20 Essential Tips to Get Your House Ready to Sell


Clever Real Estate


May 10th, 2019


Are you worried about getting your home ready to sell? You're not alone. Most sellers are. But with the right tips, you can be on the right track toward successful open houses and showings with a home that shines for potential buyers.

Updated May 10, 2019

There's no denying that getting your house ready to sell can be stressful and a ton of work! That’s why we came up with the top 20 tips to help get your home in ready-to-sell shape.

1. Listing your home for the right price

Find out what your home is worth, then consider asking fifteen to twenty percent less. No, it’s not crazy! You’ll have bids from multiple buyers. Buyers don’t want to let that kind of deal slip away and are sure bid it back up to its worth.

2. Work with a top realtor

A big sale killer is working with the wrong realtor. Work with a realtor who is informed and can provide helpful services through the entire selling process. They should regularly monitor the multiple listing services (MLS), know what properties are going on the market, and know the comps for your neighborhood. When you work with an experienced local Clever Partner Agent, they'll have the skills you need to ensure your home is ready to sell — and for a great price.

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3. Take professional photos for the listing

With the internet and social media, the first impression of your home is probably going to be online, so you’ll want to carve out time to snap some beautiful, high-quality photos of your staged house to accompany the online listing. It is strongly suggested that you use a professional photography company to take the images, as they’ll know what pictures sell the best.

4. Clean up for walk-throughs

Clean like you’ve never cleaned before, and then keep it that way. Keep your bathrooms and kitchen impeccable, dust and mop, and wash the walls and windows until the day hour house sells.

5. Depersonalize & Declutter

The more personal your space, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff--stash it in a storage unit if you have to. Clutter includes family photos, collections, travel items, and keepsakes. It’s hard for a buyer to imagine their things in the space with yours cluttering every room.

6. Remove Polarizing Items

Polarizing items are political and religious items and should be packed away with your other personal things. Many people have strong feelings about these types of things, and you don’t want a buyer to pre-judge your home based on your political or religious beliefs.

7. Organize Closet Space

Every buyer is looking for a place to store all their things. Take half of everything you have in the closets and put it in a storage unit. Then, neatly organize what’s left in the closets to highlight the home’s storage space.

8. Lights On!

A dark house is just sad. Maximize the light in your home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, and swap the lampshades and up the wattage in the bulbs. Do whatever it takes to let the light shine down on potential buyers!

9. Make Minor Repairs

Patch holes in the walls, replace broken appliances and change burnt out light bulbs. No problem is too small in the eyes of a potential buyer. Small issues send the message the home has not been well taken care of. They could also indicate to a potential buyer that there is other more costly neglect taking place- like water or mold damage.

10. No Pets Allowed

Not everyone is an animal lover. If a potential buyer walks in and sees a dog bowl, smells a litter box, or is picking hair off their pants hours after the Open House, they will think the house is not clean. In fact, a potential buyer shouldn’t even be able to tell if a four-legged friend lives there or not. Plan and get your furry friend to a pet hotel the days you plan to show the home.

11. Smells Like Home

You should be able to eliminate any unpleasant odors after a good clean. Even if it’s winter, open the windows and give the home time to air out. To add a pleasing smell, bake before an Open House, or light a fresh-smelling candle. Keep it subtle because anything too overpowering will smell suspicious like you’re trying to hide something.

12. Update the Kitchen

Kitchens are probably the most important room in the house. They are also the most expensive to renovate. Investing a few thousand dollars will get you an eighty-five percent return, while a dated kitchen could knock a huge chunk off of the asking price. The fastest and most inexpensive update is to repaint cabinets and update hardware.

13. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint

Neutral paint tones appeal to a wide range of tastes and look fresh. Paint also has the power to add light to a dark room. Just resist the urge to be bold (save it for your next home). If you must add a pop of color, do so with a blanket or flower vase, not the fireplace.

14. Special Touches

Fresh flowers, accent pillows, a new welcome mat--these little touches can amp up the welcome factor of any home and go a long way with buyers. You don't have to go out of your way, either. Just a few here and there to make it feel more like home.

15. It's Always Show Time

Your house needs to be “show ready” at all times because you never know when a buyer will walk through that front door. You want your home to be available whenever they want to come and see the place. Keep the dishes clean and put away, beds made, and immediately clear clutter. It may seem annoying, but will get your house sold!

16. Leave Your House

Removing yourself is the ultimate depersonalization. You want to give buyers the freedom to open closets, inspect the rooms, and ask questions without feeling like they are snooping around. Before someone comes for a showing, open the windows, turn on all the lights, light a candle, and get yourself out!

17. Making First Impressions a Lasting Impression

Before they even walk through the door, buyers are judging your house. They should feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Do some inexpensive upgrades, such as adding light fixtures, replacing the mailbox, or sprucing up the landscaping with some colorful flowers. You can expect a 100 percent return on any money you put into your home’s curb appeal.

18. Clean The Carpets

If you have carpets in your home, they need to be clean before you show your home. You can save money and rent a carpet cleaning machine or hire professionals — either way, the results will speak for themselves.

19. Improve Curb Appeal

You may not have the budget for a complete re-landscaping of your yard, but cleaning it up, including weeding and mulching, can make a big difference for potential buyers. Add some inexpensive flowers and clear out any excess to make a great first impression for an open house or showing.

20. Fix Broken Items

If you have broken fixtures, it's time to fix them now, before a potential home buyer is turned off. Whether it's stuck door handle or a broken toilet, now's the time to get it fixed.

Putting your home on the market is a big job-- one that you don't have to do alone OR for a commission rate that takes a huge chunk of your sell money. That's where Clever comes in. Clever helps you find a local,  full-service agent that has expertise in your market for just $3,000 or 1% it the home lists over $350,000. Call us at 1-833-2-CLEVER or complete our online form to get connected a top-rated local agent.

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