How to Prepare Your Home for Sale

Selling your home can be difficult and stressful. There are a lot of things you must do before the ‘for sale’ sign hits your lawn. Especially if you want to sell your house at good value and in a reasonable time frame. If you go about it the right way, you can make sure you’re getting top dollar for your home without the stress.

One of the most important things to get right is presenting your home in the best possible way to potential buyers. There are a lot of options for homebuyers these days, so often they’ll be extremely choosy. In order to maximize your chances of making a good sale, here’s how you can improve the look of your house so that it can really make an impression.

1) Inexpensive Upgrade Options

There are several inexpensive upgrade options which typically add value to your home when it comes time for selling. The best bang for your buck ‘upgrade options’ are as follows:

Update outlets

Change broken or non-functioning outlets with functioning ones, preferably those with USB ports. Install them in rooms like the living room, kitchen, office and bedroom. Younger and more tech-savvy couples or individuals would definitely thank you for it. They should cost less than 15 dollars, and those few dollars might help to make a huge profit.

Green Space

A great yard can potentially raise the selling price of your house by ten to fifteen percent. Make sure to remove weeds, trim bushes and keep the grass mowed. If you have brown spots on your lawn, throw some soil and grass seed down. Plant flowers suitable for the season, and if you’re not sure what to plant, get the help of a professional. An unkempt garden can easily become an eyesore for your buyers.


As time goes on you may have forgotten about certain burned out light bulbs, but buyers probably won’t miss that detail. Having burned out bulbs gives the impression that the house hasn’t been looked after. Install bright bulbs to make your home look newer, and in rooms where you may want to control the level of light, install dimmer switches. Don’t be afraid to swap out some of your oldest light fixtures as well with something new and fresh. A good light fixture can help people imagine being comfortable in the house make a good impression.

Bathroom Inspection

When presenting your house for sale it’s a good idea to remove all toiletries from display as well as any other personal accessories that may be present in the bathroom. Clean any accumulated dust or mildew. Replace what can’t be cleaned like shower curtains, the bath mat, towel racks and hooks. Install some fresh soap and some new white towels.

2) Renovations

When preparing to sell your house, renovating can help increase market value in many cases. However, renovations need to be done carefully with the bigger picture in mind so you don’t regret the time and money you spent.

Basic Remodeling

This includes the most basic things that the buyer would want to see in the house, things like a roof that doesn’t leak and gutter and downspouts that function. Also, make sure that the walls are in good condition, the furnace is reliable, and the floors feel solid.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you replace everything, but very noticeable problems, ones that would relegate your home to ‘fixer-upper’ status, will probably be worthwhile.

Again, smart renovations are the only type that will help you. You need to stand out from the competition but while doing that keep in mind that upgrades don’t need to greatly exceed the competition. Just fix those things that will have an obvious negative impact on your home’s value.

Selective Renovation

This refers to the case when you decide to renovate a certain part of the house, one that you think the buyers will especially focus on, like the kitchen or bathrooms. It could also be an area that is more dilapidated than the rest of the house. This could entail replacing or removing things that make the room look cluttered or dirty.

A few small additions can create a major difference in how your kitchen looks. Replacing the backsplash, painting the cupboards, changing the cabinet hardware or adding a new modern appliance can have a significant impact on your home’s value for a relatively inexpensive upfront cost. The return on investment in kitchen upgrades can often significantly exceed the amount of capital invested in said upgrades.

The bathroom is close second in terms of return of investment. Major renovations can be fairly expensive but it can be very profitable if you do it right. Of course, you should make sure that all of the faucets, sinks and toilets function well. Upgrades such as painting or replacing the cabinets, making sure the doors work smoothly, painting or even just cleaning the walls, replacing the vanity with something fresh from Ikea etc can have a significant effect on your bathroom’s overall appeal, and you can make your money back many times over.

