How to prepare your house to sell

Tips on how to get your house ready to show to buyers and realtors.

When it’s time to sell your house, there’s so much to do that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here are some ideas that will help streamline a difficult process and make the project less daunting.

Curb appeal

Make your home as welcoming as possible from the outside. Many buyers are out visiting several homes in one day. If your home doesn’t have curb appeal, buyers may not even take the time to get out of the car. Make sure your lawn, trees, and bushes look neat and well-kept. This is a huge sign to the buyer that the people who live in the home take care of their property. Keep the walks clear, and sweep away cobwebs from the front windows, door and porch. Colorful flowers in pots or beds are nice if the season permits. A fresh coat of paint on the trim adds polish.


The most important thing you can do inside the home is eliminate as much clutter as possible. Pack things away, leaving horizontal surfaces bare. Remove personal photos from walls and tables. Leave a minimum of decor so buyers can picture their own belongings in the house. However, don’t be tempted to hide personal things in closets. Buyers will look in closets to check out the home’s storage space. Closets need to be as neat and organized as possible in order to look roomy.


In addition to removing personal belongings, it’s also best to pack away furniture items, as well. It may be well worth your money to rent a storage unit for a short time until moving day. Too much furniture in a room will give buyers the impression that the house is small and cramped. Remove as much as you can to give the house an open, spacious feeling.


Despite the fact you’re probably still living there, the house should be as clean as possible. Dirty bathrooms and kitchens will turn away some of the most interested buyers. Make sure windows and mirrors are clean and shining. Consider buying new towels or shower curtains to eliminate an uncoordinated, sloppy look. Be careful about appliances. They need to be clean as buyers may look inside your oven or refrigerator if that will be sold with the house.


Make small repairs as necessary to give your home a polished feel. Check for burned out light bulbs, cobwebs in the corners, dripping faucets and peeling caulking.

Try to visualize your home as others would see it. Find ways to bring attention to its best qualities. You have enjoyed living in your home. Now, take measures so the next owner will enjoy it, too.

Margot Hovley

Margot Hovley is the author of the novels "Sudden Darkness" and "Glimmering Light." Her self-reliance blog is at, and she blogs about her writing adventures at