Before you officially put your home on the market, it is so important to make the best first impression possible. It seems like there is so much to do, yet this huge first step is so important. Following is a list of categories to pay attention to when preparing your home to put on the market for sale. Wait on taking photos and listing your home until you feel confident in every one of these areas. All of these decluttering and home staging tasks will really impress viewers at house showings or open houses. Waiting and working hard will pay off in the end with an offer to purchase from an interested home buyer, who may be willing to pay top dollar after all your effort.
This post contains affiliate links. My website is my job, and helps to support our family. If you decide to buy something you see mentioned here, I would be so thankful if you clicked through my links so I can receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you! Please read my full disclosure.
Before you officially put your home on the market, it seems like there is so much to do. Just break it down into steps and take one at a time. You will get through this. Here is a list of things you may want to do to start preparing your home for sale.
Preparing Your Home For Sale Before It Goes On The Market
Take this advice from an experienced mover. I have moved sixteen times. My last eight moves were with at least one child of mine (my last move included six children). My husband and I have bought six homes and sold five. Also, our family is constantly moving items out of abandoned storage units that we purchase to resell items as a family business. So we have had some practice!
Pray anytime you think about your new house. He knows the desire of your heart and like a good earthly Dad, He wants to fill that desire for you. Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Also pray when you need strength. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
For best possible home staging, you may want to consider renting a storage unit. Do this right away so that you have a place to put packed and labeled items from your decluttering efforts. Someone’s else’s garage or basement would also work. The buyer likes to imagine their vehicle or treasured items in the garage and not see yours.
However, if you are not able to or not willing to do that, no worries! We have sold four of our five homes with boxes filling half or most of our garage! So we know this is possible. Only one house of ours had an empty garage and that was because of a job move to another state where we didn’t have time for showings before moving!
If you will be storing packed boxes and some furniture in the garage, try to clear out at least half of it. Start with the attic of the garage or rafters, take down and pack these items. Take down cobwebs and replace burned out light bulbs while you are up there. Make sure the walls and the floor on that side are empty, swept and ready to receive items to store until moving day.
You may even want to pack and label boxes as you are cleaning the garage. Be sure to leave out appliance dollies to move furniture, tools that may be needed to take apart furniture, ropes or bungee cords or straps to tie things down in a truck, and anything else you think you may need.
Be sure that all garage door openers are functional and that you know where the garage door openers are and that they have fresh batteries in them for sale day. Also know where keys are to regular walk through garage doors for sale day.
If lights on outside of garage have burned out, replace them and remember to turn those lights on for night showings.
Wash any garage windows and paint or scrub human size doors. Double check to be sure it is well swept.
Next, you will want to work on depersonalizing. When a potential buyer looks at a home, she is trying to picture herself living there. Your goal is to make this very easy for her and make her feel like she can move right in.
“Interior Design” is all about personalizing your home with your tastes and items you love. “Home Staging” takes the focus off you and rightly puts it on who we want to impress, our buyer. We need to depersonalize and neutralize everything. Neutralized tones need to be used if you intend to repaint. Purchase new couch pillows, bedspreads, towels, etc. in neutral colors for staging only. When not showing the home, put them away where no one can soil them.
If you display deer, fish, fowl or other wildlife trophy mounts, you have a big job to do. You will have to figure out how to package these for safe storage in the garage or storage unit. If they will be in your garage, cover them so they are hidden out of sight. Not every buyer is a hunter. If you have cremated remains of a loved one in an urn or vase, this will have to be hidden from the potential buyers’ view as well. It is a major turn off when they associate the home with “death”.
Take down photographs hanging on the wall or sitting on shelves or tables. This is the hardest thing for me because I LOVE having photos on our wall. But when a buyer looks at a home, if she sees you on the wall, shelf or fridge, it makes it hard to imagine her own photos there. Sadly, some people have prejudices too. A single person doesn’t want to see a married couple. A childless couple may not want to see pictures of children. Oddly, even though they see the stuff that belongs to the spouse or children, the photo images are what stands out in their mind and makes the impression. They are fine meeting you at the closing because then they are already sold on the house and are committed. It is the first impression we are worried about.
I personally think everyone hopes to see “a better closet” than they currently have when looking for a home. In some cases, that could just mean more organized! Your closets need to look very bare so they appear to be huge. Try to leave some space open on the rack with hangers on it to show “all the room for more clothes”. If your closet has organizers and shelves, clear at least a shelf or two and dust it to show “all the shelving in the closet”. Clear the floor and clean it very well. Leave some floor bare to show “how spacious it is”. Before a home showing, lightly spray the clothes so they do not have any personal or detergent smells to sensitive noses.
