Home » Selling your Home » Preparing your home for Sale »

Getting Your House Ready to Sell


Kitchen Clutter

Page Back Button

Photo of a Clean and Tidy KitchenThe kitchen is a good place to start removing clutter, because it is an easy place to start.

First, get everything off the counters. Everything. Even the toaster. Put the toaster in a cabinet and take it out when you use it. Find a place where you can store everything in cabinets and drawers. Of course, you may notice that you do not have cabinet space to put everything. Clean them out. The dishes, pots and pans that rarely get used? Put them in a box and put that box in storage.

You see, homebuyers will open all your cabinets and drawers, especially in the kitchen. They want to be sure there is enough room for their "stuff." If your kitchen cabinets, pantries, and drawers look jammed full, it sends a negative message to the buyer and does not promote an image of plentiful storage space. The best way to do that is to have as much "empty space" as possible.

For that reason, if you have a "junk drawer," get rid of the junk. If you have a rarely used crock pot, put it in storage. Do this with every cabinet and drawer. Create open space.

If you have a large amount of foodstuffs crammed into the shelves or pantry, begin using them - especially canned goods. Canned goods are heavy and you don't want to be lugging them to a new house, anyway - or paying a mover to do so. Let what you have on the shelves determine your menus and use up as much as you can.

Beneath the sink is very critical, too. Make sure the area beneath the sink is as empty as possible, removing all extra cleaning supplies.


Closet Clutter

Closets are great for accumulating clutter, though you may not think of it as clutter. We are talking about extra clothes and shoes - things you rarely wear but cannot bear to be without. Do without these items for a couple of months by putting them in a box, because these items can make your closets look "crammed full." Sometimes there are shoeboxes full of "stuff" or other accumulated personal items, too.


Furniture Clutter

Many people have too much furniture in certain rooms - not too much for your own personal living needs - but too much to give the illusion of space that a homebuyer would like to see. You may want to tour some builders' models to see how they place furniture in the model homes. Observe how they place furniture in the models so you get some ideas on what to remove and what to leave in your house.


Storage Area Clutter

Basements, garages, attics, and sheds accumulate not only clutter, but junk. These areas should be as empty as possible so that buyers can imagine what they would do with the space. Remove anything that is not essential and take it to the storage area.

Or have a garage sale.


Costs of Repairs

Do not do anything expensive, such as remodeling. If possible, use savings to pay for any repairs and improvement. Remember that part of selling a house is also preparing to buy your next home.


Back to Top of Button

Plumbing and Fixtures

When looking at a house, prospective home buyers often do not really know what to do. So they play with things. They flick light switches. They open everything with a handle. They turn on all the faucets and flush all the toilets. Having nice shiny fixtures makes an impression.

All your sink fixtures should look shiny and new. If this cannot be accomplished by cleaning, buy new ones. If you don't buy something fancy, this can be accomplished inexpensively. Make sure all the hot and cold water knobs are easy to turn and that the faucets do not leak. If they do, replace the washers.

Check to make sure you have good water pressure and that there are no stains on any of the porcelain. If you have a difficult stain to remove, one trick is to hire a cleaning crew to go through and clean your home on a one-time basis. They seem to be wonderful at making stains go away.


Ceilings, Walls and Painting

Check all the ceilings for water stains, whether the leak is caused by plumbing or a faulty roof. Find the leak and repair it and make sure a proper job is done.

If a water stain is left after something you have already repaired, do the cosmetic work necessary to improve the desirability of your home. That means painting.

You may have to paint anyway, especially if dirt has accumulated in spots or you have an outdated color scheme. Painting makes a home look fresh and new on the inside and never fails to impress.

Painting can be your best investment when selling your home. It is not a very expensive operation and often you can do it yourself. Do not choose colors based on your own preferences, but based on what would appeal to the widest possible number of buyers. You should almost always choose an off-white color because white helps your rooms appear bright and spacious.


Carpet and Flooring

Unless your carpet appears old and worn, or it is definitely an outdated style or color, you probably should do nothing more than hire a good carpet cleaner. If you do choose to replace it, do so with something inexpensive in a fairly neutral color. www.wizardcarpet.com

Repair or replace broken floor tiles, but do not spend a lot of money on anything. Remember, you are not fixing up the place for yourself. You want to move. Your goal is simply to leave few negative impressions upon those who may want to purchase your property.


Back to Top of Button

Windows and Doors

Check all of your windows to make sure they open and close easily. If not, a spray of WD40 often helps. Make sure there are no cracked or broken windowpanes. If there are, replace them before you begin showing your home.

Do the same things with the doors - make sure they open and close properly, without creaking. If they do, a shot of WD40 on the hinges usually makes the creak go away. Be sure the doorknobs turn easily, and that they are cleaned and polished to look sharp. As buyers go from room to room, someone opens each door and you want to do everything necessary to create a positive impression.


Odor Control

For those who smoke, you might want to minimize smoking indoors while trying to sell your home. Actually, it is best to move smoking outside. You could also purchase an ozone spray that helps to remove odors without creating a masking odor.

Apologies to pet owners, but pets come with odors. You may have become used to them, but they are immediately noticeable to those with more finely tuned olfactory senses.

For those with cats, be sure to empty kitty litter boxes daily and use plenty of baking soda. For dog owners, keep the dog outdoors as much as possible. You might also try sprinkling carpet freshener on the carpet on a periodic basis.


The Back Yard

The back yard should be tidy. If you have a pool or spa, keep it freshly maintained and constantly cleaned. For those that have dogs, be sure to constantly keep the area clear of "debris." If you have swing sets or anything elaborate for your children, it probably makes more sense to remove them than to leave them in place. They take up room, and you want your back yard to appear as spacious as possible, especially in newer homes where the yards are not as large.


The Front Door & Entryway

The front door should be especially sharp, since it is the entryway into the house. Polish the door fixture so it gleams. It may be worth the investment to install a new door fixture. If the door needs refinishing or repainting, make sure to get that done.

If you have a cute little plaque or shingle with your family name on it, remove it. Even if it is just on the mailbox. You can always put it up again once you move. Get a new plush door mat, too. This is something else you can take with you once you move.

Make sure the lock works easily and the key fits properly. When a homebuyer comes to visit your home, the agent uses the key from the lock box to unlock the door. If there is trouble working the lock while everyone else stands around twiddling their thumbs, this sends a negative first impression to prospective homebuyers.


Back to Top of Button


Quick Contact
Name *
Phone *
Email *
Your question/comment



Facebook Fan Button      Twitter Follow Button