Preparing Your Home for Sale

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Heritage

Whether you decide to sell your home For Sale By Owner or enlist the services of a real estate professional, preparing your home for showings is vital for receiving a quick offer. Included below we have listed helpful ways for preparing your home for sale. From experience, we understand that buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is well maintained, they assume that what they can't see has probably also been well maintained. In readying your house for sale, consider:

  • how much should you spend to prepare your house for sale?
  • exterior and curb appeal
  • interior appeal

Before putting your house on the market, take as much time as necessary (and as little money as possible) to maximize its exterior and interior appeal.

How Much Should You Spend to Prepare Your House for Sale?

In preparing your home for the market, spend as little money as possible. Buyers will be impressed by a brand new roof, but they aren't likely to give you enough extra money to pay for it. There is a big difference between making minor and inexpensive polishes and touch-ups to your house, such as putting new knobs on cabinets and a fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room, and doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen.

Your REALTOR® is familiar with buyers' expectations in your neighborhood and can advise you specifically on what improvements need to be made and which improvements are most effective. Don't hesitate to ask for advice.

Maximizing Exterior and Curb Appeal

When preparing to put your home up for sale, your first concern is the home's exterior. If the outside, or "curb appeal" looks good, people will more than likely want to see what's on the inside.

Here are some tips to enhance your home's exterior and curb appeal to buyers:

  • Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered. 
  • Regularly trim hedges and weed lawns and flowerbeds.
  • Be sure your front door area has a "Welcome" feeling.
  • Paint the front door.
  • In spring and summer, add a couple of pots of showy annuals near your front entrance.
  • In snowy areas, keep walks neatly cleared of snow and ice.
  • Check foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and deterioration, and fix any problem areas.
  • Remove and repaint any peeling paint on doors and windows.
  • Clean and align gutters.
  • Inspect and clean the chimney.
  • Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
  • Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
  • Reseal old asphalt.
  • Keep the garage door closed.
  • Store RVs and old cars elsewhere while the house is on the market.

Maximizing Interior Appeal

You want your home to look as spacious, bright and clean as possible. Also the home should look neutral - without a lot of your personal and sentimental objects - so buyers can begin to imagine living there.

Here are some tips to enhance your home's interior appeal to buyers:

  • Give every room in the house a thorough cleaning and remove all clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Some homeowners with crowded rooms actually rent storage garages and move half their furniture out, creating a sleeker, more spacious look.
  • Use a professional cleaning service every few weeks while the house is on the market.
  • Remove the less frequently used, and even daily-used items from kitchen counters, closets, basement and attic to make these areas more inviting.
  • Make sure that table tops, dressers and closets are free of clutter.
  • Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms: they should look as modern, bright and fresh as possible. It is essential for them to be clean and odor free.
  • Repair dripping faucets and showerheads.
  • Buy showy new towels for the bathroom, and put them out only for showings.
  • Spruce up a kitchen in need of more major remodeling by installing new curtains and cabinet knobs, or applying a fresh coat of neutral paint.
  • Clean walls and doors of smudges and scuff marks.
  • If necessary, repaint dingy, soiled or strongly-colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. The same neutral scheme can be applied to carpets and linoleum.
  • Check for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement, and fix any problem areas.
  • Seal basement walls if there are any signs of dampness or leakage.
  • Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint and tiles.
  • Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork.
  • Inspect and repair the plumbing, heating, cooling and alarm systems.

Comments (5)

Suzanne Gantner
Realty Texas - Round Rock, TX
GRI, E-Pro, SRES, SRS, ABR, CNE, REDS, CPS, WCS
Good advise and good points.  If you have a FSBO in your area, you might send them your blog via a letter.  You might also mention to them that a true statistic for FSBO's is that they predicably get 17% less for their home than when using a Realtor.   Not to mention, the security issue of opening their door to strangers, unqualified strangers 24/7. Great post.
Apr 23, 2008 07:13 AM
The Right Choice Group
Keller Williams Heritage - San Antonio, TX
Our Experience Is The Difference!
Thanks for the comment and excellent suggestion!
Apr 23, 2008 07:15 AM
Greg Steffens
Mountain Country Realty - Lake Arrowhead, CA
Hey Roland and Olivia - Welcome to the AR community and congrats on your first posts.  Be sure to spend some time looking around at what and how others are blogging here.  It is a great education and lots of fun.  You're off to a great start....keep it up!
Apr 23, 2008 09:55 AM
Benjamin Clark
Homebuyer Representation, Inc. - Salt Lake City, UT
Buyer's Agent - Certified Negotiation Expert

Welcome to Active Rain! For some tips on how to get started here, check out my blog entry at ActiveRain Fast-Start Tips for Quick and Easy Points

Happy blogging and good luck!

Apr 23, 2008 05:02 PM
Raul Rodriguez
Covenant Partners Realty - San Antonio, TX
Looking out for the client's interest and not my p

Greetings to the "Right Choice Team" it is because of my experience with you as one of your clients that I decided to get into the real estate industry. Seeing how you worked has helped me in my efforts to become a successful agent, not that I am there but I press on toward that mark. Perhaps we will run into one another here in San Antonio, best wishes!

Oct 07, 2009 12:25 AM