How to Prepare Your House for Sale

Published on Jan 22, 2014 01:42 pm

Selling your house isn’t always as simple as calling a real estate agent and signing a listing agreement. To get as much as possible from the sale, your home needs to be positioned to attract buyers. This process involves cleaning up your house, taking care of any needed improvements and even making small cosmetic upgrades. Preparing a house for sale also involves “staging it” by configuring your belongings in a way that allows prospective buyers to imagine living there.

Step 1

Move as many of your belongings out of the house as possible by either packing them away or by putting them in a storage unit. The fewer possessions you have in the house, the larger it will seem. It will also make it easier for buyers to visualize their own furniture, decorative items and other accoutrements in the house.

Step 2

Clean up the exterior of your home and its pavement. Pressure washing both can help to restore the appearance of your paint, concrete and asphalt. Spruce up your landscaping and keep it neatly maintained throughout the sale process. Clean your house as thoroughly as possible. Pay special attention to odors. Even though you may be used to them, buyers won’t be.

Step 3

Take care of small repairs needed for your home — gutters that aren’t properly attached, holes in walls, carpets that are separating from the floorboards. While you might not want to spend a lot of money to correct major conditions, taking care of small cosmetic issues helps eliminate negatives things on which prospective buyers might focus. If the “little things” in your home appear well taken care of, the buyer will be more likely to believe that you’ve taken care of the big things as well. If you do need to make bigger updates or do more extensive renovations, this is when an emergency fund may help.

Step 4

Make small cosmetic upgrades, if needed. Painting your front door, installing new faucets or cabinet knobs, and replacing an old-style vanity with a newer pedestal sink in a bathroom may not cost you a lot of money but could add value to your house and make it more appealing to buyers. When you make changes, try to select colors or fixtures that will appeal to the majority of people.

Once you get your house in shape to sell, you can turn your attention to any financial planning you need to do to put everything else in order. If you’re selling your property to purchase a new home, you will likely need funds set aside for your new mortgage payment, closing costs and moving expenses. Just as you have prepared your home, preparing your personal finances is just as important when getting your house ready for the real estate market.

About the Author
Solomon Poretsky has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. Poretsky holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

Published by permission from, Inc.  © 2014, Inc.  All rights reserved.

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