Set to Sell


Spring is around the corner, and along with showers and flowers comes the spring housing market. If you are preparing to sell your home, here are a few ideas for helping it sell as quickly as possible.



You’ve probably heard about the importance of decluttering before a sale. It is impossible to underestimate the importance of this task! Buyers are looking for a home with sufficient space for their needs. Since “enough” can be difficult to define, house hunters will look to see if a home is accommodating the needs of the current resident. To give the impression of space, make sure your home features:

  • Plenty of room for walking around and between pieces of furniture
  • Empty countertops, tabletops and desk surfaces
  • A bare refrigerator front
  • Cleaned off bulletin boards
  • Clear floors
  • Bookshelves with open space
  • “Extra” storage space in the cabinets and drawers
  • A well organized and roomy garage, attic and/or shed
  • A fireplace that is clean of ash and staged with a couple of fresh logs
  • No visible tangles of cords, cables or wires

In addition to helping sell your home, decluttering minimizes your moving expenses. If you want/need more belongings than comfortably fit in your current space, organize and itemize your excess belongings into boxes than can be moved into temporary storage until you relocate.



If your realtor tells you that your home needs updating, she is probably right. Home fashion lasts about a decade, so if you decorated your home more than ten years ago, it may appear dated. While homeowners are not buying your décor, they will automatically associate out-of-date surroundings with increased future costs. Without completely renovating your home, do the following to cast your home in the best possible light:

  • Remove old wallpaper, borders and faux finishes and paint with a neutral color. (Gray is a current “hot color”)
  • Take down old curtains and valances. (Bare windows can be a positive!)
  • Minimize old, dark and heavy furniture. If these are antiques that you love, store them offsite until your move. Otherwise, sell/donate them.
  • Pull up unfashionable or worn rugs.
  • Remove decorative items that have accumulated over time, including personal photos, souvenirs, dusty dried flowers, seasonal items, mementos, flyers and children’s artwork.
  • Consider switching out old cabinet hardware with something in a current shape and finish.

[Note: If the budget allows, consider hiring a home stager to professionally stage your space. This investment usually pays for itself by speeding up your sale.]



Closets are an “in demand” feature for today’s buyers. To make your closets look as spacious as possible, remember to:

  • Leave 20-25% of the space open
  • Make sure nothing is on the floor
  • Invest in matching hangers (this type offers a slim profile)
  • Organize the contents by type and color
  • Make sure there are spaces where you can see through to the wall
  • Feature any structure you have (shelving, shoe rack, built-in belt hanger, etc.) by making sure it is clearly visible



If you have a few repair projects that you’ve been pushing to the back burner, now is the time to tackle them. Be sure to:

  • Insert new, maximum wattage light bulbs
  • Oil squeaky doors
  • Replace broken tiles, dislodged roof shingles, cracked windows, broken hardware, etc.
  • Rehang anything that is crooked, dangling or doesn’t open smoothly
  • Clean carpets and floors
  • Wash cabinet doors and wipe down moldings (remember to clean around the trash can)
  • Clean kitchen and bathroom fixtures
  • Clear out anything creating a bad odor



The way your house looks from the outside matters, as potential buyers typically make a judgment in as little as 15 seconds. Unfortunately, a negative first impression is difficult to overcome, regardless of how nice your home looks on the inside. Walk outside and approach your home with fresh eyes, asking yourself:

  • Are trees and shrubs neatly trimmed?
  • Is the walkway clear and in good repair?
  • Are planters full of healthy/attractive plants?
  • Are bicycles, scooters, toys and lawn equipment out of sight?
  • Are the windows clean?
  • Is the house number easy to see?
  • Is the front door clean and in good repair?

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Selling a house is stressful, and the longer your house sits on the market, the more the pressure builds. Online sites such as Zillow and have made it easy for potential buyers to track the history of your sale, including all price reductions and the number of times a home has been taken off the market and then later re-listed. To avoid the impression that your home has a problem, take the time before you list to hit the market with your best foot forward.

Have you recently bought or sold a home? What do you think helps make a positive impression on buyers?