Thought Leader Series: Preparing Your Home For Sale

Thought Leader Series: Preparing Your Home For Sale

Preparing your home for sale

Erin Pennings is a marketer by trade, with a passion for food, family and fun. She has multiple cross-country moves under her belt and shares her experiences on

Scouting pioneer Robert Baden-Powell once said “Leave this world a little better than you found it.” The same concept applies to your home. There’s no small amount of irony in the fact that you will likely spend hours ensuring that your house is perfect and fixed up … for someone else. But, you’ll find it’s worth it. The better your home looks, the faster it will sell, and for more money. Win-win.

Preparing your home for sale
Be proactive in preparing your home for sale for a seamless move.

Although it’s nearly always easiest for real estate agents to show a vacant house, it’s often not the reality for homeowners. Short of completely moving out of your existing home, there are several things you can do to make your house show-ready. We’ve compiled a guide with our top tips on preparing your home for sale, some of them should go without saying, but others will be new to you!

Declutter – This goes several steps deeper than clearing off your flat surfaces. Put everything that’s not an absolute necessity into storage, and while you’re at it, do the spring cleaning of a lifetime. This has the ultimate benefit of streamlining your move. This article has great tips on decluttering.

Staging – Another no-brainer, but worth mentioning. Stage your home so that it appears as big as possible. You don’t need the most modern furniture, but keep it simple, and your buyers will be able to picture how their own belongings might fit.

Preparing your home for sale
Picturing herself living in this beautifully staged home, this buyer is preparing an offer.

Remove Photographs – Keep some artwork strategically hung on the walls, but pack personal photos away. When the walls are a blank canvas, your buyers can more easily picture themselves in the home, rather than associating it with someone else — you.

Touch Ups – Make note of everywhere that you have dings in the paint (or anything else), whether from moving furniture, your children’s antics, or normal wear and tear.

Contractor Bids – If you know your carpet is toast (or anything else needs to be fixed before selling), you may want to include an allowance for new flooring based on the bids. The other contractor that you want to start working with is your own professional movers. Get a moving company quote.

Collect Photographs – Your listing agent will likely be hiring a professional photographer to come through your home prior to listing it. And it’s really worth it. But you can boost your listing with great photos of your home and garden in a variety of seasons.

Diagram Paints and Landscaping – Give your buyer the gift of every brand and hue of paint you’ve ever used as well as what perennials are planted where. This can also benefit the listing (“Seller is providing detailed landscaping diagram and list of paints used”).

List of Updates – Make a list of any updates you’ve made around the home. This will help your Realtor craft a well-written and accurate listing. While you’re at it, make a list of any appliances, flooring, etc. that were added to the home, and where you purchased them or had them serviced.

Preparing your home for sale
Your moving checklist should include action items for selling your house!

That’s it! OK, candidly, it’s a lot. But it’s completely worth your time; a house that’s showing at its best will sell faster and at top dollar. So now what? Well, it’s time to dig in and get started preparing your home for sale. But, before you start, make a timeline. When do you want to list your property? Plan to have your action list complete at least one week prior to give yourself some wiggle room. Make a list of everything you need to do, and take it in small chunks so that you maintain your sanity; some people like to tackle one room at time, while others in project “batches.”

Once your home is in tip-top shape, you’ll need to do regular pick-ups to maintain it. But, breathe, you still live in your home and most buyers will recognize that. So if your coffee cup gets left on your kitchen table, it’s not the end of the world. Need more tips to get ready to move? Visit We’ll help you with lists for everything, all you need is a pen to check them off!