How To Get A House Ready To Sell: 7 Key Preparation Steps

Anna Choi
Anna Choi
Growth Marketer
Sep 18, 2023
How To Get A House Ready To Sell: 7 Key Preparation Steps

Putting a home up for sale is a major decision, whether you're ready to transition to a smaller space or growing the family and looking for something bigger. While the idea of a new beginning can be exciting, the effort required to prepare a house for the market is frequently underestimated.‍ It's not just about understanding the current housing market and deciding on a price. Various factors influence both the home's market value and how it should be prepared for its sale. Presenting and marketing your home effectively takes real work.‍

However, you shouldn't let the challenges of selling a home discourage you. With the right attitude, the expertise and guidance of a qualified realtor, and careful preparations, you can minimize your home's time on the market and ensure a profitable sale.

1. Prepare with a Buyer’s Mindset

Maximizing the value of your home requires looking at it through the eyes of potential buyers. But what does this entail?

Well, while your home might hold sentimental value to you personally, the specific features you've grown to love about your house might not appeal to today's buyers. It's essential to approach selling your home the same way businesses market a product.

Much like how companies invest in market research to understand customer behavior, your aim should be to pinpoint the demographics most interested in your property. Find out what their preferences are and customize the presentation of your property accordingly.

For example, if your property is a family home in a community known for its great schools and parks, your target market may very well be younger families. Highlighting features like a spacious backyard or a dedicated play area could be a great strategy.

Conversely, young professionals or students might be your primary audience if your home is situated in an urban setting or close to a university. In these cases, highlighting a property's home office or proximity to public transport can be beneficial.

Regardless of your target buyers, always remember - each buyer will perceive the value of your home differently. But by treating your home's sale as a business transaction and keeping your emotions in check, you'll be better equipped to make strategic decisions that will ultimately lead to a successful sale.

2. Hire the Best-Qualified Listing Agent

Selecting the right listing agent for your home's sale can dramatically influence how easy and how quickly a sale happens. While real estate agents vary widely in their expertise and approach, it's important to weigh your options and land on someone who is genuinely committed to selling your home.

An agent's commission percentage isn't always indicative of their commitment to selling your property. This is why it's crucial to spend time finding the right match for you and your home.

When vetting potential real estate agents, consider the following suggestions:

  • Get References: Inquire about their previous clients and look on their website or social media profiles for testimonials.
  • Look at their Portfolio: Ask to see the agent's portfolio of recently sold homes, including how long they were on the market and what price they sold for. 
  • Understand Their Marketing Strategy: A good listing agent should have a solid marketing strategy for your home, including online and offline tactics.
  • Know What They Expect of You: Real estate agents may have different expectations of their clients, so it's important to make sure you understand what they need in terms of communication, home preparations, and flexibility for showings.
  • Be Open About Your Needs: Let the agent know your priorities and timeline for selling. This will help them tailor their approach to best meet your needs.
  • Discuss Commission and Fees: It's important to discuss commission and fees upfront with your listing agent so that there are no surprises later in the process.

3. Estimate Your Selling Price

Deciding on the right asking price is often one of the most challenging steps when getting ready to sell your home. It's important to strike that right balance between finding a price that encourages a quick sale and ensures you're not short-changing yourself.

To gain a clear understanding of your home's potential worth, you should begin by looking at recent sales prices of properties in your vicinity. It's key to differentiate between the listed prices you see online and the actual sales prices, as homeowners frequently list their homes higher to allow for negotiations.

Understanding your neighborhood's real estate potential is important. Real estate market conditions can shift rapidly, and knowing if the current climate is leaning towards buyers or sellers can greatly influence your optimal asking price and the listing duration.

To better understand your home's real value, consider getting a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) from a qualified real estate professional. This detailed review factors in current market shifts, local successful property closings, and unique attributes of your home that could influence its value.

4. Optimize Your Home’s Space

Presentation of your home during showings is a major component of improving its overall appeal to potential buyers. A proven strategy to sell your property more quickly is to maximize the use of your home's space. This includes decluttering the space, repositioning furniture, and creating a sense of openness.

Even if professional staging isn't in the cards for you, it's still important to present your home as clean and organized as possible. Using this time to declutter your home not only enhances your property's appeal but also makes the moving process easier for you when the sale goes through.

One of the main goals of organizing your living space is to establish a more neutral environment. This allows potential buyers to envision themselves living in the home rather than feeling like they're intruding on someone else's space. Storing personal items and minimizing personal decorating touches can help create a blank slate for buyers to imagine their own style in the home.

Another great tip is to make smart use of mirrors to bring in more light and make the space feel larger. Using lighter colors on walls and furniture can also create a sense of openness, which is always attractive to buyers.

5. Get a Home Inspection

While you might feel confident about your home's condition, getting a professional home inspection before listing is a smart call. This proactive step will show you any underlying concerns in the property, allowing you to resolve them in advance. Prospective buyers, especially when making significant property investments, will appreciate transparency about your home's condition and any areas of concern.

