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How To Get Your House Ready To Sell

Family cleaning their house to get it ready for house selling

They say, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ but when it comes to houses, appearances definitely matter. If your home doesn’t catch the attention of potential buyers at first look, the chances of them coming back to it are slim. So what can you do to get your house ready to sell? Well, the list is long but straightforward and mostly just requires a little effort on your part.

In some cases, you don’t need to spend any money at all, just move a few things around. However, if the house is old, or if you’ve been living in it for a long, a few repairs or renovations might be due. Not to worry since most of these result in considerable payback when you sell your home, and you can do all the budget-friendly home upgrades. We’re here to tell you all the tips and tricks you can use to make your home ready for sale.

Making the repairs 

If you, as a buyer, walked into a home and saw shattered windows, holes in the walls, or broken tiles in the bathrooms, would the house appeal to you? Or would you be willing to buy it knowing that you’ll first have to fix all these things? The answer is probably no, and rightly so. Similarly, if the appliances in a home weren’t working, it would plant doubt in the hearts of anyone looking to buy a home for themselves. So, let’s get these things out of the way first.

Get a professional home inspection

A professional home inspection can reveal a lot about the house’s general condition and its physical structure, from the foundation to the roof. This includes information about the state of the house’s different systems like heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, and an update on the situation of the roof, attic, windows, flooring, walls, and different appliances. Using this information, you can focus your attention and resources on the areas lacking and improve their condition to bring your home at an overall better-appraised value. You can also choose to do the inspection yourself if you’re confident that you won’t miss anything essential and be able to point out significant areas in need of improvement.

Upgrade the bathroom and kitchen

An entire remodeling of the bathrooms or the kitchen is not only expensive, but it’s also impractical since the pay off for them isn’t worth the expenditure. For toilets, in most cases, a few quick improvements will do the trick and make it look as good as new. If you can afford it and are in the mood for a little DIY project, you can renovate the bathroom yourself and save a few bucks. 

Kitchens are a bit trickier since they are at the forefront; therefore, people tend to be pickier when it comes to them. The essential rule for kitchens is the same as for bathrooms- clean, modern, and appealing. By doing simple kitchen decorations like adding a rug, increasing the lightning, giving the place a minimalist vibe, etc., you can achieve your goal of increasing its worth.

Replace broken appliances

A house with malfunctioning or damaged appliances is a major deal-breaker. Most buyers aren’t willing to go through the hassle of repairing or replacing them. And even if they agree to, in return, you’ll be offered a lower price for the house to make room for the repairs. This offer can go much lower than what you would get if you spent a few extra bucks taking care of the appliances yourself. 

Basic repairs

These frugal fixes might not sound like much, but in a buyer’s market and sometimes even in a regular market, they can become the deciding factor about the house’s deal. To be on the safe side, take care of those cracks in the flooring, patch any holes in the walls, replace any broken windows and tiles, etc.

Add a fresh coat to the walls

Most experts recommend repainting the walls of your homes every 3-5 years to maintain that fresh, clean look. You can extend that time to a maximum of 6-8 years; however, after that, the years start showing on the walls, and they give a tired and gloomy vibe. It’s worth doing; especially if your home has some bold or distinguished colors painted already. Neutral and soft colors appeal to most people and can help add light to a room, so these should be your go-to.

Remove any foul odors

Bad, semi-permanent odors can settle in any house due to several different reasons like blocked drains, smoking, cooking, pets, dampness in the walls, etc. But these can be off-putting and might turn away; otherwise, would-be buyers. To get rid of them, air your house regularly before the showing and try to add light, fresh, and soothing scents like those of flowers, orange, cedar, jasmine, pine, etc.

Cleaning and organizing 

Most people have a simple ‘open, spacious, and clean’ rule when they go house shopping. This is probably the most crucial part of any house showing and can make the difference between a home being sold immediately for the best price and a place staying on the market for a long time before having any reasonable offers. So let’s see what’s on this checklist:

Depersonalize your home 

This is perhaps one of the most incredible tips when renting out or selling a home- remove any and all signs of the house belonging to someone else, i.e., you, when buyers come to visit. They’re coming in to look for a future home for themselves, and with belongings like pictures, trophies, etc., displayed everywhere, it’s hard for them to visualize that house as their home.

To help them imagine a place for themselves and create a good picture in their mind, store away things like photographs, collectibles, souvenirs, and any furniture or item that shows your personal taste. This way you will be ready to sell your house in no time!

Enhance the curb appeal 

Buyers will second-guess even stepping out of the car if the homes’ exterior makes them feel unwelcome or gives off a cold vibe. They need to feel like they’re walking into a warm and heartening place. You can help invoke this feeling by making a few simple changes on the outside. Paint the front door, place a wreath of dried flowers, and a welcome mat. Also, consider hiring a professional landscaper to clean the lawn, add a few bushes, some flowering plants, and perhaps have any cracks in the front pavement or walkway fixed.


