10 tips to sell your home like a pro


Before you officially list your home on the market you need to start preparing your home for sale, there is so much to do. It is so important to make the best first impression possible.

1. Preparing Your Home For Sale Before It Goes On The Market

It seems like there is so much to do, yet this huge first step is so important. The following is a to-do list to pay attention to when preparing your home for sale. Wait on taking photos and listing your home until you feel confident in every one of these areas. All of these decluttering and staging tips will really impress viewers at showings and open houses. Working hard and completing these tasks could result in an offer to buy your home from a buyer, who is willing to pay top dollar after all your effort.

Before you officially put your home on the market, it seems like there is so much to do. Just break it down into steps and take it one at a time. Here is a list of things to do to start preparing your home for sale.

2. The Garage

For the best possible home staging, you may want to consider renting a storage unit. Do this right away so that you have a place to put packed and labeled items from your decluttering efforts. Someone’s else’s garage or basement would also work. A buyer may like to imagine their personal items in the garage and not see yours. However, if you are not able to or not willing to do that, no worries!

Pro Tip: Hold a garage sale before purchasing a storage unit.

If you will be storing packed boxes and some furniture in the garage, try to clear out at least half of it. Start with the attic of the garage or rafters, take down and pack these items. Take down cobwebs and replace burned out light bulbs while you are up there. Make sure the walls and the floor on that side are empty, swept and ready to receive items to store until moving day.

You may even want to pack and label boxes as you are cleaning the garage. Be sure to leave out appliance dollies to move furniture, tools that may be needed to take apart furniture, ropes or bungee cords or straps to tie things down in a truck, and anything else you think you may need.

Pro Tip: If lights on the outside of the garage have burned out, replace them and remember to turn those lights on for night showings.

Be sure that all garage door openers are functional and that you know where the garage door openers are and that they have fresh batteries in them for sale day. Supply garage door keys so buyers can walk through garages during showings. I go through so many houses on showings that don’t do this and garages can be huge selling points to small families.

Pro Tip: Power spray all exterior doors and siding.

Before you officially list your home on the market you need to start preparing your home for sale

3. Depersonalize

Next, you will want to work on depersonalizing. When a potential buyer looks at a home, he or she is trying to picture themselves living in your home. Your goal is to make this very easy for him or her and make them feel like they can move right in.

Pro Tip: Interior Design is all about personalizing your home with your tastes and with items you love.

Interior Design is all about personalizing your home with your tastes and items you love. Home Staging takes the focus off you and rightly puts it on who we want to impress, your buyer. You will need to depersonalize and neutralize everything. Natural tones need to be used if you intend to repaint.  Using neutral color couch pillows, bedspreads, towels, etc.

If you display deer, fish, fowl or other wildlife trophy mounts, you have a big job to do. You will have to figure out how to package these for safe storage in the garage or storage unit. If they will be in your garage, cover them so they are hidden out of sight.

Pro Tip: Pack all hunting memorabilia, as well as any loved ones, remains that may be displayed in urns. Try and avoid associating the home with death.

Take down cluttered photographs hanging on the wall or sitting on shelves or tables. Only leave a few out for display. This is the hardest thing for me because I LOVE having photos on our wall. Sadly, some people have prejudices too. Removing personal photos can be a good thing. They are fine meeting you at the closing because then they are already sold on the house and are committed.  It is the first impression we are worried about.

picture of a dining room and kitchen in a house for sale

4. Closets

I personally think everyone hopes to see a better closet than they currently have when looking for a home.  In some cases, that could just mean more organized!  Your closets need to look very bare so they appear to be huge.  Try to leave some space open on the rack with hangers on it to show all the room for more clothes.  If your closet has organizers and shelves, clear at least a shelf or two and dusts it to show all the shelving in the closet.  Clear the floor and clean it very well.  Leave some floor bare to show how spacious it is.  Before the home showings start, freshening up those closets can help with dust and mildew smells that make a huge impression on buyers.

5. Walking Paths

A large group of people may be coming through your home to view it.    Even if it is a new married couple, they may bring a realtor and two parents each, which totals seven people.  If you have coffee tables, ottomans, or an extra rocking chair or end table sticking out where the group could be walking, it’s time to store it until moving day.

If you have carpets, this is also the time to pull out that carpet cleaner or hire a cleaning company to come to your home to get out all of those stains and odors before the photos get taken.

Pro Tip: Put out a picture frame with a print out that says Please Remove Shoes at the front door.

Buy a new neutral colored rug runner to place on top of your carpet from the front door to walk at least four feet into the room.  This shows the new buyer that you are concerned about protecting the floor and have probably preserved and taken good care of the rest of the home as well.  Remember, it’s all about first impressions!

picture of a dining room and kitchen in a house for sale

6. Kitchen

Pro Tip: Clean Clean Clean Everything!!!!!!!

Take everything off of the counter, sides, and front of the refrigerator.  Pack those items for the next house, and wipe the outside of the fridge down so it shines, even if it is not included in the sale.

Clear and dust the tops of cupboards, microwaves, shelving, etc.

Take any hanging items down.  No hanging pots, utensils, pot holders, just a kitchen hand towel.

Pack up or put out of sight almost every counter item or small appliance except for the microwave and toaster.  Some appliances you are still using.

Thoroughly clean the outside of cupboards, drawers, walls, light switches, appliances, clean windows, etc.

Pro Tip: Before the Realtor photo shoot and at show times, load all the dirty dishes into the dishwasher and start it. Try and have it complete the cycle before the scheduled showings.

7. Home Staging

There are easy and cost-effective ways to brighten and lighten up your home. Using A light, neutral color of fresh paint does wonders and is a great return on investment. Most Realtors even advertise, fresh paint because it is a huge selling feature. It will patch up any unsightly cracks or blemishes on your walls. Getting paint with a primer in it will save you time and money.  Use the same color in all the rooms you plan to paint.

Remove your big, black grate from your fireplace, clean it out and add in a few neutral colored candles instead.

Change light bulbs to brighter bulbs, if possible, to transform rooms for staging purposes.

Pro Tip: Use neutral colors and have staging accessories shown in groups of three.  Preferably tall, medium and short so the eyes can rest.

staging your home for sale

8. Outside

Power Spray your driveway and sidewalks and do everything you can for them to look as nice as possible.  If you have a gravel driveway, get a fresh layer of gravel poured.  Or have your driveway sealed, black-coated, whatever the case may be.

Clean up your landscaping. Take care of the lawn, edging. Shoveling snow if it is the winter months.  Make the garden look neat and tidy, weed it so it looks extra fantastic.  Trim trees and hedges, plants, etc. Remove any garden or lawn statues so the buyer can picture her own statues there.

Clean the outside of the house, wash the windows, Power spay and or paint the front door.

picture of a landscaped driveway

9. Declutter

Start in one room and work your way clockwise around the house, basement, garage, or any garden shed on the property and look for items you no longer need and part with them. “less is easier to move” With each item, decide whether to keep, pack, donate, sell, or trash the items.  I prefer to find donations centers that are profit free. Keep track of donation receipts for tax purposes. For those items you wish to sell, take a picture of it right away to advertise it at online sale sites like the Facebook market place and craigslist. Post your garage sale advertising online a least a few days in advance if you intend to have a sale before listing the home. 

Twilight Photography

10. Finding The Time

This is a challenging one. I often get motivated in the early mornings before work or late at night. Planning a packing party with a few close friends can be a great way to say goodbye to the home you are departing. I hope you enjoyed these tips and I look forward to listing your home, taking the photos and marketing your home for sale. Contact me here.

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