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Things to Do Before You List Your House for Sale  


Before you list your house there are quite a few things you can do to get it ready to sell for its best potential price. You will want to appeal to the most buyers possible, do your homework on pricing, and use professional realtors for their experience. A lot of it comes down to making the best first impressions possible.  Where do you start? To appeal to the most buyers we suggest doing what you can to turn it into a blank slate that potential buyers can paint in their minds.

A lot of these steps go hand in hand with preparing for a new move and build on skills we have covered earlier on how to get your deposits back and declutter.

Research Your Market

Whether you are going with a real estate agent or attempting to sell by owner, knowing your market can give you great insight. Look at ads for other homes, especially ones in your neighborhood. You might even give a few of the listings a call to see how long they have been on the market.

Put together a list with which properties moved quickly and for how much. Also, note any properties have had to reduce their prices or been on the market for a while. This will give you a feel for what price you should list your property at. Real estate agents are extremely skilled at this, as they provide this and other services to you.

Picking a real estate agent is very important. You want to pick one that knows your market and preferably your neighborhood. They likely have already made contact with potential buyers and done their homework on what buyers are looking for. They not only coordinate buyers but also give you insight into what you can do to your home to make it worth the most. They handle all the listings and make the process easier on you.

Look at other home ads and see how they are presented. Consider hiring a professional photographer to give you the best photos to use when you are ready to list.

Consider Your Curb Appeal

The very first impression anyone will have of your home is when they pull up on the property. This is referred to as curb appeal and many of the upgrades worth the most are focused on it

You want to get the buyer to be enticed to see more of the property. If they are turned off from the moment they look at the home chances are they will be moving on to the next on their list. People absolutely do judge a book by its cover in this regard.

Landscaping and cosmetic upgrades and attention to detail are worth it. Even low effort projects like colorful flower beds or painting the front door can help.

Declutter Living Areas

You got them interested and now they want to come inside, right? This is a really important part and will take a good amount of work to get the home ready for sale. Less is more at this point. You want to give them an idea of space so they can envision where their own furnishings could go.

You have already rented a storage unit and started to move your possessions out by now. The closer to clean and clear you can get the better. If the home is overflowing with stuff, they might worry that the house won’t be big enough for the buyers’ things. The idea is to let their imagination run wild.


You will want to remove any personalized items like pictures and decorations. Try to clear out anything that would get in the way of the buyers visualizing themselves in your home. Do you have rooms with wild colors? Paint them neutral. Bold artwork? It may scream “you” but now is not the time to share your tastes with the world.

The goal is to create a blank canvas for potential house hunters. There is a fine line between blank and sterile though. You want a warm, welcoming home so keep that in mind as you depersonalize.

Start by painting over rooms with a color scheme that uses whites, light grays, light beige, and grey-tone colors. These shades are unoffensive and will make your home appear bigger and welcoming.

Clean and Do Maintenance

Have you ever walked through a property you were thinking of buying and went to open a door or drawer and the handle started to come off in your hand? What else may be broken is EXACTLY what a buyer will think if they find something like this. You may have gotten used to little annoyances like this as you have lived your life here, but to a fresh pair of eyes these things stick out.

In fact, having an actual fresh set of eyes walk through and point out things you have gotten used to is a great idea. You want to make sure everything is in working order so become friends with your local handyman.

Pay special attention to cleanliness, and follow these suggestions for cleaning.

Also, buy light bulbs. Make sure that all your light bulbs are in working order. The brightness of appropriate bulbs combined with new paint will leave the impression you want. New, bright and inviting for the new family that will live here.

Foul odors, even slight ones, can leave an awful impression and sour the deal at best. If you have had pets, or a lingering odor, consider having a deep clean done by a professional company. Bring in an unbiased third party for a smell test – someone that hasn’t been there to know what your normal is.

Hide Valuables

If you are doing an open house or even just entertaining potential buyers, keep your valuables safe and secure. Store them offsite or locked up at the least.

Consider Staging

You can actually find companies that will arrange furniture rentals and evaluate how to best present your home. They will come in and look at the condition of the property and arrange for furnishings and decor that match the colors. This is a great way to really make your home a showpiece and lets you fully move out by the point that the staging occurs.