Preparing Your Home For Sale

Steps in Preparing Your Home for Sale

Take a deep breath. Step back. Preparing your home for sale is not always easy. It’s time to see your home through the eyes of a prospective buyer’s. So, try to forget all the wonderful times you’ve had here. Detach and start trying to think of it as someone’s future home.

We want buyers to be drawn to your home’s features, its spaces. We want them to be able to see themselves there. Unfortunately, this means putting away a lot of those touches that express your personality and identifies it as your house.

Now, with that out of the way, we can talk about some easy things you can do to improve your home’s magnetism and get you prepared to show your home.

Curb Appeal

Close your eyes and imagine your house will be photographed for Home & Garden. You want everything to look perfect, right? Buyers also love homes that look like they could stand proudly in the pages of Home & Garden, so…

  • Remove all clutter. Put away the kids’ toys, get those trashcans out of sight. Tidy up your porch and patio spaces and remove any old or dated patio furniture.
  • Green grass invites images of picnics and summer lounging. Keep the yard trimmed and raked. Adding a little fertilizer to make that grass just a bit greener can go a long way.
  • Keep your shrubbery and hedges trimmed, especially around walkways.
  • Give those doors a new coat of paint or give them a good cleaning if they’ve been painted or stained recently.
  • Don’t forget the garage door. Clean the door or repaint it (if it’s beginning to show wear and tear). Though you’ll want to have your garage door closed during showings, be sure that it opens smoothly, as buyers love to test the home’s features.
  • Check all of your exterior lights and change light bulbs if needed.
  • Clean your windows so they sparkle and make sure that they open easily. Buyers love to inspect windows and views.
  • Make sure that your gutters and downspouts are clear. No, buyers don’t often look too closely at the gutters, but if we get weather during the showing, we want to be sure buyers aren’t walking out into a pile of old, slimy leaves and sticks.
  • Dress up your walkways with some blooming plants or a few planters. Make sure to keep those walkways clean and clear.

Around the Home

These requests are a bit more difficult. In preparing your home for sale, a balance has to be struck between a home that’s warm, inviting and feels good to buyers and a completely blank slate. Throughout the home, try to

  • Remove family photographs. This puts you in the home instead of the buyer and we want the buyer to imagine themselves there.
  • Remove any furniture that may impede traffic flow through the home. If a buyer has to step around something, they often feel like a room isn’t as big as it is. The more open floor space you can create, the bigger the house will feel.
  • Switch to neutral colors as much as possible. Repaint rooms to neutrals, remove wallpaper (especially if its dated or heavily patterned). This helps buyers look at the room and not be distracted by a decorating choice. Neutral colors also make rooms look bigger.
  • Spruce up the carpet. If your carpet isn’t it great shape, but you can’t afford to replace it, get it steam cleaned.
  • Repair any damage to walls and floors. Even if the damage is minor, buyers often shy away from work (no matter how minor).
  • Replace and update light fixtures. If this isn’t in your budget, make sure the light fixtures are clean and all the lights in the house are operational so that the home feels bright and open.
  • Clean up those closets. A closet that’s stuffed to the gills makes the closet space look inadequate. As much as you can, move things out of the closet and into the attic to show buyers that there’s more than enough storage room.
  • If necessary re-arrange furniture to eliminate any exposed wires or extensions cords. These tend to make the house look cluttered and also makes buyers wonder if the outlets are adequate.


  • Replace or clean the caulk so that it’s bright white.
  • Replace or repair all broken and cracked tile.
  • Replace or repair dated or damaged floors.
  • Repair dripping water faucets, or update them.
  • Clean light fixtures to get the best light, or update them.
  • Remove any trace of mildew and make sure the grout is clean as can be.


  • New cabinet fixtures can go a long in updating the look of a kitchen. They’re not necessary, but an easy and budget-friendly way to spruce up the kitchen a bit.
  • Update light fixtures, if necessary. You can also consider adding light to the kitchen with the under-mount cabinet lights or pendent lights along an island. A bright kitchen is very inviting.
  • Replace dated faucets.
  • If cabinets are a bit worn, consider refacing or repainting to give them a fresh, new look.

Just Before a Showing

Showing a home can be a hectic time. Before we go over the to-do list, make sure you and your family have a plan for what happens during showing. If you divide up tasks and duties, the hour before showing will be a lot less stressful.

  • Clean, clean, clean. Make sure everything is dusted and vacuumed and the bathrooms and kitchen are sparkling.
  • Open up the windows and doors to let some fresh air in.
  • Spray some air freshener around the house to amplify that just-cleaned smell.
  • Turn on all the lights. This makes the house brighter, airier and more inviting.
  • Hide exposed wires and extension cords. These tend to make the house look cluttered and also makes buyers wonder if the outlets are adequate.
  • Open the curtains and draw the shades to let as much natural light in as possible.
  • Pick up any clutter and clear off counter spaces in the bathroom and kitchen. This should include storing small kitchen appliances.
  • Open doors to areas you want buyers to explore.
  • Make the beds in all the bedrooms.
  • Put out fresh towels and decorative soaps in the bathrooms.
  • Empty the dishwasher and put dishes away. Make sure cabinets are tidy and everything is clean.
  • Remove any personal notes from the face of the refrigerator.

Of course, we’re happy to help you in preparing your home for sale and guide through the showing process. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns.