Moving On Up: Organizing Your House for Sale

house neighborhood colorful roads illustration

Selling a home can be tough. But, there are things you can do to bolster your chances of getting the price you want – home sale preparation! Here are some tips.


Most of the time we’re aiming to create the home we really want. Once in a while, however, there’s the time for creating the home someone else really wants. If you’re selling your home, you need to look at your living space from an entirely new perspective. I’ve just gone through this process myself, and I know that even small changes can make a huge difference.

Instead of spending a lot of money on a professional stager to market your home to potential buyers, here are some ideas that you can use on your own to get the look just right.

Make outside come alive

Homes for sale need to look attractive to a wide variety of potential buyers, and families are only interested in homes that appear to be solid, clean, and well-maintained unless they are looking to invest in a big DIY project. In fact, it’s often said that buyers decide whether or not to look inside houses for sale by the appearance of its exterior. You can take care of this issue by painting or washing the outside of your home. Pay special attention to your deck. If you have the budget, consider re-staining your wooden deck or power-washing your cement or tile patio for the perfect look and feel.

Keep up with the Joneses

Make sure outdoor maintenance is a priority. You don’t want your property to pale next to the one next door, especially if your neighbors check their lawn height with a ruler. Check your gutters and chimney, and make any necessary repairs.

Keep your lawns trimmed and flower beds weeded, especially during showings. Clear the driveway and yard of children’s toys and store away garbage cans so that there is a clear view of the house. Use urns to define walk spaces and ensure that window boxes are full of healthy, all-season plants that are easy to maintain. Replace any broken or dated light fixtures outside, and wash your windows and ledges. If you have a garage, make certain that it is neat and clutter-free, and that nothing is blocking your driveway.

landscaped yard

Refresh your interiors quickly and easily

Adding a fresh coat of paint indoors, and even adding new wood or laminate floors, will brighten up your home and make it more appealing to those who don’t want to do a lot of extra work once they move in. It may seem like a lot of extra work, but in my personal experience, floor and wall quality makes a huge impact. Many buyers just want to move in and make sure that there are nothing to do but hang paintings. Choose neutral colors, and make sure the colors are consistent throughout your home.

Put on a show

When you’re ready to show your house, your home will benefit from delicately scented candles or cookies baking in the oven when you’re showing. You don’t want really strong smells permeating your home, but a warm, fresh vanilla or orange scent will make your place memorable. Make sure your home is spotlessly clean, dusted and uncluttered. In fact, I’ve personally found that it pays to put most of your books and collectibles in storage for the duration of the showing process. People want to see a show home, not your personal family photos. It’s worth the small fee for a storage locker to make sure you have the right look in place. If you plan carefully, you also can use the home sale preparation process to help you pare down your belongings for your own move.

It’s important to steam-clean your carpets and wax floors. Pay special attention to your bathroom and kitchen: your house has to have mildew-free tile grout and scrubbed baseboards, or replace them if they are damaged. And, don’t forget about the windows, windowpanes, ledges and blinds! Fresh flowers, especially in the spring and winter when there isn’t a lot of color outside, can help to brighten and energize the house and engage buyers in taking a second look.

Get a second opinion

Of course, your Realtor will help you determine whether you’ve got everything just right, but it always pays to get some advice from friends. Once you’re ready to go, have a little get-together and see what your family and best friends think about the place. Ask them to look at your home as if they had never seen it before (and if you’ve done your job well, that’s what it will look like). As well, take your time in finding out what potential buyers in your area want to see before putting your home on the market. Get some honest feedback and incorporate changes.

It may seem daunting at first, but you have to remember that you’re marketing your home, not just moving out. You can create the right image with a little effort. Making these changes to my own home made a huge impact: I sold it in less than three weeks for close to the asking price!


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