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6 Pro Tips to Prepare Your House For Sale

how to prepare your house for sale

If you've made the big decision to sell your house, congratulations!

As you know, preparing your house for sale marks the start of an intense, complex, and stressful journey filled with both excitement and anxiety. 

While the ultimate goal sounds simple enough – sell your home for the highest possible price in a reasonable timeframe – accomplishing it takes knowledge, effort, and planning at every step.

Where do you start with prepping your property to attract buyers who’ll pay top dollar in today’s housing market? What repairs, upgrades, or staging require your time and money upfront? And what common mistakes do sellers often make that turn buyers away? Luckily this blog breaks down my 6 pro insider tips to prepare your house for sale so it stands out, shows impeccably, and brings in lucrative offers! So keep reading on!

Why You Need to Prepare Your House for Sale

You might think that your house is perfect as it is and that buyers will love it just the way you do. However, this is not always the case. Buyers have different tastes, preferences, and expectations. They might not appreciate your personal style, your clutter, or your minor flaws. They might also compare your house with other similar ones on the market, and look for the best deal.

That is why you need to prepare your house for sale and make it look as good as possible. Preparing your house for sale means making it clean, tidy, spacious, bright, neutral, and functional. It also means fixing any issues that might deter buyers, such as leaks, cracks, stains, odors, or damages. By doing so, you will create a positive first impression, highlight your house's best features, and increase its value.

Feeling torn on whether to sell your current property or keep it as a rental investment? Explore the pros and cons of each path in "Should I Sell My House or Rent it Out? The Pros and Cons for Homeowners"

What Are the Challenges in Preparing Your House for Sale and How to Overcome Them

Preparing your house for sale can also come with some challenges that you need to overcome. Some of the common challenges are:

  • Emotional attachment. - It’s normal to have a hard time letting go of your house, especially if you have lived there for a long time, or if you have many memories associated with it. You might feel reluctant to change anything or part with your belongings. To overcome this challenge, you need to detach yourself emotionally from your house and focus on your future goals. You also need to remember that your house is not your home, but a product that you are selling to someone else.

  • Lack of objectivity. - You might have a biased view of your house, and overlook its flaws or weaknesses. You might also overestimate its value, or underestimate its competition. To overcome this challenge, you need to look at your house from a buyer's perspective and be honest and realistic about its strengths and weaknesses. You also need to research the market and compare your house with other similar ones that are for sale or have been sold recently.

  • Budget constraints. - With a limited budget, you may not be able to afford all the changes or improvements that you want to make. You might worry about spending too much money, and not getting a good return on your investment. To overcome this challenge, you need to set a realistic budget and stick to it. You need to prioritize the most important and impactful changes and avoid unnecessary or extravagant ones. You can also look for ways to save money, such as doing some of the work yourself or using inexpensive materials or alternatives.

With my local market expertise, I'll help you strategically allocate funds and separate the must-dos from the nice-to-haves. I can provide a complimentary consultation to evaluate your home's current condition and advise on the most cost-effective updates to maximize your sale price. Book your free seller's consultation today, and let's ensure you get top dollar without breaking the bank!

Where You Can Ask for Help to Prepare Your House for Sale

Preparing your house for sale can be a daunting and time-consuming task, especially if you have a lot of things to do or a busy schedule. You might not have the skills, the tools, or the energy to do it all by yourself. That is why you can ask for help from professionals who can make your life easier and your house more attractive.

Some of the professionals you can hire are:

  • A home stager. A home stager is someone who can decorate and arrange your house in a way that appeals to buyers. They can help you choose the right colors, furniture, accessories, and lighting to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. They can also help declutter, depersonalize, and organize your house to make it look more spacious and functional.

  • A home inspector. A home inspector is someone who can check your house for any defects, problems, or hazards that might affect its safety, quality, or value. They can help you identify and prioritize the repairs or improvements that you need to make before listing your house. They can also provide you with a report that you can show to buyers to prove that your house is in good condition.

  • A handyman. A handyman is someone who can do various small jobs around your house, such as painting, caulking, fixing, or installing. They can help you with the tasks that you cannot do yourself, or that require special tools or skills. They can also save you time and money by doing the work quickly and efficiently.

6 Pro Tips to Prepare Your House for Sale

Now that you know why, where, and how to prepare your house for sale, let me share with you six pro tips that can help you do it effectively and efficiently. 

