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Tips for Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

Updated on June 12, 2008

Are you ready to put your house on the market? Do you need a quick sale? There are many things you can do to help your home look better and sell quicker. In a tough real estate market, making your home stand out from the crowd is the best thing you can do.

Having looked at many houses for sale over the past few years and having sold two houses in the past few years one of the most important things for a home on the market is for it to be clean. I cannot tell you how many homes we walked through that were filthy dirty. Dirty laundry, layers of dust, weird smells and dishes on the counter. First and foremost when you are trying to sell your home is to make sure it is clean! The thing we got the most comments on about our houses was that they were so clean.

Reducing the clutter is another important step to take. When you are living in your house day after day, things accumulate and you don't even notice. Take a hard look at everything space in your home. Walk through the front door as if you were a potential buyer. Look everywhere. Get rid of anything extra to the point that you think it looks too sparse. That is how you want it to look. You want the rooms to look spacious and too much stuff makes them shrink to the eye.

Get rid of extra throw pillows and blankets or afghans on the sofa. Kids toys need to be hidden (use end tables and drawers to hide kids things in so you can easily pull stuff out when you are home). Most bookcases are loaded too full with books. Get rid of at least half of the books on your shelves and intersperse other things such as a basket, candle, figurine, etc.leaving lots of space around the object. Now your bookcases look great, not cluttered.

The kitchen and bathrooms are the most important areas to keep clean. Counters should have nothing on them, except a vase of flowers or decorative plate. Once your house goes on the market everything is for show. Keep separate towels to use for drying hands and wiping counters. Throw them in a drawer or under a counter on your way out the door before a showing. Stash stuff wherever you can!

As for remodeling projects that will help you sell your home quicker, there are some easy things you can do that don't cost a lot of money. Paint is one of them. You don't need to repaint your entire house probably, but touch up any areas that need it. Wipe down walls and baseboards. Repaint the molding if needed, this area gets the dirtiest I have found. A fresh coat of paint makes the whole room perk up.

Replacing the toilet seats is fast and easy. With two boys that don't always have the greatest aim, the bathroom quickly starts to smell. It isn't the toilet seat, but the screws that hold it on and the little crevices that are very hard to get too. Add to that the fact that toilet seats get scuffed easily and it makes more sense sometimes to spend $20 and replace the seat.

Having fresh flowers out will make your house look like home and it will smell better too. Speaking of smell, don't cook anything that causes a bad odor. One time I made fried chicken while our house was on the market. This creates a strong smell for sure. Just as I was helping the plates we got a call that someone wanted to see our house in 30 minutes! We had to race through our food and there was no time to air the house out. Spraying Febreeze didn't help. Needless to say we didn't sell the house that day and I learned a lesson. I know I am always turned off walking into a house that smells bad.

Another thing you can do to help your house look better is to make sure all lights are working. You should turn on lights before a showing anyway, but you don't want anything to look like it is wrong in your house and if someone flips a switch and the light doesn't come on, something is wrong and this leaves a bad impression. Get your carpets cleaned and possibly your hardwood floors polished. Keep your lawn mowed neatly and flowers out front if it is summer. Keep the driveway and sidewalk shoveled in the winter. Keep your house at a comfortable temperature, so that it is pleasant to walk into.

Establish some routines each day to keep it looking great. Get in the habit of wiping down all counters and sinks after each use. Consider purchasing some convenience items to make cleaning up easier. I bought a Swiffer mop and quickly swiped the floor before each showing. I bought some Lysol wipes and wiped down doorknobs, light switches and sinks quickly before a showing. Making the upkeep of a very clean house easier, made it easier to live there while trying to sell the house.

Getting your house ready to sell can be tedious, but it will be well worth it in the end. Take some time before hand to get it looking perfect and it will payoff when your house sells before the others in the neighborhood. Good luck!


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    • profile image

      real estate tips 

      10 years ago

      Very practical and realistic tips. Great hub, Jennifer, indeed!

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 

      10 years ago from Iowa

      Thumbs up, Jennifer! This is relevant and useful information. We're trying to pack away at least half of what we own before we list. We are much too messy and cluttered by nature to make it work any other way. Excellent tips.

    • RyanRE profile image


      10 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      Great Hub Jennifer :D Realistically, anyone that seriously wants to sell their home in this market needs to hire a professional stager, professional photographer and professional real estate agent. Or just hire a great real estate agent that will hire the stager and photographer. They also need to price their home aggressively. These steps in addition to your fabulous tips will ensure a quick sale.


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