How to Prepare Your House for Sale

If you’re in the market to sell your home, it may be tempting to just clean everything up and pay someone to stage it before hosting an open house. But, if it were that easy, everyone who sold a home would always walk away with a huge profit.

To make sure you get the best offer, you need to put a bit more effort into getting your house ready to go on the market. It does, of course, involve more than luck.

Let Go of Your Home

The first step is to let go of emotional attachments to your home. This is often easier said than done, but it’s important to think about your home not just as the building itself – but as the people who live in it. That’s what makes a house feel like home, and you’ll carry that with you to the next property you move into. 

Remove all Personalization

Start packing any personal photographs, heirlooms, and anything else that may distract your potential buyers. You want to make it easy for them to see themselves living in your home. That’s harder to do if your personal belongings are all in front of them.

You can leave furniture in place, as long as they are understated. If you’ve got brightly colored or patterned furniture, it’ll be difficult for the buyer to imagine their own furnishings in its place.

Get Rid of the Clutter

You may be holding onto extra stuff because it has sentimental value, you plan on using it eventually, or passing it onto someone else the next time you see them. The more stuff you have in the home, it will be more to pack, and more to get out of the way for an open house. If you’ve not used something in a year or more, that’s a good sign you can get rid of it.

Remove the books from your bookshelves, pack up any other knick knacks, and keep your kitchen counters clear. If there are things you need that you use every day, box them up and stack them neatly in a closet while they’re not in use. It may be a pain, but at least you’ve got a head start on your packing. 

Organize Your Storage Space

Closets and other storage spaces in a home are a major selling point. Buyers want to know what kind of space they’ll have available in a home before they buy, so expect that lots of people will want to peek inside the closets – bedroom closets, linen closet, coat closet, and any other storage space you may have. 

If those areas have things falling all over the place when you open the door, it doesn’t leave a good impression on buyers. Organizing them lets the buyers know that you take care of your things – including your home. 

Organize your kitchen cabinets so that all the cans are facing in the same direction. Stack dishes neatly. Turn all the coffee cup handles the same way. Organize your closets with shirts buttoned and hung together, with shoes lined up neatly on the floor.

Too Much Furniture? Rent a Storage Unit

If you’ve got too much stuff, particularly furniture that blocks paths and makes it harder to get through walkways, then you may want to rent a storage unit to hold everything you can. Typically, homes will show better with less furniture because it helps everything look bigger. If you have a leaf in your table, remove it and put it in storage to make the dining room a bit larger.

Leave the bare minimum furniture that helps show a room’s purpose.

Remove or Replace Things You’re Taking With You

If you plan on taking things like your appliances, light fixtures, and window coverings, you’ll need to remove them before the buyers see them. It’s better not to have to tell a buyer that something that appears with the house won’t be coming with it. This is especially true if the items enhance the look and feel of the home.

Make Repairs

Most of the time, you won’t be able to sell a home if there are certain repairs to be made. You may find a buyer, but you won’t get top dollar. Consider:

  • Replacing cracked or damaged floor and countertops
  • Patch holes in walls
  • Hiring a roof replacement service to inspect your roof and make any necessary repairs
  • Painting the walls a neutral color
  • Fixing leaky faucets
  • Fixing any doors that don’t properly close
  • Fixing kitchen drawers that hang or have broken/missing drawer pulls
  • Small upgrades to add eco-friendly touches to your home. 

Do a Deep Clean

Make sure everything is nice and clean. If you can’t do it yourself because you’re just too busy, hire a professional cleaning service to come in and handle it for you. Then, maintain it by sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming every day. Dust your furniture. Close the toilet lid when not in use, and keep fresh guest towels in the bathrooms.

Avoid smelly foods like garlic and fish the night before a showing because these odors can linger.

Look at Curb Appeal

If your home’s exterior is off putting, you may not even be able to get buyers in the house. Clean up the yard, paint your door and place a wreath on it. Plant flowers, or place some in pots around your door. Consider hiring a professional landscaper to help.

Before showings begin, stand in your doorway and think like a potential buyer. This will help you spot things you may have otherwise overlooked.