3) Home Staging Concerns

Home staging is basically presenting your home in such a way that its best features are on display to attract buyers. This can be done through a good wallpaper job, paint job, decluttering, furniture layout, proper lighting, artwork, cleaning and even upgrading your linens and curtains. While a lot of people are uncertain about its effect, the majority of realtors swear by its success. Home staging is meant to reduce your homes time on the market, while adding value to your final sale price. Here are a few tips for a successful home staging:

  • Arranging every room so even the smallest of spaces has a purpose.
  • Opening up the whole house, even rooms you haven’t been using yourself, and present them as spares.
  • Staging rooms to look like photographs by considering lighting and dramatic appeal can also be very helpful in attracting buyers to consider your house.
  • Background music can be a plus.
  • Make sure the house smells clean and fresh, and consider widely appealing scents such as cinnamon and baking cookies.

4) Curb Appeal

First impressions are incredibly important, and the impression your buyer gets from your house starts at the curb.

Experts say that houses are usually selected within the first twenty seconds of their showcase so if you want your twenty seconds to start off well, increasing the appearance of your house from the street will help is sell much more quickly. A few things that might be able to help with that are:


Landscaping goes a long way in improving your curb appeal and also encourages the buyers to ignore some of the other interior issues if the exterior is impressive. A landscaping overhaul might be worth it if you think it might help to highlight the architecture of the house or to hide certain architectural flaws. Make sure at the very least to clean out weeds, sharpen up garden bed edges, and do a full cleanup.

House Exterior

Work on the exterior of the house might be necessary if there are problems with the appearance of the house, such as cracking paint or facades that have gone out of style. You can also add small features that make your house stand out in the neighborhood, such as painting the door a contrasting colour or adding charming pathway lighting. An investment in the look of your driveway can also go a long way – seal up cracked asphalt, and reset uneven bricks.


Families coming to look at your house will consider the neighborhood before making a final decision because they want to see themselves as safe and comfortable among other residents. Many sellers don’t pay a lot of importance to this, because they think there is nothing they can do. Much of it is out of your control, but there may be a few things you can do to improve on this, such as:

  • Start a neighborhood watch. This will help with perception of safety in the neighborhood.
  • Clean up any pockets of garbage and cut down on the weeds and the grass of the bordering houses
  • If there are other properties looking for a sale as well, discuss and encourage the sellers to clean theirs up as well

5) Virtual Curb Appeal

Taking a scan of any public space now, you see everybody buried in their phones. The first time a potential buyer typically ‘sees’ your home for the first time is on their phone or computer. Make sure when you are selling your home that you have a strong virtual presence with an interactive virtual tour and high quality photos to help draw more people to your listing.

5) De-cluttering and Minimalism

A cluttered, dirty house will repel any potential buyers even if your home is beautiful underneath. You should not rely on people’s imagination when they come to view your house, but instead you should work to show them the potential. The kitchen and bathrooms are the best place to start, but walls, ceilings and corners should also be cleaned thoroughly. After living in a house for a long period of time, you might get used to some of the imperfections, but potential buyers will see them right away.

Minimalism is the way to go when selling your home. Less items in a room makes the space seem bigger, and it also allows the buyer to imagine spaces where they can put their own things. You want to give an impression that each room has a purpose, but you also don’t want the rooms to seem ‘personalized’.

6) Controlling First Impressions

Make a great first impression upon entry to the house. The first room people see in your house is a good place to make a lot of effort. Make sure to install impressive decorations that will raise the perceived value of your house, and make sure the area feels warm and welcoming. You may want to consider a home staging professional

Make sure not to use paints that make the house look gloomy or dark. Always use light, open and neutral colours that show off the interior but also let the buyer imagine all that they can do with the place.

You should look at home staging and upgrading before you sell as in investment opportunity. You are selling a valuable asset, and the price of your home comes down to market value and perception. Small things can make a big difference. If you home is a suitable candidate for upgrades, you can multiply the amount of money put into them many times over. Even if you don’t think upgrades will increase the value of your home, taking the time to stage your home right with attention to detail will help you sell your home much faster and with less effort.