Getting Your Home Ready for Sale

Despite several years of an uncertain real estate market, this year thousands of people will make the choice to put their house up for sale. Even in a real estate climate that feels chancy there are several reasons why you might be considering selling now rather than in a few years’ time; your career path may require you to move or there could be new opportunities in another location that you want to pursue. Whatever your reason for wanting to sell your home now, you could probably use some tips to help you get started. The entire sales process can take several months even if everything goes according to plan. These tips will help you make the most of your time and maximize your earnings when the sale goes through.

Home Ready for Sale


1. Get started early

Begin to prepare your home for sale as soon as the final decision is made. If at all possible, give yourself at least six months to clean, repair, improve, and list your home. This time will also allow you to begin packing at a more leisurely pace; you can organize as you go without a hard deadline looming over you. It can take time to schedule all the necessary appointments, too. The more time you have to work with, the easier the entire process will be.

2. Select a knowledgeable broker

Select a broker that knows your market and that represents many other properties in your price range. Someone who knows the local market well and that is well-connected with Realtor services will have the greatest chance at pairing you with the right buyer. Getting recommendations from other people who have recently sold homes in your area can be helpful but only if they successfully sold homes in the same price range as yours.

3. Get organized

Even if you do not have a lot of time to spare you will need to create an organized plan of action. Map out a weekly schedule that includes time for cleaning, packing, getting rid of items, yard work, and so forth. Post this schedule in a place where you can see it and use it as a guide to plan your time out each week.

4. Clean inside and out

Cleaning is easily one of the most challenging aspects of getting your home ready for sale. This is the time to pull out the stops and get your home clean top to bottom; hire a house cleaner or yard maintenance team if that’s what it takes to make your home sparkle.

This is a good time to start getting rid of things in anticipation of moving. Each member of the family will need to pitch in. Encourage kids to get rid of old toys, books, games, and clothing. Go through those boxes of holiday decorations and get rid of the items you are indifferent about. As you get rid of unneeded items you will find that cleaning becomes that much easier. Understand that prospective buyers will be examining every nook and cranny of your home.

5. Prepare your storage spaces

Now that the clutter has been cleared away you can begin to prepare your home for viewing. All buyers are interested in storage space and they will want to see all the closets and cabinets. You can emphasize the space available by filling each space only halfway. For instance, remove half your clothing from the closet and spread out the remaining items. Closets need to appear spacious and open; items that are neatly organized and not stuffed together will showcase the space to its best advantage.

Storage spaces receive little or no air circulation so a musty smell might be present even after you have cleaned. Place a sachet of potpourri or spray a bit of air freshener in the spaces before showing the house.

6. Make sure your home is well-lit

Do you have a light bulb or two that you have not gotten around to changing? Replace dim or burnt out bulbs with fresh ones; take a light bulb inventory of the house by checking every room in the house, including the closets and garage. Well-lit homes look clean and inviting. You can enhance your home’s natural light by cleaning the windows, washing the drapes, and opening the curtains.

7. Upgrade the little things

Yes, home improvements are investments in your home that have the potential to pay off big. However, you will end up wasting a lot of time and money by trying to make major changes only months before listing. Cleaning up from a major renovation will also cut into time that could be better spent.

Instead of replacing the kitchen cabinets, try swapping out the cabinet hardware for a new set instead. New hinges and drawer pulls can really brighten up a space and make it look clean and inviting. Instead of pulling up the carpet, simply buy a nice new set of drapes. A fresh coat of paint, a little new hardware, and some blooming flowers near the porch can be the inexpensive and easy upgrade you have been looking for.

8. Make the kitchen count


All sellers have heard the saying, “If you want to sell the house, you have to sell the kitchen.” This is the area where you should anticipate spending most of your fix-it-up budget. If you have the time and money available for a large repair, prioritize the kitchen. More than any other room in the house, the kitchen can make or break a sale. Replace old plumbing fixtures, purchase a nice curtain rod, or put in some new linoleum. Update any elements that are clearly from another time; get rid of those avocado green curtains!

If time is short you can always repaint the kitchen in a bright, neutral color. Beige, taupe, light tan, and white are all good colors for a kitchen because viewers can imagine their own kitchen within that space.

Much of your home’s appeal will be based on the potential that people see inside it. A home that is clean, well-lit, bright, and cheerful has a much greater starting potential than a house that is dark, poorly-lit, and not very clean. Remember that the investment of time and money that you make now will pay off on closing day.

Author Bio: Lauren Hill writes for Snipes Properties, a Richmond, VA realty company.

Erin Emanuel