torn wallpaper and dated cabinet hardware is relatively inexpensive and can make a huge difference in how your home appears to prospective buyers. Also consider changing out the light bulbs to LEDs (both from an energy standpoint and because they produce a more pleasing color of light).

You may not be able to do everything that’s on your list of home improvements before you sell, but it’s important to focus on the high-priority items. This will help you move faster to closing because you’ll be less reliant on the flexibility of potential buyers to cover the costs of any necessary repairs after your home inspection.

If you do decide to do some bigger upgrades before you sell, choose neutral colors and materials to appeal to the widest possible range of tastes. This will give you the best return on investment, and it will help buyers visualize how they might add their own personal touches to your home. You should also discuss your options for making these upgrades with your real estate agent before committing to any expensive work.

Stage Your Home

Many real estate agents believe strongly in staging homes before listing them, and some even employ professional home stagers to help sellers get their houses ready for the market. Staging can include a little cleaning, removing extra furniture and repainting dingy areas. More than anything, though, staging a house is about decluttering and removing personal items to make the space feel neutral and inviting to buyers. Here are ways to clean and organize your closet.

Potential buyers want to envision themselves calling your home their own, but it’s difficult to do that if they see piles of clutter, family photos and memorabilia. Declutter your home room by room, paying special attention to closets and pantries to show off the amount of storage space available. You may want to rent a temporary storage unit to keep all of the extra stuff while you sell your home.

Once your home is clean and decluttered, you can begin to add in small details that will enhance the look and feel of each room. One simple way to do this is by using accent colors. Professional stagers and designers often use colors in groups of threes or fives, and these color blocks can create a sense of harmony and balance.

You can also make rooms more welcoming by bringing in fresh flowers and rearranging the furniture to create inviting vignettes. If your furniture is too large for a room, consider renting some pieces to create a more spacious appearance. Adding some greenery to your yard and mowing the lawn will add a final touch that gives the first impression that your home is well-cared for and inviting.

If you’re still not sure where to start, consider asking your real estate agent for advice and assistance. They have a good understanding of your local market and what buyers are looking for in homes like yours, and can help you come up with an action plan to sell your home quickly and for top dollar. For the best results, be sure to consult an expert that has a good understanding of home design and renovations. They will be able to identify any issues you might not have noticed, and can provide a list of all the necessary repairs and upgrades that are needed to attract home buyers.

Show It Off

A fresh coat of paint, a manicured lawn and some strategically placed flowers are all inexpensive things you can do to boost your home’s curb appeal before selling. If the weather is nice, open your blinds and curtains to let in natural light. If not, add plenty of floor and table lamps to dark rooms. This is especially important during the winter or if you’re showing your home in the evenings. Bright homes appear more spacious and inviting to buyers.

It may seem counterintuitive, but removing family photos and other personal mementos is one of the best ways to get your house ready for sale. People touring your home want to imagine themselves living there, and too many distractions can interfere with this goal.

Also remove any bold artwork or other decor that is likely to turn off prospective buyers. This is not to say that you need to pack all of your favorite items away, but you should choose a few key pieces and store the rest.

A clean, tidy garage is another essential feature that will help your home sell quickly. If you have a messy or unorganized garage, it can make your entire home look unkempt and sloppy. Also make sure to clean out any tools, knick-knacks or other clutter that may be scattered around the garage.

Similarly, a pristine basement or workshop is an added bonus that will appeal to potential buyers. If there are any odors in these areas, try using a deodorizer spray. The last thing you want is for a buyer to be turned off by the smell of mold or cigarettes.

It’s important to remove any traces of pet odors as well. This can be very off-putting to potential buyers who may have allergies or simply don’t enjoy the odor.

Finally, don’t forget to wipe down the light switches, door knobs and outlet covers. This is a simple thing that often gets overlooked but can have a huge impact on a buyer’s impression of your home.