Get your house ready to sell

Want me to take a pre-sale walkthrough of your home? I’ll look at it from a buyer’s point of view. If you’d like, I’ll even bring in a home stager to help your home show it’s best.  Just invite me for a visit!

Is your home ready to sell?

Clean, well maintained homes with great curb appeal and nice decor sell faster and for more money than homes that don’t measure up. You can’t control the market, but you have total control of how well your house is presented.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Just remember that buyers choose their new home based on emotion, and you have literally seconds to create a great first impression. Use this checklist to present your home in its best possible light.

Make home buyers WANT to come in! Think of your yard as an outside room

Some buyers decide to keep on driving to the next property just by looking at the outside of the house. This is where the ‘halo effect’ starts. If the buyer feels the outside is well maintained, they walk in the door predisposed to like the rest of the house.

How does your porch or yard furniture look? Touch up paint where needed – consider it an outdoor room. In face, remember that these ‘outdoor rooms/ can be seen from inside, and can actually make the house feel bigger.
Great-looking grass and trees make a great first impression; studies even show a nice lawn brings more ‘green’ to you!

Mulch – it creates a clean, maintained look for a low cost.

Look at your wooden fence – does it need new stain or paint? So many buyers search for ‘fenced yard’ we know it’s important.

Power wash home’s exterior. Consider painting if the house needs it, or if the color is “dated” – a fresh coat of paint on the outside can give the house an updated look. Even just a new color on the trim can totally change the feel.

Make sure the front door is freshly painted, and consider new hardware, welcome mat or mailbox – make sure your house numbers are easy to see.

Does your doorbell work?

You got them in the door – now what? General tips for every room

Take a run through the house and de-clutter – remember, what seems ‘empty’ to you really isn’t. Need inspiration? Go to a model home, and see how little there is in the way of décor – bet you’ll be surprised! The best advice I’ve heard from stagers is “remove all knick-knacks less than 10 inches tall.”  I don’t always follow this rule, but the point is make a statement with one piece, get rid of the little clutter.  I’d also add that there shouldn’t be more than 3 items on any horizontal surface.

Pack up 30% of your stuff. It may sound extreme, but do you really need everything that’s sitting out? You’re going to have to pack it sooner or later, so why not do it now?

Think about the furniture in each room. Remove anything that jams the flow or makes the room feel smaller. Buyers entering a room, often in groups, need to be able to walk through easily.

Clean or paint walls and ceilings. Use a neutral color. You don’t want buyers to think of your home as “the house with the turquoise den.”

If carpeting is in good condition and neutral in color, have it cleaned. If not, replace it. You get big bonus points for replacing carpet with wood!

Brighter is better. Consider switching to LED bulbs – CFLs can have a blue cast. Nobody wants to look blue, so pay attention to the bulb’s color, too.

What you cook up in the kitchen can make or break your sale – and the rooster doesn’t help

If your cabinets look dated, you might want to paint them. Update the look by replacing your current knobs with new ones.

Does the backsplash or counter look dated? It’s not an expensive re-do, and can update a kitchen fast!

Box up the stuff on the counter that isn’t used daily – mixer, cutting board, ceramic rooster. It will show off your counter space, and make the kitchen look larger.

Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room look larger.

Get rid of the pictures and coupons on the refrigerator door.

While stainless appliances don’t work any better than others, buyers will pay more for a house with them. If your appliances are old or don’t match, consider new appliances. It’s a bit of money up front, but it will pay off!

Other people’s bathrooms are kind of “gross” and in this case, you’re the “other people”

How does the caulk and grout look? You may be used to the black spots around the tub caulk but trust us, it makes buyers say “eeewwww.” C’mon, it’s a $5 fix.

A new shower curtain and plush towels are the fastest way to ‘update’ a bath.

Just like in the kitchen, clear the countertops, and consider paint or new hardware on the cabinets.

A new light fixture over the mirror goes a long way toward making the bath look updated, and they’re really not expensive.

A robe is a personal thing – a bit too personal, for some buyers. Get rid of the stuff hanging off the back of the doors, and that includes towels and robes.

Think “Upscale Hotel” to make the bedrooms look inviting and as large as possible

New bedspreads or curtains are the fastest way to make a bedroom look inviting. Bonus: if the bedspread hangs low enough, you can store stuff under the bed!

Clear the night stands and leave room for one book or a small vase of flowers.

Kids’ rooms can be tough – try to talk the kids out of posters and awards on the walls. Buyers worry that once they come down, the walls will look bad.

Put the toys in bins, and slide them under the bed.

The home office – do you know how many people use this as their “stash it” room?

Ever seen a pretty filing cabinet? Me either. Remove them to make the office look bigger and a bit more inviting.

Clear the desktop to only a computer and lamp. Sounds impossible, but wouldn’t you love to sit down at that desk yourself?

A few ‘office-y’ things are okay to make the office look functional, but remember that not everyone wants a home office – show that the room can function as a den or spare bedroom, too.

The basement and laundry rooms don’t get a pass. Use these ‘less important’ rooms to show buyers that the house is in tip-top shape

You may consider the basement or laundry room to be ‘work’ space, not a place that needs to be staged. When your goal is the show buyers how well maintained your home is, these spaces can tip the balance in your favor – don’t waste a great opportunity here!

Clean the furnace and water heater. Replace the furnace filter. Most buyers don’t know what they’re looking at, but when they see a clean furnace, they have the sense that the house has had good care and maintenance.

Discard, donate or recycle – most home sellers need to start at that point.

If you have an unfinished concrete floor, paint it for a fresh and clean look. You could also consider a big bright rug or inexpensive laminate flooring.

How ‘icky’ does your washer and dryer look? Dried out blue soap spills, anyone?  Make sure it’s clean and bright.

Did you find it all ended up in the garage?

You’ll laugh when I tell you that buyers often comment when a garage looks organized – they assume that means the rest of the house has been well maintained.

Hose down the floor, and get rid of stains or paint it. Believe it or not, it’s impressive to see a clean garage floor.

Paint the walls off-white, add light fixtures, wash the windows.

Organize any storage racks, and get rid of that trash can with the broken wheel or missing lid. Go ahead, toss stuff into it then drag it to the curb for good.

Got a real estate question?

From financing to fences,
I’m always happy to answer your real estate questions.

Don’t be shy – it’s easy to get in touch!

Got a question?
Need a little help?

Don’t be shy!
To talk now, text or phone Chris at

410-963-0025