1. Clean thoroughly 

Cleaning is one of the most basic and essential steps to prepare your house for sale. A clean house will look more appealing, hygienic, and well-maintained. You need to clean every inch of your house, from top to bottom, inside and out. You need to pay attention to the details, such as the windows, the doors, the floors, the walls, the ceilings, the appliances, the fixtures, and the furniture. You also need to eliminate any unpleasant smells, such as smoke, pet, or food odors.

2. Declutter and organize

Decluttering and organizing are important steps to prepare your house for sale. A cluttered and disorganized house will look smaller, messier, and less attractive. You need to get rid of anything that you don't need, use, or want, such as clothes, books, toys, papers, or knick-knacks. You can donate, sell, or throw away the items that you don't want to keep. You also need to organize the items that you want to keep, such as by using boxes, bins, baskets, or shelves. You need to make sure that everything has a place, and that there is enough space and storage in your house.

3. Depersonalize and neutralize 

Depersonalizing and neutralizing are other key steps to prepare your house for sale. A personalized and customized house will reflect your taste and style, but not necessarily the buyer's. You need to make your house more generic and universal so that it can appeal to a wider range of buyers. You need to remove any personal items, such as photos, trophies, awards, or collections. You also need to tone down any bold or bright colors, patterns, or themes, and opt for more neutral and soothing ones, such as beige, gray, white, or cream.

Struggling to transform your highly personal space into a blank canvas? My staging tips will highlight your property's full potential without compromising your unique style. Reach out for a free consultation - I'm here to guide you through this crucial pre-listing step!

4. Fix and update 

Fixing and updating is another crucial step to prepare your house for sale. A broken or outdated house will look less appealing and might raise some red flags for buyers. You need to fix any issues that might affect your house's functionality, safety, or value, such as leaks, cracks, stains, squeaks, or dents. You also need to update any features that might make your house look dated, such as the paint, the flooring, the lighting, or the hardware. You don't need to do a major renovation, but just a minor refreshment that can make your house look more modern and attractive.

5. Stage and decorate 

Staging and decorating is another vital step to prepare your house for sale. A staged and decorated house will look more inviting, cozy, and stylish. You need to arrange and display your furniture, accessories, and artwork in a way that showcases your house's best features, such as the layout, the size, the view, or the focal points. You also need to add some touches of warmth and charm, such as plants, flowers, candles, pillows, or rugs. You don't need to overdo it, but just create a balance between simplicity and personality.

Watch this staging video from my channel to get more information on this topic.

6. Curb appeal and landscaping 

Remember, first impressions stick! Curb appeal and landscaping is the final step to preparing your house for sale. A curb appeal and landscaping are the first impressions that buyers will have of your house, and it can make or break their interest. You need to make sure that your house looks attractive and welcoming from the outside, and that it stands out from the rest. Maintain the lawn and landscaping, power wash siding if needed, install extra lighting to illuminate walks and entries invitingly, add a pot of bright flowers by the front door, and repaint faded elements like the mailbox post or shutters one cohesive shade. You want buyers excited before they’re even inside!

Here are more essential home selling tips for making a great first impression on buyers. 

book a free seller's consultation now

Bonus Tip: Work with a Real Estate Pro

Preparing your house for sale is not a simple or easy task, but it is a worthwhile and rewarding one. By following these six pro tips, you will be able to prepare your house for sale in the best way possible and achieve the best results possible. You will be able to sell your house faster, get a higher price, and have a smoother transaction.

However, preparing your house for sale is not something that you have to do alone. You can always ask for help from professionals who can guide you, advise you, and assist you along the way. Partner with an experienced, full-time real estate salesperson (like myself!) several months before listing. We guide you through preparing your house sale from initial walkthroughs to final touches. Count on us for trusted referrals to home inspectors, contractors, stagers, movers, and other vendors, too. It pays to work with an expert invested in marketing your property and securing the optimal sale price.

Working with the best local real estate agent is key. Read about "How to Find the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home in Iowa."


Let’s chat if you’re considering selling soon – as an initial sounding board, I offer free consultations to discuss your motivations, timeline, and specific home. I can provide clear recommendations on high-impact projects, likely market value based on trends in our area, top agents to interview if I’m not the best fit, and even direct referrals to my trusted network of contractors related to any fixer-upper endeavors.

You know proper preparation is the key to selling for more money in less time. Now let me help strategize the action plan so we can get your house ready for market!


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