Preparing Your Home for Sale

opened wooden door to modern living room interior

An important step in marketing your home to potential buyers is preparing your home for sale. A potential buyer will look for a variety of factors as they valuate your home for purchase, so it’s important to be thorough when readying your home for the market. You can maximum your home’s appeal and marketability by following a few important tips. Your broker will offer additional advice on selling your home when you meet for a professional consultation.

Cleanliness & Freshness

A clean home indicates to a buyer that the home has been well cared for. When a home is dirty or messy, a buyer is more likely to notice the home’s flaws. To showcase your home at it’s best, clean the floors, carpets, walls and windows. Pressure wash decks and driveways. Cleanse unpleasant odors caused by tobacco, pets, cooking or mustiness. Freshen the air with the scent of flowers, potpourri, or fresh baked goods.

Fix It

Fix anything that shows signs of obvious disrepair, such as appliances, plumbing, electrical signals, doors or fences. And if it can’t be fixed, it should be replaced. Potential buyers often overestimate how much repairs will cost and therefore make much lower offers. If no repairs are needed, consider updating your furniture, freshening paint, adding some new address numbers, or replacing the pulls and handles on cabinets and drawers. Check with your broker before taking on too many upgrades, however. You might not get your money back if you take the upgrades too far.

Paint & Touch-Ups

A simple coat of paint can increase the value of your home and it’s often more effective than cleaning walls. Use neutral colors when painting; it will make your home appear larger, brighter and more appealing to potential buyers. Touch-up any dings or dents in walls and doors with putty and paint.

Unclutter & Rearrange

Eliminating clutter gives the feeling of more space in your home and allows potential buyers to see your home’s specific features. Consider having a garage sale or donating items you don’t use. Make sure your furniture placement allows for easy traffic flow and shows the purpose of each room. Remove half of the items in your closet to showcase the optimal amount of storage.


Letting more light into your home will make it feel and appear larger. Lighten up your space by using brighter light bulbs or opening your curtains. A brighter room is also more inviting.


Buyers want to visualize your house as if it were their home, and this can be difficult with your personal items on display. Remove framed family portraits, individual memorabilia, and other personal effects. To maintain a welcoming and lived-in feel, replace your personal items with neutral elements such as a vase of flowers, or a bowl of produce. It is also important to pack up any medication, guns or valuables that you would otherwise keep accessible in your home.

Crank Up the Curb Appeal

The first impression of your home is the most important. Potential buyers have already judged your home before they have stepped inside, so it’s very important to get that first impression right. Pull weeds, mow the lawn, rake leaves, and trim overgrown shrubs, especially if they block windows or the path to your front door. Staging the outside of your home is just as important as staging the inside. Make sure to spruce up the backyard as well.

Keep it Show Ready

It may be a little inconvenient, but until you have accepted an offer, it's important to keep your home in tip-top shape at all times. Each room should be clean, clutter-free, and have a clear purpose. Buyers need to be able to picture themselves and their belongings in a room. If one bedroom is marketed as a home office, perhaps showcase a desk, office chair, computer and bookcase. Create a lifestyle people are looking for.


Preparing your home for viewing is known as “staging” and it is similar to “detailing” a car for sale. Homes typically sell for 7% more and 50% faster if they are properly staged, because staging shows your home at its very best. Whether you follow the DIY steps listed above, work together with your RE/MAX Integrity broker or hire a professional stager, some level of staging is a must in order to get top dollar in today’s marketplace.