How To Prepare Your House For Sale

1. Skip the Local Real Estate Market

Listing your home on the traditional real estate market is a lot of work. You need to keep your home in perfect condition at all times. You also need to do a lot of work ahead of time to prep it for sale.

With iBuyer, you receive a personalized home evaluation and get matched with qualified home buyers. Buyers range from national iBuyers to local iBuyers, investors, or consumers looking to buy directly and close quickly.

You can skip the hassle of holding open houses and showings. There’s no need to bring a bunch of people through your home. Sell your house without hundreds of people coming into it.

Fix Floors


Nothing makes a home feel less inviting than dirty carpets; home buyers really don’t want to see evidence of your everyday wear and tear. If your carpets are in good condition but just a bit dingy, have them cleaned. Replace outdated or badly stained floor coverings, however, with fresh, neutral-colored substitutes. If you have hardwood floors, use specialty stain pens to hide scratches and scuff marks. In addition, screw down loose floorboards to prevent disruptive squeaks that might negatively affect house hunters taking the grand tour. Related: 7 Secrets to Keep Your Carpet Looking New


Consider Renting a Storage Unit 

Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces that block or hamper paths and walkways, and put them in storage, along with distracting furniture, artwork, and empty bookcases.

Removing extra leaves from your dining room table will make the room appear larger.

Leave just enough furniture to showcase the room's purpose with plenty of room for buyers to move around.

Make Small But Mighty Updates


You may be under the impression that your home will sell faster if you first complete a few large-scale remodeling projects. But oftentimes these expensive upgrades don’t really pay off. A more cost-efficient route might be to make small but impactful changes, such as regrouting tiles, replacing outdated hardware, or swapping out old light fixtures, to lend spaces the modern look they need without breaking the bank.  Related: 21 Brilliant Hacks for Everyday Home Repairs


Should You Sell Your Home for Cash?

Selling a home for cash is a quick way to avoid the hassle and stress of staging a house, showing it, making repairs, and juggling competing offers. However, most cash buyers won't buy a home for more than 75% of the home's value, minus any anticipated fixing-up expenses. Selling a home for cash is easier, but at a significant financial cost that should be considered.

Depersonalize Your House 

Pack up your personal photographs, family heirlooms, and other objects and clutter that might distract potential buyers and hurt a possible sale. You want to present buyers with an impersonal, clean environment so they can imagine the home perhaps decorated with their own photographs, furniture, and art objects. Depersonalizing your home makes it easier for potential buyers to visualize how the home might look filled with their own items.

Regarding furniture, only leave understated pieces that are not a distraction and don't create an unintended impression. For example, it would be difficult for a buyer to visualize their own antique furnishings in place of the existing zebra couch, bright yellow chair, and bear rug.

The goal is to make it easy for a potential buyer to see the house as their future home.

Day 18: Get the Windows Cleaned

 I know, you probably don’t even think about cleaning your windows, but rain, snow and construction can really make your windows dirty. We like College Pro Window Cleaners for affordable window cleaning.

Day 25: Make Plans for the Kids and the Dog/Cat/Hedgehog

No Buyer wants to look at all your kids’ toys, finger painting works of art or dirty diapers, so put it all away and make a plan to keep it concealed. 

I love my dogs too, but prospective Buyers won’t appreciate the barking/jumping/submissive peeing. Make a plan to get your pets out of the house: Doggie daycare? Grandma and Grandpa? Multiple walks.

Related: 25 Tips for Selling with Kids

Related: Tips for Selling with Pets

7. Takeaway

When you live in a home, especially for a long time, it’s easy to overlook the things that can make or break an offer. Selling your home is about taking an objective look from a buyer’s point of view. Remove yourself and your memories from the equation, and imagine that you are seeing your home for the first time.

Consider asking friends or family for their honest feedback so you can be sure you’ve done everything possible to make your home look its best before you put it on the market. You’ll impress buyers who, in turn, will impress you with good offers.

By Stephanie Vozza

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Opendoor always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

Not Carrying Proper Insurance

Your lender may have required you to acquire a homeowners insurance policy. If not, you’ll want to make sure you’re insured in case a viewer has an accident on the premises and tries to sue you for damages. You also want to make sure there are no obvious hazards at the property or that you take steps to mitigate them (keeping the children of potential buyers away from your pool and getting your dog out of the house during showings, for example).

3. How to Prepare a House to Sell by Decluttering

Clutter accumulates. If you have mail and homework on your dining room table, it’s time to clean things up. Homebuyers want to imagine themselves living in your home. If all they see is clutter, they will walk right out.

