RE/MAX Home Experts

Prepare Your Home to Sell

An attractive, well-maintained home will generally sell faster and for a higher price than a similar home that looks tired or run-down. When you prepare your home for sale, take a critical look at the exterior and interior of your home. We've listed some specific areas below that you may want to address.

The Exterior

Obviously, the outside of your home is the first thing buyers see. Make a good first impression. Step back and take an objective look at the exterior of your home. How can you make it more attractive? Review the following suggestions:

  • Keep the lawn cut, edged and the shrubs well trimmed.
  • Remove dead tree limbs and other yard debris
  • Enliven your landscape with fresh plantings of shrubs or flowers.
  • Arrange outdoor items neatly; put away toys and lawn equipment.
  • Check siding, trim and doors (especially the front door) for dirt and peeling paint; wash or touch up with paint where needed.
  • Inspect the condition of your fence and gates and repair or paint if needed.
  • Repair or replace loose or damaged roof shingles or flashing.
  • Clean and repair broken windows or screens.
  • Clean and repair gutters and downspouts.
  • Wash the driveway and sidewalk; patch holes and cracks.
  • Clean and neatly arrange the garage or shed.
  • Make sure the gas grill is ready for use, especially in season.
  • Make sure the entry light and doorbell work. (If a repair is needed on anything listed, fix the entire defect so it will not cause a distraction)

The Interior

Take a look inside your home. Make every room look as spacious, organized, bright and warm as possible. Make your house sparkle and shine. The following suggestions may help:

  • Wash walls, ceiling and trim; if possible, paint with light neutral colors.
  • Repair cracks in plaster.
  • Tighten loose doorknobs, pulls on drawers and cabinets, towel racks, switch plates and outlet covers.
  • Replace decolored or cracked switch plates and outlet covers
  • Clean and repair light fixtures if necessary 
  • Fix sticking doors and windows, squeaking doors and loose stair banisters.
  • Repair and clean caulking around tubs and sinks.
  • Bathrooms should be sparkling clean with no stains or mildew
  • If necessary, replace shower curtains and set out clean towels
  • Fix leaky faucets; remove stains in sinks, bathtubs and countertops 
  • Bedrooms should appear neat with attractive spreads and curtains
  • Remove any clutter from kids' rooms, including wall posters 
  • Organize closets and remove clutter; limit the number of items stored overhead or on the floor.
  • Organize the contents of kitchen cabinets and remove clutter from kitchen countertops.
  • Kitchen cabinets, drawers and stove should be especially clean, degreased and free from residues
  • Make sure garbage is taken out
  • Clear ash residues from fireplaces
  • Organize the basement and attic so that they appear as spacious and neat as possible. Discard anything you are not taking with you.
  • Launder draperies, blinds and curtains if necessary.
  • Shampoo carpets and wax floors.
  • If you have not sprayed (or "bombed") for bugs lately, now is a good time.
  • Arrange furniture so that the room appears as spacious as possible.
  • Remove items you are planning to take with you, including chandeliers, coordinating drapes, mirrors, etc.
  • Remove strong odors from the house.

The Buying Atmosphere

The following suggestions are suseful during a showing:

  • Maintain a low profile
  • Turn on lights
  • Turn TV and radio off 
  • Open drapes, shades and blinds
  • Turn on the air conditioning/heating system
  • If possible, light the fireplace
  • Play quiet background music
  • Keep pets outdoors
  • Something fresh baked makes the house more attractive during a showing

Ultimately, the value of your home will be determined by the market. Basically, the market value is the amount buyers are willing to pay at the point in time that you want to sell. A Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) is the best way to judge market value.

Avoid the urge to price your home based upon considerations that do not affect its market value, such as:

  • How much money you need to purchase your next home.
  • How much you paid for your home.
  • How much you paid for improvements to your home.
  • The value of a similar home in a different community.
  • Area appreciation statistics.
  • The cost to build the same home today.
  • Personal attachment.

Remember, the market determines price!