Unobstructed Clean Paths Through The Home
A large group of people may be coming through your home to view it. Especially if it is me and my family of nine! We are thinking we need one more bedroom presently. Even if it is a new married couple, they may bring a realtor and two parents each, which totals seven people. If you have coffee tables, ottomans, or an extra rocking chair or end table sticking out where group could be walking, it’s time to store it until moving day.
If you have carpet, this is also the time to schedule the professional carpet cleaning company to come to your home to get out all of those stains and odors before the photos get taken.
Buy a new neutral colored rug runner to place on top of your carpet from the front door to walk at least four feet into the room. This shows the new buyer that you are concerned about protecting the floor and have probably preserved and taken good care of the rest of the home as well. Remember, it’s all about first impressions!
Take everything off of the top of, sides and front of the refrigerator. Pack those items for the next house, and wipe the outside of the fridge down so it shines, even if it is not included in the sale.
Clear and dust the tops of cupboards, microwaves, shelving, etc.
Take any hanging items down. No hanging pots, utensils, pot holders, just a kitchen hand towel.
Pack up or put out of sight almost every counter item or small appliance. When I move, my counters are clear except for the microwave and toaster. Some appliances I am still using end up in a plastic tote with a lid in my garage on showing days!
Thoroughly clean the outside of cupboards, drawers, walls, light switches, appliances, clean windows, etc.
At the realtor photo shoot or showing time, load all the dirty dishes into a plastic storage tote with a lid and haul them to the garage. Then scrub the counters and sink very well. Be sure to bring those dirty dishes back in for washing later! Yeah, now you know all my (literally) dirty little secrets!
There are easy and cost effective ways to brighten and lighten up your home. A light, neutral fresh coat of paint does wonders and is a great return on investment. Some realtors even advertize, “fresh paint”. Patch up any unsightly cracks or blemishes on your walls. Get a paint with a primer in it so you can save time and paint it all in one coat. Use the same color in any rooms you plan to paint.
Remove your big, black grate from your fireplace, clean it out and add in a few neutral colored candles instead.
Change light bulbs to brighter bulbs, if possible, to transform rooms for staging purposes.
Use neutral colors and have staged accessories shown in groups of three. Preferrably tall, medium and short so the eyes can rest.
Check the condition of your driveway and sidewalks and do everything you can for them to look as nice as possible. If you have a gravel driveway, get a fresh layer of gravel poured. Or have your driveway sealed or black-coated, whatever the case may be.
Take care of the lawn and edging or shoveling snow. Make the garden look bare or weed it so it looks fantastic. Trim trees or hedges, plants, etc. Remove any garden or lawn statues so the buyer can picture her own statues there.
Clean the outside of the house, wash the windows, and paint the front door.
Start in one room and work your way clockwise around the house, basement, garage, or any garden sheds on the property and look for items you no longer need and part with them. Your saying is now, “less to move”! With each item, decide whether to keep, pack, donate, sell, or trash. Use garbage bags with handles for your trash and donate piles. Mark “D” on donate bags with a permanent marker so those items don’t end up in the trash. Keep track of donation receipts for tax purposes. For those items you wish to sell, take a picture of it right away to advertise it at online sale sites or for online garage sale advertising if you intend to have a sale before listing the home. Read this article for packing tips: Packing Tips For Moving
Finding The Time
Sleep is nice, but sometimes my best hours for declutter/clean/pack/paint were 4:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. while my youngest kids were still asleep. I would also work during about a one hour naptime for my little ones with the older children’s help. My husband would work while I was doing the bedtime routine and later into the night from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. I would go to bed at the same time as my children. This would give us a total of eight hours of at least one person working on these tasks. Often we would have older children help as well. I hope that helps you to see how you can find time.
- Color coded moving labels with room names
- Appliance Dollie
- Little Giant Ladder
- One coat door paint for metal or wood doors
- neutral colored couch pillows
- neutral colored bedspread
- neutral colored kitchen towels
- neutral colored bathroom hand towels
- clothing, fabric furniture and curtain de-scent spray
- neutral colored rug runner
- light brown round wicker baskets
- interior primer and paint in one
- neutral colored candles
- plastic garbage bags with a handle
Subscribe so you never miss a post.
Please share this post.