Go through your house and remove any trash or clutter you see on surfaces or the floor. This is one less thing you’ll have to do before you move. This is also a good time to remove any souvenirs and personal collections from your walls or shelves.

While a few decorative items are fine, too many are distracting. The cleaner your home looks the better it shows. People want to see windows and architectural details – buyers don’t want to see your clutter.

Decluttering helps to neutralize and freshen up your home. Your home will look more updated as well. A neutral and show-ready home gives buyers the feeling that your home is well cared for and maintained.

4. Replace old fixtures and fittings

If you consider yourself something of the handy type, why not consider switching over some of those dated fixtures like door knobs, tapware, lampshades and handles?

“It’s not always viable to do full renovations before an auction day, but changing up the small things, such as the taps in the kitchen and bathrooms, can make an old space feel new again,” says Daniel.

Replace dated tap fixtures with modern options. Picture: Lisa Cohen

5. Set the stage—make it feel like home

Now comes the final step: staging your home. The goal is to create a great first impression so that buyers put your home at the top of their list. On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than those that aren’t staged, according to

You don’t need to spend a lot of money — a f

You don’t need to spend a lot of money — a few updates can make a room feel new. Tuning into HGTV shows like “Fixer Upper,” “Flip or Flop,” and “Love It Or List It” can provide you with decorating inspiration. They showcase the most popular looks and trends in home decor, which can help you make design decisions when staging your home.

You don’t need to stage your entire home. Focus instead on rooms that impress buyers most, such as the kitchen, living room, master suite, and bathrooms. In the kitchen, for example, place a bowl of fresh fruit on the countertop and set the table with beautiful dinnerware and linens.

In the living room, toss a decorative blanket on the arm of the sofa and add a vase of fresh flowers to the coffee table. Update bathrooms with fluffy new towels and display a dish of decorative soaps.

Put a tray with a book and teapot on the edge of the master bed. Create a single focal point in each room, hanging a simple piece of artwork that enhances your staging, or highlighting architectural details, such as a fireplace or beautiful windows.

While staging is mostly about the details, you might need to update your furniture, especially if your current furnishings are dated or in bad condition. If you were thinking of replacing your worn out sofa, for example, it might be a good idea to do that before you sell your home. You can also rent furniture while your house is on the market. This is a good idea if you’ve already moved into your new home, and the home you need to sell is vacant. Unfurnished rooms look smaller, and placing furniture in rooms helps buyers better understand where they would put their own belongings.

Staging also helps you give rooms purpose, giving prospective buyers ideas about how they might use an extra bedroom, basement or nook. Choose a function that might appeal to your demographic. For example, if your house is a starter home in an area that appeals to young families, set up a bedroom as a nursery or playroom. If your condo appeals to single buyers, think about designing a home office or home gym. Staging is about design and lifestyle.

Don’t forget to stage the exterior, creating curb appeal. A buyer’s first impression happens when they pull up in front of your house. The appearance of your home’s exterior can increase your home’s value up to 17%, according to a study from Texas Tech University.

Stage your exterior by keeping your yard tidy. Mow the grass, trim bushes and shrubs, and freshen your mulch. Add color by planting flowers in your front yard or in pots on your front porch. In winter, consider seasonal touches like a wreath or holiday lights.

If decorating isn’t your strength, you can hire a professional stager. An initial consultation costs between $300 and $600, according to If the stager brings in new furnishings, you’ll pay a monthly rental fee. Some professional home stagers require a minimum contract, even if your house sells quickly. The national average for home staging is between $2,000 and $3,200, according to

A real estate agent can recommend a professional stager, and in many cases agents will cover the cost of staging to help your home sell. Staging your home will helps set the stage for creating the best listing photos—and that can boost interest and showings.

Minor DIY cosmetic updates for maximum value

There are some easy do-it-yourself cosmetic updates that can really enhance the appeal of your home and help you maximize the value when you sell. Most people will be able to do these on their own. Just remember that there is a YouTube video for everything. If you don’t know how to do something on this list, you should be able to find plenty of tutorials on YouTube that walk you through it. Just remember that not everyone on YouTube knows what they are talking about, so my advice is to cross reference multiple videos to make sure you’ve got the full picture.

