Getting Your Home Ready For The Market

Real Estate

Get Your Home Ready For The Market

With Spring market right around the corner, we receive many calls from prospective home sellers asking what they need to do to get their home ready for market. Below, I am going to outline some great starting steps to help you do just that!

A common mistake people make is to spend a lot of money – renovations, major remodeling. While buyers will be impressed with these things, spending $5000 on remodeling will not necessarily add $5000 to your sale. Spend as little money as possible, and spend it on cosmetic, readily seen features like interior painting. The time for a major remodel is when you plan to stay in the house, not necessarily when you’re going to sell.

If you think about everything that needs to be done to sell your house, you might throw your hands up in despair, or at least feel some anxiety. Take one step at a time, one small task at a time. Break it down to manageable-sized chores and you’ll have better results.

First things first – have a garage sale. And whatever doesn’t sell - donate. Once the clutter is cleared away, it will be easier to see what needs to be done.
I always say that going on the market is like your Grand Opening Sale. This is your first impression, so it had better be a good one.

In today’s age of, Zillow, Trulia, your photos are first, and then Buyers will likely do a drive by before they even contact their Realtor, so you want to make sure your exterior is in tip top shape because you want prospective Buyers to make the appointment to see your home!

• Edge, mow and fertilize the lawn regularly. Make sure it’s well watered and reseed any sparse areas.
• Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly. Cut back overgrown shrubbery that looks scraggly or keeps light out of the house.
• Spring for some brightly colored potted outdoor flower arrangements for the front yard near the entrance. A fresh layer of mulch in your garden goes a LONG way!
• Put a bright coat of paint on your mailbox, and your front door. And scrape and paint any peeling paint around your exterior.
• Buy a new welcome mat.
• Check the foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling, and have professionally resealed if possible.
• If you have siding or brick, power-wash it.
• Make sure the porch light works.
• Clean and align gutters and downspouts.
• Inspect and clean the chimney.
• If the doorbell doesn’t work, repair or replace it.
• Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
• Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
• Remove oil stains from driveway and garage.
• If you’re selling in the winter, keep walks neatly cleared of snow and ice. Otherwise, keep the walks and driveway swept.
• Repair broken outdoor steps.
• Keep your garage door closed.
• Wash the windows inside and out.
• Store RVs, boats and extra vehicles (anything that can’t be parked in the garage) elsewhere while the house is on the market.
• Paint the front door.

NOW, once we get Buyers over the threshold of your home, it is important to note that if prospective buyers walk into your house greeted by the smell of cat litter, cigarette smoke, mildew or pet accidents, there is little chance that even a reduced sales price will persuade them to buy. So when it comes to your interior, here are some starting steps to consider:

• Clean, clean, clean. This includes walls, floors, inside closets and cabinets – everything. If you must, hire a cleaning service to come in and do the job.
• Get rid of clutter. Put away appliances you normally leave on countertops. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Clean out your closets, garage, basement and attic. A good rule of thumb is that your closets should be 2/3rds full with very little on the floor.
• Paint the walls and ceilings a neutral color – off white or beige… or my favorite color pallet now is a nice neutral “greige.”
• Repair cracks, holes and damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.
• Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork.
• Repair dripping faucets and showerheads.
• Buy new cabinet knobs for kitchen cabinets. You can usually find an economy pack at your local hardware store.
• Shampoo all carpets, scrub and wax linoleum, wash and wax wood floors.
• Unclog slowly draining sinks and tubs.
• Clean out the fireplace and lay some logs in it.
• Mend torn screens. Clean out all window tracks.
• Check to see that all windows will open and close.
• Replace burned-out light bulbs. Use brighter white light bulbs.
• Make sure every light switch works.
• Nail down any creaking boards or stair treads (drive two long finishing nails at opposing angles through the floor and sub-floor into the joist).
• Lubricate any squeaking doors.
• Remove excess, worn or unattractive furniture.
• Thoroughly clean all appliances (especially refrigerator and oven).
• Replace old toilet seats and shower curtains.
• Clear all cobwebs from corners and doorways.
• Wash all light switches, handrails and doorknobs.
On Showing Days:
• Keep draperies and shades open (or take them down all together) to let in the light.
• Place fresh flowers throughout the house.
• Have your home well-lit during showing. This is SO IMPORTANT.
• At night, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting in back if you have it.
• Put fresh, preferably white towels in the bathroom.
• Avoid having dirty dishes in the sink or on counters.
• Keep any toys in the children’s rooms, bikes, wagons and skateboards in the garage.
• Take your pets with you...

My team and I always say that prospective Buyers are buying your floors and walls, so we want to be sure we utilize your “stuff” to highlight the great features of your home, not detract.
This list may seem like a lot, but getting your home ready for market doesn’t have to be a stressful process. At the Stephanie Salerno Team we have a certified stager on our team that will provide a complimentary consult for listing with us. We will help identify your top “to do” list to get your home on the market, sold quickly and for its top dollar.

It is never too soon to give us a call. We can help get your started before you invest and time or money in getting your home ready so we can be sure that your energy and dollars are being put to best use.

For more information, check out this month’s blog on, and feel free to give our team a call! We look forward to hearing from you!

The Stephanie Salerno Team