Preparing Your Home for Sale

Your home is, for most of us, our largest asset, so preparing it for sale to get top dollar makes sense. There is no denying that getting your home ready to sell can be stressful and a lot of work. This is a fast-moving market but fixing, cleaning, fresh paint and decluttering can go a long way towards helping you sell for top dollar. 

Most sellers start thinking about selling their home 6 months before they put it on the market. That time frame can be helpful if you are changing out appliances or putting in new flooring. With the current inventory shortages and delivery delays of many building products, planning ahead can give you a better idea of the time line you need to meet your target date of being on the market. For your next step, start looking at your home through the eyes of a buyer, particularly a millennial buyer, as they comprise most of the buyers in today’s market.


Are there repair projects you have been putting off? Now is the time to fix that leaky faucet, holes in the wall, put that missing trim back in place. You want everything about your home to show that it has been well cared for. If you haven’t taken care of these small issues, buyers will make the assumption there are bigger issues that have not been repaired, too. If a buyer attempts to estimate the cost of the repair to reduce their offer amount, they usually seem to estimate at least twice the amount it would cost you repair the issue up front.


One of my sons used to tell me… “You can’t out-clean clutter!” Meaning, if you have too much stuff it doesn’t matter how clean your place is, it will still look messy. Aim for getting rid of at least a third of your belongings from every space – stash it in a storage unit if need be. Go through each room, each closet, each hidden storage area and decide what to store, toss or donate(or, for the ambitious, hold a garage sale and make some extra cash!). Clean everything off your kitchen counters except possibly a coffee pot and toaster. Most homes look better with less of everything including furniture. Pack away all your family photos, collections, most of your books and keepsakes. You want to present buyers with an impersonal, clean area that allows them to visualize how the home may look filled with their own items.


Paint is the improvement that will give you the biggest return on your dollar. Choose a soft color in a light beige tone and paint every room the same color. If you don’t hire professional painters, try, and copy their technique; be neat, cover the floors, do the ceilings first, then woodwork/trim, then cut the edges of the walls with a brush and then roll the paint onto the walls. Wipe up immediately any “oops” spots. Fresh paint makes everything feel clean.


Clean sells. Clean everything well. Make sure the lawn is mowed or snow shoveled. The outside is your first impression. Wash the windows inside and outside, all the light fixtures and ceiling blade fans. Polish all the wood floors, clean the tile floors including corners and grout lines. Get the carpet cleaned to eliminate any odors that you may have gone nose blind to. Then keep it clean until you have accepted a contract.

If you’re thinking about selling your home in the next year and aren’t sure where to start, we are more than happy to come take a look at tell you what projects to tackle and what projects to skip. Oftentimes, people will pour money into a project they think is important, but the buyer could care less! Remember, your goal is to make the best bottom line, and we can help you do that!

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