Prepare yourself mentally: “The home you live in is your home – when you sell it, it is your house—-a product to be sold”.

Pack up and put away your personal items throughout your home.  Take down pictures and family heirlooms.  Personal items distract buyers and you want them to focus on the features of your house and not who lived in it.


People often collect “junk” that they do not need (or do not use).  Donate or throw away unused or unneeded items.  Remove all unnecessary items from the home.  Take books off the bookcases and other items that do not get used on a regular basis.

Rearrange Bedroom Closet and Kitchen Cabinets

Organize all of your closets and cabinets.  This will send a message to buyers that you take extra care and pay close attention to your house.

Rent Storage Unit

Almost every home shows better with less furniture.  Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage.  If your bookcases are empty, store them too.  Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger.  Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose and plenty of room to move around.

Remove/Replace Favorite Items

If you plan to take window coverings, built-in appliances, or fixtures, remove them.  If a buyer notices something they wish to remain in the house, it may be a deal breaker.

Make Minor Repairs

  • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles 
  • Patch holes in walls 
  • Fix leaky faucets 
  • Fix doors that do not close properly including drawers that jam 
  •  Consider painting walls neutral color
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs
  • Oil squeaky doors and hinges.

Clean!   Clean!   Clean!

  • Wash windows (inside and out)
  • Vacuum daily
  • Clean and air out musty areas. (Do not go crazy with scented fragrances through – pick scents that are pleasant and not overpowering.

Scrutinize Your Home Appeal From a Buyer’s Perspective

  • Remember, a Buyer only sees what you present them.  They do not recognize the time you took to make changes; they only understand the finished product you present them.  It is a good idea to have an honest friend or your real estate sales agent make a ‘test inspection’ to critique your initial efforts.

Check Curb Appeal

If a buyer does not like the exterior of your home, it is going to make it a lot harder to convince them to take a look at the interior.

  • Keep sidewalks clear
  • Mow lawn and water regularly
  • Remove weeds from shrub and flower areas
  • Paint faded trim and other areas
  • Plant flowers
  • Trim hedges and bushes

Finally, before listing your home, review the action you’ve taken in preparing your home with your real estate broker.  Not sure if you should move?  Or maybe remodeling is a better choice – find out with the Remodel Or Move calculator which gives an instant cost estimate to remodel and to move and a recommendation which is best for based on your situation and goals.