Tips on How to Successfully Prep Your Home Before Putting It Up for Sale

Tips on How to Successfully Prep Your Home Before Putting It Up for Sale

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    When you are selling your home, you want top dollar and a fast sale.

    While it may seem like it's a matter of luck, it all comes down to a lot of careful planning.


Prospective homebuyers tend to have a lot of options to choose from, so they can afford to be picky. If you want to sell your home quickly and for your asking price (or more), you need to take steps to ensure that your home is the most appealing one in the area.

Selling your home involves a lot more than sticking a for sale sign on the front yard. You need to thoroughly clean, stage every room, and make your home look like it is in pristine, move-in ready condition.

Here are a few tips on how to successfully prep your home before putting it up for sale.

Start with the Outside

When selling a home, curb appeal is crucial. If your home doesn’t look nice when a prospective buyer pulls into your driveway, they’ll likely be put off before they even set foot inside. Keep the grass neatly mowed, prune the bushes, plant flowers, and get rid of weeds.

Pressure wash your home’s siding or apply a fresh coat of paint. Make sure the gutters are clean and in good condition. Don’t forget about your driveway, either. Pressure wash it or have it resealed to make it look like new.

Make your front door inviting by adding a fresh coat of paint in a nice color that contrasts with your home. If your house numbers are faded or damaged, replace them. Pick up a new welcome mat to ensure that buyers know that they are welcome in your home.

Declutter and Depersonalize

For many people, decluttering and depersonalizing is one of the hardest parts of preparing a home for sale. It’s still your home, after all, so taking down things like photographs, kids’ artwork, etc. can be extremely emotional.

You will have to pack up those personal effects eventually, though, and doing it before you start showing your home to potential buyers can make it much easier to close the deal.

Take time to say goodbye to your home and detach yourself from it. Accept that it will soon be just a house rather than your home. Pack your personal items away and get rid of all the excess clutter. Remember that buyers want to visualize themselves living in the space and that they will not be able to do that if it is still filled with all of your excess stuff.


Keep Décor Neutral

No matter how awesome your taste is, unless you absolutely love neutrals, you’ll probably want to redecorate before putting your home up for sale. Potential buyers tend to prefer neutral designs that make it easy for them to imagine their own items in a space.

While you may love your bright red sofa, it could be a distraction that prevents buyers from being able to truly “see” the space. Put your bold pieces in storage, and paint the walls in neutral colors. Consider purchasing a few pieces of light-colored furniture to clearly define your rooms’ purposes without over-cluttering them. A fabric sectional sofa or a set of fabric accent chairs would be a great way to revive your space without feeling cluttered.

Tackle Minor Repairs

In a buyer’s market, even minor issues can make or break a sale. Things like nail holes, damaged blinds, or even burnt-out lightbulbs can be huge turn-offs for buyers, so it’s always best to make minor repairs before showing your home.

Replace damaged tiles, fix leaky faucets, and make sure all closet doors open and close as they should. You want your home to appear as pristine and well-maintained as possible. Failing to tackle minor repairs could make potential buyers worry that other larger issues have been ignored.

If your budget allows, you may want to tackle some major repairs, too. A leaky roof or broken window detracts from your home’s value significantly, and, if you repair it, you will likely recoup the cost and sell your home faster than if you try selling it as-is.

Make Every Surface Shine

From bathroom and kitchen counters to shower doors and ceiling fans, every surface in your home should be so clean it shines. When thoroughly cleaned, even older homes become much more appealing to buyers. You may want to consider enlisting the help of a professional to ensure that your floors, counters, mirrors, and windows are as clean as humanly possible. Pay close attention to your kitchen and bathroom especially. If these rooms appear dirty, you may have a much harder time selling your home.

Deal with Tough Odors

No one wants to buy a house that smells bad. Whether you have pets, you smoke inside your home, or your home has any other type of odor, you need to deal with it before putting it up for sale. Ideally, all carpets should be replaced. At the very least, though, you need to have them professionally cleaned.

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Consider having hardwood floors refinished, as well, to seal in any potential odors. If there are mold or mildew odors, contact a remediation company to find the source of the smell and eliminate the problem. Repaint walls using a high-quality odor-blocking primer and paint.

Have a friend or family member visit your home and ask for their honest opinion on how it smells. We tend to get so used to the smells in our own houses that we don’t even notice them, so having someone come to visit can help you figure out if there are any concerning odors.


Preparing a home for sale is a difficult and labor-intensive process. In addition to being emotionally draining, the process can be physically exhausting. With the tips listed above, though, you can successfully prep your home for sale even if you have no experience in real estate staging.

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