SELLING YOUR HOUSE is one of the biggest decisions that you will make in your adult life. You are considering moving your family and you are working with one of the largest transactions you will work all year long. No wonder it is so stressful! If you have to move frequently it gets a little easier but most families only move every 5 years or so.

However, if you put finding the right agent at the top of your “To Do List” this will cut your stress immensely! The right Realtor has worked with numerous families who have been right where you are and they have successfully walked them over and through every obstacle that was on their path. You can avoid unnecessary delays or nights of worry by partnering with an agent that you trust. Read reviews of local agents and quiz your reliable friends that have sold in your area. You will be able to locate the agent that is right for you and your specific market.

Since selling a home entails a whole lot more than just planting a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn you will need to take steps to prepare your house for sale. Start by looking at your house with “fresh” eyes.


1. Evaluate your curb appeal                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The first impression made on a buyer happens outside the home! Driving by or standing in the front yard…this is where the house must appeal to prospective buyers. They must want to venture inside. You can make simple updates like painting the front door, hanging a wreath on the front door and putting out a new welcome mat, adding flowering plants, scraping and repainting peeling paint, or power washing the exterior if it’s a vinyl siding home. Well maintained homes will need very little to brighten the appeal from the curb, but small tweaks like these can make a huge impact on the buyer traffic that makes inside your home.

2. Depersonalize the space                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Showing a house is different from living in a house. You want the buyer to be able to visualize themselves in this space. They will have an easier time seeing themselves there if they are not acutely aware of the fact that you are there. Most people want advice on preparing to sell, but when I ask them to remove family photos, kids artwork, or unique decorative items they can be resistant. Don’t take offense to this tip. Instead, use it to get a jump on packing for your move! Now is the time to see your property as an investor seeking to transact the best deal possible.

3. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Think…condo living! One of the reasons we love to go on vacation is the simplicity of the living space. When potential buyers walk into your house you want them to be overwhelmed with what the house has to offer, not overwhelmed with trying to look beyond the mess to envision what the house has to offer. Simplify what is in the house by clean out your closets and drawers and make sure your rooms don’t have too much furniture or furniture that is too large for that space. Spaces that are packed give the appearance that the house does not have enough space. Go ahead and throw away or give away what you are not using and box up what you do not need for daily living. Less is more in this season and will highlight the features of your home.

4. Clean from top to bottom                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You can never have a house For Sale that is too clean. When the buyer walks into the house your goal is to pull a “Wow!” out of them. One way is through cleanliness…people love that feeling of clean. You want everything to sparkle. A dated kitchen faucet can be overlooked if it is shined to perfection and the latest model of a faucet that is dirty can be an immediate turnoff. Fresh smells are imperative to a positive showing of your house. If you have pets take measures to rid your house of the smells that can accompany them. If you do not have the time or ability to deep clean your house you may consider hiring someone to do that for you. Once the house has had a thorough cleaning it will be easier to maintain between showings.

5. Make needed repairs                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You are very acquainted with your property and more than likely you know what needs to be addressed. However, it is interesting how we can grow so accustomed to compensating for a defect that we don’t even see it as a deficit. Ex. The gate to the backyard that is held closed with a propped brick instead of an operational latch, or the outlets that have no covers.  Ask your agent to point out the repairs that they feel could slow down the sell of the house or that might show up on a home inspection report. There are two schools of thought here: One is I will wait and see what the buyer requests to be repaired before I fix anything and the other is I will go ahead and repair anything that will delay the sale of the house. I have found that the homes that are well maintained sell faster and for a higher purchase price.

6. Neutralize the walls                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is truly amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do for a house. Most buyers want to be able to move right into their new home and start living. The easier you can make that on them the more likely they are to choose your home. This tip is closely related to the depersonalize tip. When we put our favorite color on our walls we are personalizing that space for us and the handful of people that share that same preference. We want to appeal to the general population when we are marketing our house For Sale. Neutralizing your walls with the most popular neutral color for the current market will immediately increase the number of buyers that your house will lure inside.

7. Stage the house                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This last tip is key to a fast sale and with a top offer. If it is within your ability or budget I highly recommend staging your home. There are numerous home-staging websites that you can refer to for tips and how-tos. You can learn what to keep and what to get rid of or store. Arrange the furniture in your home so that the rooms appear as large as possible. I know professional staging can be pricey but the amount spent on staging is typically less than the amount of the first price reduction that a seller makes when a house is not moving. According to Home Staging Resource, a staging survey of 3,500 homes reported that sellers who spent 1 percent of their home’s value on staging had an average 1000 percent return on their investment.