preparing a house for sale

6 Tips for Preparing a House for Sale

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April 20, 2023

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If you need to sell a property to buy your dream home, you can meet the challenge! Follow these tips while preparing a house for sale.

1. Determine Your Home’s Worth

Use a pre-inspection and appraisal to determine a valuation. An experienced listing agent helps you meet your timeframe and ensures proper pricing, so your house sells quickly.

2. Optimize Your Home’s Appearance

Make buyers adore your home to create healthy competition! Get a better price with the following strategies.

Making It Cozy, Because Impressions Matter

First impressions matter. Make the living spaces feel warm and welcoming. You want a polished look with decor but don’t want to overdo it with too much personal stuff. A set of throw pillows and a fuzzy blanket can look nice on the couch; new fluffy towels in a basket in the bathroom feel inviting; and a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table feels homey.

At the same time, depersonalize as much as possible by removing family photos and personal effects.  Buyers need to imagine the home as their own, and it’s hard to do that with a fridge full of pictures of someone else’s memories.

Spotlight big spaces, such as large kitchens, bathrooms, and storage areas. If you have areas of your home that are less desirable (i.e., not much storage or closet spaces), sometimes buyers will overlook this if another part of your home is spectacular, like a patio off the master bedroom or a spacious kitchen with a modern oven.

Add to a spacious feeling with lighter neutral colors and mirrors, and keep furniture to a minimum.

Deep Cleaning, Repairing, and Decluttering

Could your home use some sprucing up? Take a walk-through and see what needs to be done to get it into tip-top shape. Here’s a mini beautification checklist:

  1. Touch up cracks and holes with a little paint, and use neutral shades when repainting completely. Smooth out dents in walls and flooring. It’s essential to look as move-in ready as you can.
  2. Organize closets and storage cabinets. Potential buyers will open your closets, cabinets, and drawers. The entire home should be tidy – don’t shove everything into one overstuffed closet where items fall out when someone opens the door.
  3. Spring for a professional deep cleaning with carpet shampooing and deodorizing. This is especially important if you have pets. Not everyone has a furry friend, and some folks even have allergies. They may be less likely to consider your home if they smell a litter box or notice pet fur.
  4. Make the area feel more spacious with lots of light. Dark and dreary doesn’t sell well. Replace fixtures and bulbs if necessary while preparing your home.
  5. Rent a storage unit for easy decluttering. You may be moving because you need more space and have stuff you intend to move with, but you don’t have a great place for them in your existing space. That’s ok – but get items out of the way for the time being in offsite storage space so buyers can see the potential of your space.

Giving the Exterior a Facelift

Freshen up the landscaping by regularly trimming the lawn and shrubbery. Mend and paint the fences. Put some potted plants on the front porch if the weather permits. A wreath on the front door can look very welcoming!

Checking That All Systems Are Go

Broken appliances and systems tank your value, so inspect your heating and air, smoke detectors, and electric panels. Examine your pipes and faucets for leaks. Examine all kitchen appliances, and have any warranty information on hand as a selling point.

3. Home Staging for Enhanced Curb Appeal finds that staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than those that aren’t. Prepare your house to have excellent curb appeal.

Hire Professional Staging Experts

An objective perspective is invaluable. Staging can cost hundreds of dollars, but the increase in selling price makes it worthwhile. These experts know what sells and know how to put the right pieces in the right places to make your home look its best.

Consider Professional Staging Photography

Like most shopping, the home-buying process starts online. Find a professional photographer to capture outstanding images and consider virtual staging or a 3D tour.

Review Your Home Staging Checklists

Check your critical areas for home staging.


  • Touch up decor with clean, fresh items
  • Update furniture with trendy covers
  • Plan a layout that suggests the home’s potential


  • Keep the yard tidy
  • Stage the exterior with decorations
  • Pressure wash siding
  • Check the roof for obvious repairs

Before each showing:

  • Spot-check for dirt, vacuum and sweep floors, and wipe countertops
  • Remove any tripping hazards
  • Put on ambient music
  • Freshen the air with a neutral scent
  • Set a comfortable temperature

Covering these bases helps expedite the home-selling process.

4. List Your Home

The National Association of Realtors reports that over 40% of buyers initially review listings online, so list your home for sale on popular sites.

Costs Involved in Selling

Prepare for closing costs and verify any mortgage payoff expenses, prorated property tax, and transfer tax. Don’t forget to budget your moving costs. You may also want to pad your budget a little for the unexpected; for example, if your home inspection uncovers any issues, you may need to remediate these to get the best sales price.

Realtor Fees

Sellers usually pay 5% to 6% of realtor commissions. However, the time you save and a better sales price are worth it.

Best Months To Sell

Reports confirm spring and summer are best for home sellers. May through July is optimal.

Pricing Strategy

Discuss a pricing strategy with your realtor and use comparable sales to guide you. Pay attention to seasonal shifts and your location.

5. Get Your Documentation in Order

Selling your home requires a lot of paperwork to protect all parties. Prepare the following items.

Mortgage Statements

Mortgage payoff statements are part of the calculations of closing costs and are necessary to finalize the transaction. These statements are essential if you sell your mortgage note for the transaction.


Providing the buyer with warranties and manuals leaves a good impression and gives the new owners peace of mind.

Title Deed

The title deed is necessary for an official property transfer.

Homeowners Insurance & HOA Documents

Provide homeowners insurance and homeowners association documents to buyers so that they understand their coverage and the dues and regulations for the community. Obtain a status certificate from the board for a condo.

Property Tax Statements

Property tax documents verify your right to sell and show you covered your portion of the property tax for the year.

State Disclosures

Florida law requires disclosing facts or conditions that substantially impact the home’s value or desirability.

Records of Repairs & Maintenance

Give the buyers records of repairs and maintenance to confirm the home’s condition and avoid possible liability. This also builds trust in the buyer that you are a responsible homeowner. Also, if there are repairs you are unable or unwilling to make, it takes you off the hook, as the buyer would have knowledge going into the sale of anything they will need to handle.

6. Prepare To Move Into Your New Dream Home

With the hard work of the home selling process behind you, you can focus on acquiring your dream home.

Securing a Loan for Your New House

Lenders review your income, job history, and credit score. Avoid taking out other loans before applying for a mortgage for a better debt-to-income ratio. Buying a foreclosed home can be more complex, so secure financing early.

Flipping Property

Flippers who plan to live in a home during the remodel may qualify for a regular primary residence mortgage. Instead of putting all the cash from your home sale into the new home, keep aside enough to fund the remodel. Create a realistic budget and have at least 10% more for unexpected expenses.

Buying an Investment Home

Investment properties usually have higher rates and down payments. A wise strategy could be to use your investment home as your primary residence for a year or two and convert it into a rental property, but you must obey the terms of your contract. Discuss the time you must spend in the home as a primary residence with your lending agent.

Contact Us Today for the Best Rates

With so much effort in preparing a house for sale, let us take the burden out of getting an excellent rate for your new home. Contact us today. We’re experts at nontraditional loans for borrowers with unique challenges!

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