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How To: Prepare Your House for Sale

Tick Off This Checklist

Home stagers and realtors alike understand the importance of getting your home prepared and as clean as possible for potential buyers, especially giving it that professional finish. According to Ginger Brokaw, a senior vice president at Town Residential Real Estate in Manhattan, cleanliness can be the difference between getting the sale you want or having to settle for less. 


Why is it so important?

When buyers walk into a home that clearly hasn't been prepared or staged properly, they can be distracted and this can impact the sale badly. On your checklist, along with sweeping up the cobwebs and cleaning up the clutter, it's essential to get your windows and floors sparkling clean.

According to a survey last year by Barclays Mortgages, house hunters take just 10 seconds to decide if they like a property from the moment they view it from the exterior. This is why it's important to have what is known as 'kerb appeal'—to check your homes kerb appeal, stand outside your house and look at it then check off this list. 


  • Have you moved your remaining furniture around so there is a clear line of traffic in the room? Can your potential buyers get from A to B easily?
  • Is there a good amount of natural light?
  • Does it look like anyone lives here? If the answer's no, you're almost done.
  • Are you utilising realtor tricks of the trade like using yellow flowers? They are inexpensive and are known to create a buying emotion.
  • Is everything clean? Clean windows and floors are extremely important for buyers.
  • Are your sidewalks clear? Keeping your front and back yard spacious and free from mess is just as important as your interior.

Impress Potential Buyers with Interior Design Tips

Declutter. Unnecessary clutter is often cited as the main cause of houses not selling, or not selling for nearly as much as they should have. It makes the buyer struggle to visualise your house as their home, and can often appear like there hasn't been much care taken to prepare the house for sale. 

Getting your house to look just right can make all the difference. Adding more natural light to your rooms brightens up your interiors — this makes your house more inviting and cheery. After all, there isn't much point in tidying up and making your house look like a gorgeous blank canvas if no one can see it properly! 

Neutral colours are also a great tip for selling your house. This gives your buyers the opportunity to visualise how they can make your house their home in the future. 

Depersonalisation is a crucial part of preparing your house. Not only should you begin to separate yourself from what was previously your home, but you should remove all items that speak to your presence — this means doing things like replacing photographs with other artwork. 

Add some scents. Not too strong, of course; studies have shown complex smells can distract the buyer's thought process, so using fresh aromas like lemon or vanilla can be of assistance. 

Finally, be your own critic. The main trick is to look over your house a few times to double check everything is perfect each time you show your house to potential buyers. Small details like a stain or a wash basket can change everything.

Which room/s are the most important?

Studies have shown that the most time and money should be spent on fixing up your lounge, kitchen and master bedroom. Data has proven that's what buyers focus on, and the most time that's taken looking around a house is in the lounge.

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How To: Prepare Your House for Sale
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