Believe it or not, there are a few simple steps that each homeowner can take, to increase the appeal of the home they are wanting to sell. This comes from my experience not only as a real estate agent, but also with my work in design.  When it comes to deciding what to do, remember this…keep it simple and keep it clean!

The title says it all, but here are the steps to take to make your home “showing ready” for prospective buyers.

Decluttering / Removal of Personal Items

Decluttering in a nutshell is eliminating everything that is not necessary.  Think “minimalism”.  Less is actually more when it comes to presenting a home for sale and attracting potential buyers.

For the kitchen:

You will want most of what keep on the counters to be removed or put away.  People want to view the kitchen, which would be the counters, the sink, where the appliances are, the flooring, etc.  Any clutter or personal items actually deter from them viewing this area and believe it or not, will impact their judgement.



For the bathrooms:

The same goes for bathrooms with toiletries.  Put away all dental items, perfumes, soaps, medicines.  This goes for old towels as well.  People buying a home do not want to see old personal items.  They would rather see a bare room than one with personal items.



For the bedrooms:

Having a clean and well balanced bedroom, especially a master or primary suite, is a big impact area for home buyers.  Most may not know, but sheets including the sleeping pillows, will have the scent of the current homeowners.  When showing the home, it is best to remove at least the sleep pillows from the bed and store them elsewhere, a not in the closet.  The beds should also be beautifully made.  Proper bedding for the size of bed is best and clean nightstands as well as matching lamps.  You don’t have to have a lot in the bedroom, but with what you do have, it should be balanced and clean.  This area also should have no personal items, i.e. photos or memorabilia, showing at all.




For the other living areas:

For the remaining living areas, such as great rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and outdoor areas, again do remove all personal photos and memorabilia.  When I say memorabilia, I am talking about awards, pictures drawn by grandchildren, trophies and sports items.  You will want each room seen for being the clean space that it is.




Is Painting Necessary?

This question comes up with many clients I work with, both in real estate as well as the design work, as some come to me wanting to prepare their home for sale in the near future.  Here are my thoughts on the need to paint any interiors…or exteriors for that matter.

Multiple colors throughout the home:

How we design the home we live in is entirely up to us, as we all have our own design taste.
But when you are presenting a home for sale, think light, bright and clean. Shades of white or very light gray’s almost always present much better than blues, maroons or pinks, golds or shades of green.  I mention these colors as I have seen them in homes that I have either shown or listed myself.   With whites, the home appears more clean and gives off a more “new” appearance.
I am not saying everything needs to be painted.  But it is a good idea to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes when viewing your home.  With neutral or soft white walls, the buyer’s will see a clean slate and one they can create from.  Seeing things that need repainting can conclude to them “work needing to be done”.  This is the premise for my suggestion.
This above suggestion doesn’t need to be utilized if the paint you have really does enhance the home, such as well placed accent walls in darker neutral colors.  My suggestion is that it is best to stay away from really vibrant colors as they do not appeal to everyone.
Last note….a fresh coat of paint actually does wonders for spaces.  I recently did this for clients that were selling their home in Windsor.  Their daughter’s room was painted a very dark charcoal and had 10 foot ceilings.  It made the room appear cavernous.  We actually repainted this beautiful room an eggshell white, replaced the closet doors and changed the entire appearance of the room, making it light and bright.

Cleaning and Making Repairs to Your Home

This step is actually one of most important ones, as it will contribute to the first impression that buyers will have as they arrive and enter your home.

Pressure Washing:

This step, I feel is one of the biggest payoffs for sellers as it can transform the entire exterior of your home, if it has not been done in a few years. Pressure washing the exterior of your home, under the eaves as well as the gutters will remove all the surface dirt and many times completely brighten up the entire home.
Pressure washing walkways, whether concrete or stone, removing the dark buildup from the cold weather will reveal a more beautiful landscape and/or entry way to your home.  I will also include the driveway and sidewalks with this as well.
When it comes to repairs, it is making sure, first that all things, such as appliances, heating and air conditioning units are all in working order.  Any plumbing issues or leaks should also be repaired.

Curb Appeal and Landscape

Curb appeal is a very real concept and it is actually the very first impression buyers will take into account when they pull up to your home.  I consider the outside of your home almost equally important to the inside as both can indicate to the potential buyer’s the care the home has been given.



Following the pressure washing of the exterior, removal of weeds, trimmed hedges and trees and freshening up of any plants really does add to the appeal of the home.  In addition, I also recommend placing fresh bark in your planters as it will also renew the landscape and enhance the foliage around the home. Keep lawns watered and trimmed as well.



Reports / Inspections

I recommend to all of my clients selling their homes to invest in a pest inspection of their home.  This will do 2 very important things for them. The first, is that it will provide them with any items that could be an issue they were unaware of and needs to be repaired or taken into account. The second is that they will be aware of the exact condition of their home when it hits the market and won’t be waiting to be surprised when a buyer orders one while in the middle of a contract, which if issues come up can and will lead to renegotiations or possibly a cancellation of contract.


In Closing

The recommendations I have written about are all things that I suggest to my clients that are looking to sell their home.  Most of these guidelines are not expensive and just take time and preparation.  I suggest these to my clients as I know that it will increase not only the appeal of the home to potential buyers, but it will most likely garner them the best price for their home, no matter what kind of market we are in.  Remember all buyers decide to make a purchase which is always based on an emotional connection made.  Keep that in mind as you prepare your home!