If you have ever had to sell your home, you might know that it can feel like parting with an old friend. A house can hold many memories and emotions, especially if your family has lived there for several years. However, if you are reading this post, you may be facing the task of putting your home on the market.

As a homeowner, you might view your house with rose-colored glasses. After all, you bought it for a reason, and you have probably grown to love it even more with time. Although, buyers may not see it the same way you do. The truth is, most homes need some prep work before they are ready to be listed for sale. When buyers walk through your house, they should see it as a clean slate that is waiting for them to make it their own.

In this post, we will discuss the importance of preparing your house for the market, and 5 steps you should follow before listing it. We will also go over several tips and reminders from experienced real estate agents that will help you sell your home successfully.

Importance of prepping your home

When you put your home up for sale, it will usually get the most interest in the first couple of weeks. During this time, it is important for the house to give off a great first impression. This all starts with the marketing photos and videos. If your home does not shine on camera, you may not have very many showings.

However, photos usually do not seal the deal, as the selling point for most homebuyers happens during the showing. When potential buyers arrive, they will immediately notice the exterior of the house and its surroundings. If these factors are not appealing, they may quickly begin to have doubts. By the time they finish touring the entire house, they will typically already have a gut feeling about it. Therefore, it is important to follow these next 5 steps in order for your house to make a stellar first impression.

5 steps to take before listing your home for sale

1.  Clean

The first, and possibly most important, step in preparing your home to sell is to clean it. This is an easy and inexpensive way to make it more appealing to buyers. Aside from the basics such as carpet cleaning, mopping, and dusting, your cleaning checklist should also include getting rid of cobwebs around the entryway, wiping down the baseboards, and polishing the fixtures that are usually overlooked. Remember to keep the house clean and neat on a regular basis in case you have any last-minute showings with limited time to tidy up.

2.  Declutter

Next, you should walk through your house and declutter each room. As a rule of thumb, there should only be 1-2 items on each surface and on counters. Remove any extra chairs or random items sitting on the floor, as these can make rooms look smaller. Avoid having excessive decorations, and make sure there is nothing on the kitchen fridge. In each closet, take out half of the items and pack them away, as this will make it look like there is ample storage space.

3.  De-personalize

When buyers come to tour your home, they should be able to imagine themselves living there and making it their own. However, this can be difficult if your personal life is still evident throughout every room. Try to de-personalize as much as possible by removing items such as political and religious paraphernalia and family photos. Also, for your own privacy, store away personal papers, private info, valuables, and expensive items. In addition, it is best to remove all your pet items, as some buyers may be turned away by the idea of animals living in the home before them.

4.  Improve curb appeal

As previously mentioned, one of the first things potential buyers notice is the exterior of your house and its surroundings, otherwise known as curb appeal. Landscaping work can significantly improve your curb appeal and help attract more buyers. This should include a power wash, fresh mulch, and removal of dangerous limbs and dead trees. If the exterior of your house looks dull or scuffed up, a fresh coat of paint can make it look new again. Throughout the time that your house is listed for sale, be sure to keep the grass cut and hedges trimmed as well. If you are not confident in your own landscaping abilities, consider hiring professionals to do the job properly.

5.  Repair and refresh

Unless the buyers of your home are master renovators, they will not be excited about doing a lot of repair work. If there are any obvious repairs needed, it may be worth it to fix them before your home hits the market. You may also want to order a pre-listing inspection so that you are prepared for anything buyers might discover.

Next, check all the lightbulbs to make sure they are working. If any lights are particularly dim, replace them with brighter bulbs. This will help brighten up rooms with limited sunlight. Speaking of sunlight, open all the curtains and blinds before your photos are taken and before showings.

Another easy way to revive your home is a fresh coat of paint. This will also serve as a blank canvas for potential buyers to envision their own design ideas. Lastly, an inexpensive way to update and modernize is to install new cabinet hardware and door knobs.


Real estate agents often suggest a few additional reminders that you should keep in mind as you prepare your home to sell. First, try to emotionally detach yourself from the house so that you can negotiate more clearly and make any potential deals go as smoothly as possible. Also, when you walk through your home, imagine that you are the buyer. Try to look at things as if you are seeing them for the first time, which will help you notice where improvements are needed.

Next Steps

If you are preparing to sell your home, the best way to get started is to get connected with a local real estate agent. Our team of agents here at Sheridan Solomon and Associates are well-equipped to help you prepare your house for the market, attract local homebuyers, and decide on the best pricing and marketing strategy. We will also help you navigate the sale process smoothly from beginning to end.

Ready to get started? Call us today at (478) 746-2000 or visit our website, www.sheridansolomon.com.