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  • Writer's pictureThe Jennifer Jones Team

10 Steps to Prepare Your House for Sale!

Every home seller's dream is to sell their property fast and for more money. The truth is that this can be challenging to achieve. As a seller, you need to plan ahead and focus on preparing to sell your house.

Preparing a house for sale may seem straightforward. But, the truth is, it can be demanding both physically and mentally.

From fixing light fixtures to adding fresh flowers to the garden, there are many minor changes that will be appealing to most buyers.

That said, examining and performing repairs throughout the entire house can take a significant amount of time and effort. Whether you’re paying a professional or preparing your home for prospective buyers by yourself, you should consider this during the planning process.

Learning how to prepare a house for sale can also be emotionally challenging for the first-time seller, especially if it’s a family home, so a positive mindset is really important. It's critical to focus on the next step and remember the end goal!

Here are 10 steps to help you prepare your home for sale.

1. Start Distancing Yourself from Your Home

Emotional attachment can cloud a seller’s judgment and cause unwanted issues. The best solution is to start distancing yourself from the home as soon as you decide to put it on the market. Keep your end goals in mind!

2. Transform Your House Into a Blank Canvas

Leaving photos out and setting up your dining room to impress buyers may seem like a good idea when preparing your home for sale. But the truth is that both of these can distract potential buyers and reduce the chances of selling your home. Creating a blank canvas will allow buyers to visualize their future and increase the perceived property value.

3. De-Clutter as Much as Possible

Cluttered spaces can reduce your home’s curb appeal, make your home appear much smaller and ultimately turn off some buyers.

4. Organize Storage Cabinets and Closets

Many sellers cram all their belongings into cabinets and closets in order to prepare for a home sale, but this can actually sometimes have the opposite effect. In a changing market potential buyers will want to look at every single part of your home before making an offer, so make sure that your cabinets and closets are organized! Similar to decluttering, it can make the home appear bigger and help a potential buyer picture their belongings in the space!

5. Address Odors

Smell is almost just as important as looks, If the first thing that buyers smell when walking through your front door is a pet odor or a strong scent, there’s a chance your home might take longer to sell. To avoid this, you should work to remove odors and similar smells from all areas of your house. Invite a friend over and see if they notice anything! Since we live there sometimes we cannot notice the smells until they are pointed out. Some smells come from layers of grime that have been accumulating for a while, others can be resolved with things like carpet cleaning. Here at The Jennifer Jones Team, we also have an in-house Ozonater to help our clients with some pesky odors! One common mistake I see people make is over correcting this!! You may be used to a scentsy in every room however some buyers may get turned off by the overpowering smell! Some buyers will automatically start to wonder if the homeowner is trying to hide something with the powerful scents. I find it is best to consult a friend or your realtor to give you a second opinion. Smell is important!

6. Replace or Remove the Items You’re Keeping

In Real Estate we have Chattels and we have Fixtures. Fixtures are items that are fixed to the home, these would be assumed to stay with the home unless otherwise described. On the contrary there are Chattels. These items are not fixed to the home and they would be assumed to leave with the sellers. If there are fixtures that are really important to you like a special chandelier, grandma's clock or a fancy mirror remove it and replace it with something you can let go so buyers don't put it in the contract. It's easier this way!

7. Small Repairs Can Save You Big Dollars

Repairs are a crucial part of preparing houses for sale. It’s up to the seller and listing realtor to decide which areas need repairs before the home goes onto the market. One way to look at it is the $500 rule. Some things we commonly see are the following: a broken door handle, burnt out light bulbs, drywall damage, etc. Small things most homeowners can tackle! Every small visible repair could potentially knock off $500 from the asking price in a balanced market!

8. Paint and Make Small Improvements

Neutral or bright colors can make a home feel larger. Paint can really improve how a home shows and can also help with pesky odors. One thing in my experience is, if you are not a good painter, leave it to the pros. A good fresh paint job can improve value however a messy paint job could actually hurt you as the buyers would be budgeting to call the pros in to fix this mess when offering. I have seen it time and time again!

9. Spruce Up the Exterior of the Home

I like to use the term “ buyer goggles” coined by our very own Deanna Hutton. Go to the other side of the street and put your buyer goggles on. Act like this isn't your home and you are seeing it for the first time. Walk up your driveway and walkway. What do you see that can be improved? Sometimes it's as simple as a nice potted plant on the porch, weeding the walkway or trimming the hedges. Other times you notice things like loose interlocking that could be a tripping hazard. It's great to do this walk when you are listing so you can avoid as many points of contention as possible! Ultimately this will help you net more money!

10. Clean and Perform a Final Inspection

The final step is to perform a good cleaning of your entire property right before listing. Use something like pinesol with a nice fresh smell. It's like putting on a fresh shirt before going out. This cleaning will help buyers see your home in its best light! It will also make it smell fresh!

This is only a quick list of 10 items that can help you net the most amount of money. Here at The Jennifer Jones Team our team consists of highly trained, full time realtors who will give you many more methods to net the most amount of money! At the end of the day, in a balanced market buyers will always look for methods to buy the home for less. Our job as listing agents is to negotiate them up in price AND coach our clients with tricks as mentioned above to avoid areas where they could ask for a reduction.

Written by Jake Jordan (

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