By getting a home inspection, you can provide them with a transparent report that gives them peace of mind and builds trust in the home's foundational elements and any other issues that may require additional investments after the sale is finalized.

6. Make Repairs and Upgrades That Pay Off

Most home buyers enjoy the idea of locating a property that is "move-in ready." And even though most older homes will always need some type of repair over the years, every minor repair that isn't completed before the home sale is another inconvenience that a potential buyer will end up weighing in their decision.

Either way, it's important to put your resources and time into repairs or enhancements that will offer a substantial return on your investment. Start by prioritizing major repairs that can significantly boost your home's sale value. 

Some of these may include:

  • Fixing any large or noticeable structural damages
  • Repairing any plumbing, electrical, or HVAC issues
  • Updating/renovating the kitchen and bathrooms
  • Ensuring the roof and foundation is in good condition
  • Improving curb appeal with landscaping or new exterior paint

Although some of these fixes might not seem like they're too expensive for your buyer to manage themselves, they can spare them extra time and potential setbacks. This added peace of mind can often make buyers more inclined to pay a premium for the convenience of having the repairs cared for ahead of time.

Working with a  real estate agent who can provide you with recommendations on which repairs or upgrades are worth the investment can also be helpful. They have a strong understanding of what buyers in your market are looking for and can help guide you and your budget in the right direction. 

7. Stage Your Home for the Right Buyer

No matter how well you take care of your home, getting your potential buyers to quickly establish an emotional connection with the space is essential. However, one of the smartest investments you can make when selling your home is staging it for the right buyer.

Staging your property is much more than choosing some great-looking furniture to fill the space. There is more psychology behind this process than most people realize, and it's often used to play on the emotions and functional needs of prospective buyers. This is why hiring a professional stager can be a great investment.

Professional stagers not only have a keen eye for design, but they also understand the demographics and target market of potential buyers in your area. They know how to highlight the best features of your home and minimize any potential distractions. This can help create a more appealing atmosphere that makes buyers feel at home and encourages them to make an offer sooner rather than later.

Some Other Helpful Tips to Get Your House Ready for Sale

Here are some other helpful tips you can follow to increase your chances of selling your home at a great price:

Choose the Right Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting plays an important role when setting the right first impression of your home. Great lighting outside of your home can significantly improve its appeal, especially during evening viewings. It's also a great way to catch the attention of passive buyers who might just be driving by not actively looking for a new property.

This ambient lighting creates a positive atmosphere that makes the home feel inviting. Additionally, it allows you to showcase your home's best features after sunset, ensuring that potential buyers get a full view of what your property offers, regardless of the time of day they choose to visit.

Enhance Your Curb Appeal

The initial first impression of a home often sets the tone for prospective buyers. This is why giving your home's exterior a facelift is crucial. A tidy lawn, healthy-looking plants, and a clean finish can greatly increase your home's overall appearance. You can also consider hiring professional landscapers or dedicating some personal time to give the outside of your home a fresh makeover.

You can consider adding flower boxes under windows or placing potted plants on your porch for added appeal. Small details like a fresh welcome mat, a newly painted front door, or even updated house numbers can also make a big difference in creating a great first impression. 

You don’t have to break the bank when making the outside of your home appealing. Even small improvements can go a long way to providing that “wow” factor to passerbys .

Highlight Your Energy-Efficient Features

Younger generation home buyers are becoming increasingly aware of the environment, and energy efficiency has now become a significant selling point in properties. If your home has energy-efficient elements like solar panels, LED lighting, or Energy Star-rated appliances, make sure to highlight these prominently in your listing.

These features not only help to reduce environmental impact but also provide significant savings on utility bills – a major plus for potential home buyers. It's also worth noting any insulation upgrades, energy-efficient windows, or high-efficiency HVAC systems your home might have.

Refresh Your Space with a New Coat of Paint

Don't overlook the power of a fresh coat of paint when getting your home market-ready. Whether modernizing your living room's look or fixing minor wall blemishes, a paint job is a budget-friendly method to freshen up your home, greatly enhancing its appearance for potential buyers.

Stick to neutral colors as they tend to appeal to the widest range of people. Light, neutral shades can also make spaces seem larger and brighter, creating a welcoming environment that allows potential buyers to imagine their own furniture in the space.

Although you can certainly take on your own painting project, sometimes it’s worth calling a professional to get the job done right. Professional painters will make sure all walls are evenly coated, and the ceilings and floors are properly trimmed so the job doesn’t look rushed.

Prepare Your House for Sale The Right Way

Remember, the process of preparing your home for sale is all about showcasing its best features and making potential buyers feel at home. By having the right mindset, leaning on professionals when necessary, and putting in some time and resources in optimal areas, you can increase your chances of getting top dollar for your property.

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Anna Choi
Anna Choi
Growth Marketer
Sep 18, 2023

Anna Choi is a New York transplant. A full-stack growth marketer with deep experience in managing and executing integrated marketing strategies. Her ability to project manage and execute quickly across any marketing channel comes in second only to her talent as being one of the most organized humans alive.

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