Most of us tend to collect things without any real reason- it’s just hard to get rid of them because we think we might need them later, they’ll be helpful in some way, they could be passed on to someone, or we just have an emotional connection. Well, the truth is, most of these things are pretty useless, and we won’t ever be needing them. It’s these same things that can distract buyers and prevent them from adequately analyzing the house.

It’s time to get rid of these things- either donate them or simply throw them away. You can think of this as an early step of packing your stuff. Only keep the essentials around, things that can be easily moved out of the way or stored in boxes during open houses. Decluttering also includes clearing your bookshelves and keeping the countertops of the kitchen clear. 

Do a deep clean 

It’s surprising how much the look of anything can change after it’s been through a thorough cleaning process. To leave the best first impression, clean your house from top to bottom, go through each nook, and cranny if you have to. 

You can hire some cleaning services to wash the windows from both inside and out, scrub the floors, recaulk the bathtubs and sinks, and plish the faucets, etc. You need to make sure that every corner is spotless, especially the bathrooms and the kitchen, since they are a huge selling point. It’s also worth it to get your carpets and curtains washed professionally to air out any residing odors. After this, vacuum and dust daily to maintain this fresh look of the place.

Organize the closet space

This serves two primary purposes:

  • It sends buyers the message that you take good care of your personal belongings, and so you likely took great care of the house, made sure it was maintained, and everything was working correctly.
  • Buyers are curious about the available space in a home and whether or not it has the capacity to comfortably store away all that they own.

Consequently, buyers are going to look into closets and cabinets, maybe even observe the attic space. If they’re overflowing with clutter and it looks like space is barely enough, it’s going to leave a wrong impression. Rent a storage unit and move your excess stuff there, then organize what’s left in the closets in neat piles. Stack the dishes properly, fold the clothes, and clean the cabinets from inside. 

Go neutral

Colors are a very personal thing; what’s harmonizing to some may be pretty off-putting for others. It’s better to create a blank canvas over which it’s easy for the new owners to imagine their preferred colors, pictures, etc. They also make rooms appear larger, which is a major plus point and can boost the sale.

Hire a professional photographer to help get your house ready to sell

The best way to attract customers is to present a desirable product image; this is one of the primary marketing tactics. Most people put their house on sale online or put an ad; people might scroll over it if it looks unkempt. However, presented the right way, it might be the thing that gets people over in the first place.

Other than this, make sure you specify the purpose of each room or present it in a way that it looks designed for some particular purpose. For example, set one room to look like a study room, another for nursery or gaming, etc. Usually, when one lives in a home for too long, the lines between the use of each room can be blurred, like the lounge becomes a part office, bedrooms are turned to part storage rooms, etc. Buyers prefer bedrooms or areas specific to a particular use over generic rooms. It can also help to make your house look more prominent and clear floor space when extra furniture is removed to shape the components of the home to define an intended purpose of use.

Get the best price

If you want to make sure that your house sells for the best possible price and you don’t suffer a loss, researching the market and hiring a professional realtor are two things that you should definitely consider. They’ll give you an idea of what you should expect and help you attain your goal.

Research the market 

As soon as you’ve made up your mind about selling, start searching for properties similar to yours in size, location, and features that are listed on Zillow. Check the listed price and compare the estates with your own; this should give you a good ballpark of what you can get from your sale. Remember to make your house sell quickly; you’ll need to offer a competitive price- one that is 5-10% less than what the general trend shows the price is. 

The prices can also change drastically spending on the season and the current economic policies. Consult with a local professional to decide on the best window to sell your house quickly and for the best price. Also, keep an eye out for any factors that might affect the market in your area, like property taxes, changes in the interest rate, job market trends, etc.

Hire a listing agent

Sellers who get in contact with trustworthy realtors months in advance have an advantage over those who wait until the last minute. Some people might feel that they don’t need an agent to represent them; this often bites them in the back. A good listing agent will be someone who has experience working in this field, is aware of the local selling trends, takes into account all the different economic factors is motivated, and has good negotiation skills.

Make sure you get your house ready to sell!

It’s easy to panic when it’s time for the open house or house showing. Take a deep breath and relax! You’ve done all that you could; just make sure you have all the required paperwork with you in case it comes up. Move out the pets and little kids for a little while, and be confident in your efforts. As long as buyers see an attractive and clean place that suffices their needs, you should be good to go and expect a great price for your house.

Disclaimer: The above is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax, savings, financial, or legal advice. All information shown here is for illustrative purpose only and the author is not making a recommendation of any particular product over another. All views and opinions expressed in this post belong to the author.

Scott Teesdale

Written By Scott Teesdale

I use data and technology to help Millennials navigate the ins-and-outs of buying or selling a home in today's market. From appraisals to mortgages to zoning, I cover it all with the goal to teach others. Connect with me on social via the icons above.