7 Steps for Preparing Your Home for Sale

7 Steps for Preparing Your Home for Sale

  • April Lepito Smith
  • 02/8/22

Throughout Marin County, the current real estate market is competitive, with the average home selling for above list price. While it’s good news for those selling homes, a seller’s market doesn’t mean you can skip steps when it comes to preparing your home for listing. Along with working with an experienced local agent to price your home properly, reach the right buyers, and close the deal, here are a few can’t-miss steps to take before listing your home.

Step 1: Declutter your home

Clutter can be a deal-breaker among potential homebuyers. Not only does clutter make your house look small and cramped, it can also give it an air of uncleanliness and poor maintenance. That’s why the first step to prepping your home for listing is to remove as much clutter as you can. This includes papers, books, excess clothes, knickknacks, and small appliances. The more room you can free up on your counters, floors, and walls, the better. To ensure you’re not just stuffing your clutter in closets or basements — where prospective buyers are sure to look — consider renting a storage unit where your belongings can be safely tucked away until you’re ready to move into a new home.

Step 2: Deep clean every room

Once you’ve removed as much clutter as possible, it’s time to clean. Now’s the time to get into all those nooks, crannies, and out-of-the-way places that have likely been neglected for years, such as chandeliers, behind large appliances, and in storage spaces. Most sellers who are listing homes for sale in Marin County opt to hire a professional cleaning company that specializes in cleaning homes for sale. It’s one more chore to take off your busy schedule and you’ll know cleaning will be done thoroughly.

Step 3: Depersonalize the space

Prospective buyers want to purchase their next home  — they’re not interested in purchasing your home. To help them visualize it as their own, you’ll need to remove personal items like framed diplomas, family portraits, sports memorabilia, and religious items. Put these things in your storage unit and keep your decor as minimal and broadly appealing as possible.

Step 4: Neutralize the decor

You never know what tastes your prospective buyers will have when it comes to decor. To make sure you don’t turn off a buyer, get rid of any distinctive decor such as unique artwork or furniture with distinctive elements. You’ll also want to address any wall colors that are trendy or bold. Using warm neutrals for most interior wall colors adds an inviting ambiance. Safe bets include warm gray or white for the kitchen, white for the living room, taupe for bedrooms, and pale blue for bathrooms. Plus, a new coat of paint will freshen any scuffs and brighten up your interior.

Step 5: Stage primary living areas

Homes that are professionally staged sell faster and for more money than those that are not. A staging professional will remove, add, and/or rearrange your decor and furnishings to make your house broadly appealing for buyers viewing homes for sale. Your stager may choose to remove large or bulky furniture and will ensure all areas of the home have enough light. They’ll also ensure that each room in the house has a designated purpose, and style it accordingly. Don’t want to have a pro come in and stage your home? You can experience some of the same benefits by researching techniques and staging it yourself, or by having your home virtually staged to appeal to those looking at homes online.

Step 6: Put some time into curb appeal

All the work you’ve put into prepping your home’s interior may be wasted if you don’t make a good first impression on buyers. To make sure you’re starting on the right foot, focus on curb appeal projects like pressure-washing your home’s exterior and addressing any visible damage to your walk or driveway. You can also enhance the visual impact of your home by placing vibrant plants or flowers along the walkway and by placing a nice wreath on the door. Want to take your curb appeal to the next level? Consider painting or replacing your front or street-facing garage doors, as these automatically draw the eye of buyers.

Step 7: Add the finishing touches

It’s often the little things that sell a home. Before you welcome your first interested buyer, consider setting some fresh flowers throughout your home, lighting some candles, or opening up the windows. You can also set your dining room table with high-end dishes, cloth napkins, and wine glasses — and spruce up your master bath with some fluffy towels and luxury products. Consider playing some soft, welcoming music in the background during a showing or open house. Anything you can do to make potential buyers feel welcome will elevate your home above others on the market.

Ready to sell your Marin County property? Work with experienced real estate professional April Smith when you’re ready to list Terra Linda real estate, Sun Valley homes for sale, or properties throughout Marin County.


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April was honored with the California Association of Realtors Rising Star Award. She has succeeded in a multitude of varied sales positions throughout her professional career, garnering top awards at both Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller, family-operated businesses.