Here are the DIY cosmetic updates that will help you maximize your “bang for the buck”:

  • General cleaning – walls, floors, kitchens, bathrooms
  • Clean vent fans
  • Replace burned out light bulbs
  • Replace older faucets, door knobs, or trim
  • Replace outdated lighting fixtures
  • Clean windows and screens
  • Have carpets cleaned, especially if you have indoor pets
  • Make sure that carbon monoxide detectors are installed

6. Curb appeal

First impressions are everything, and it doesn’t matter how beautiful your abode appears on the inside if the exterior resembles something of a hot mess.

“Setting the tone before anyone steps through the door puts buyers in the right mindset without even seeing inside,” Daniel says.

“Taking the time to mow the lawns, plant some flowers or even paint the fence or facade where needed can make all the difference.”

Hot tip: Consider removing screen doors and window screens for open days to make the facade look bright and neat.  

13 Lucille Avenue Reservoir, Victoria, has been beautifully updated to appease the modern buyer while maintaining a historic charm. Picture:

Tips for getting your home ready for sale

There’s more to selling your home than taking some pictures and uploading it to a real estate site. This getting house ready to sell checklist will help you get on (and off) the market fast and maximize your home’s value.

1. Examine your curb appeal

If you’ve ever watched House Hunters on HGTV, you’ve heard the term “curb appeal.” It’s the real estate equivalent of judging a book by its cover. Potential buyers will make a quick first impression of your home from the exterior because, let’s face it, we all want to live in an attractive house. (And yes, that applies to condos and housing developments, too.)

Invest a little time and money in simple cosmetic updates like planting flowers or bushes, repainting your front door, or keeping the front lawn mowed. You never know who might see a for sale sign in front of a good-looking house and decide to take a tour.

2. Declutter

Selling your home is a great excuse to declutter. Less is more when it comes to selling a house, so do a clean sweep of all the counters, windowsills, tables, and other visible areas before taking pictures of your home. Then go behind closed doors, into the closets, drawers, and cupboards.

A house that is overflowing with clutter sends the message that it isn’t big enough. If there isn’t enough space to store these things, a buyer might think that they too won’t have enough room. 

3. Depersonalize your space

This goes hand-in-hand with the process of breaking the emotional attachment to your home. As you declutter, donate, and put things in storage, you should also remove the personal things in your home. Pictures of your family or your kids’ artwork prevent potential buyers from imagining their own families in this home.

4. Paint your walls in neutral tones

Your taste might not be everyone’s taste. So that neon green accent wall in the master bedroom? Paint it white.

Bold colors may attract some buyers but to others, they just see another expense. Neutral, consistent colors throughout your home will help potential buyers fill in the blanks with their own colors. 

5. Fix the things that need fixing

Nobody wants to inherit the loose door handles, loose floorboards, or dead light bulbs that have been sitting on your to-do list for months. It may seem small, but even a single defect can make a potential buyer wonder what else needs fixing that they haven’t found.

Buying a home is an enormous endeavor for most people, so they may be picky. Ensuring they don’t find anything that needs immediate fixing is a good way to keep their minds at ease and focused on the positive qualities of your home.

6. Conduct a smell test

You may have noticed unique odors in the homes you’ve visited throughout your life. It’s possible that your home has one of these indescribable odors, as well. 

Conduct a smell test by inviting an unbiased person who is neither a friend nor your real estate agent to try to detect pet smells, kitchen odors, or distinctive “you” smells. If they find some pervasive smells, start deep-cleaning or explore masking techniques like candles or plug-in room deodorizers.

7. Consider your home from a buyer’s perspective

When you’re preparing your home for sale, try to imagine seeing your home for the first time from a potential buyer’s perspective. Walk through each room and criticize them from a neutral point of view. Take note of the qualities of your home that are genuinely unique or attractive and try to highlight them during tours.

You might even want to consider getting a professional home inspection before listing to make sure there are no surprises in closing that could knock a few thousand dollars off the final sale price. Orchard recommends pre-listing inspections, and offers complimentary assessments for free for our clients. 

8. Find a real estate agent

While it’s possible to sell your home without an agent, and it may even be tempting in a hot market, it’s not advisable unless you really know what you’re doing.

That said, don’t hire the first real estate agent to send you a flyer. Real estate agents can make your sale a breeze and get you some more money, but you also might disagree on how to best sell your house. Do some research to find an agent who knows your market and whom you believe you’ll work well with. Don’t be afraid to interview more than one.

9. Consider staging

Staging may cost a little money but a great home stager can identify the elements of your home that will make buyers want to bid a little more. If your home is a bit aged or rough around the edges, a stager can hide some of the cosmetic imperfections and pump your home with some energy and beauty.

What do you think?

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