6 Things Every Homeowner Needs to Do Before Selling

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By guest Author Suzie Wilson:


Successfully selling your home takes a little more work than simply listing it and waiting. A few preparations can go a long way toward drawing in potential buyers and gaining more favorable offers from them. This doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. In fact, some of the most impactful upgrades to your home are also the simplest. Whip your home into shape and get ready to make a great first impression.

1. Remove Personal Items

Staging your home for sale means depersonalizing it so that potential buyers can picture their own lives there. No one wants to hear that their personal touch is unwelcome. But, remember that you're selling your home, not your style. Start by ridding your home of clutter to make the rooms feel larger and lighter. Remove personal items including family photos, children’s artwork, and funky collections, keeping the rooms furnished so they still appear to have a purpose. Don’t just throw all of your stuff in your storage, either. Overflowing and disorganized closets give off the impression that the home lacks storage space.

2. Clean Better Than You’ve Ever Cleaned Before

Thorough cleaning is one of the most cost-efficient ways to make your home more attractive to buyers. Focus on your kitchen, bathroom, and living room, examining these rooms as if you are the buyer. Clean from top to bottom in every room, moving left to right so you don't miss an inch. While you're at it, combat problems with mold and mildew with bleach and non-streaking cleaning products. Remember to also wash both sides of your windows and vacuum your carpets. Then, give your home a good look over to check for carpet stains or grime marks on the walls.

3. Fix Anything That’s Broken

It's time to tackle everything on that maintenance to-do list you've been putting off for months. Repaint the walls to quickly update your rooms, replacing dated wallpaper and old, chipped paint. Make sure that all appliances in your kitchen in good shape and working condition. In your bathrooms, fix leaking faucets and running toilets. If your toilet seat looks well-worn, pick up a new one. You can make your bathroom look newer just by replacing missing bath tiles and cleaning up the grout. Finally, refinish any hardwood floors and then move outside to take care of your deck.

4. Price Your Home Properly

Pricing your home correctly is one of the more difficult tasks you need to do before listing. Zillow recommends avoiding pricing your home too low or too high since changing your price later can turn off buyers.  Determining the true market value of your home is difficult before your house actually sells. However, knowing the average listing price of homes in your area and comparing how long they are on the market can help. You also can tap into online tools to get an idea of your home’s estimated sale proceeds.

5. Pay Attention to Curb Appeal

Fix everything that's broken outside as well, including missing fence boards, shingles, or siding issues. If you don't have time or money to do intensive landscaping, make sure your lawn is immaculately mowed and strategically place some potted plants around. Remove yard clutter and keep your entrance minimalistic. A simple wreath or hanging plant by your door will reflect the season and give off the impression that your home is actively cared for. Simply repainting your front door and replacing your mailbox or house numbers can give your home a beautiful fresh look as well.

6. Let the Light In

According to Realtor.com, strategic lighting can make any room look bigger and more refreshing. You can use lighting to draw attention to focal points or special features in the home and set an inviting mood for buyers. Replace light fixtures in your home with modern ones that produce around 200 to 300 watts each. Add table lamps to bedrooms and office spaces. In the living room, open your curtains wide to let in natural light while using floor lamps to light dark corners.

Selling your home can be stressful, but it shouldn’t be impossible. Although you may be excited to move into your new house and get on with your life, take the time to make the right preparations before selling. Ideally, you’ll be able to sell faster and for more money than you expected.


Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.