Preparing your house for resale can be challenging, but the final touches make your home look its best and provide a valuable return on investment. To keep yourself from getting overwhelmed, try this big-picture approach. Your home will be in great shape and your sanity will remain intact.

1. Sanitize

Potential buyers know they are buying a house that’s been lived in. They don’t need a reminder that their shower drain comes with a free sample of the previous owner’s hair. Before you sell, clean like you’ve never cleaned before. Keep in mind that you may have become blind to certain aspects of your home’s condition (“that stain has just always been there”), but things you’re willing to overlook may be deal breakers to prospective buyers. Be thorough and hire professional help if necessary. Pay special attention to bathrooms. If your bathroom isn’t inviting, your home won’t be enticing.

2. Organize

While you clean, de-clutter. Put away, hide, or remove belongings that make your house look too lived-in. Think big: remove furniture that serves a more practical than aesthetic value. Now is not the time to get sentimental, and that futon you’ve kept since college is not exactly a selling point. Edit voraciously until your home is streamlined and simplified. 

Quick Tip

Take the time to go through your documents. Maintenance records, permits, and financial documentation will come in handy when the house is changing hands.

3. Neutralize

You may be the star of your own show, but when it comes time to stage your home for sale, you must let your unique personality float away into space. Potential buyers project their lives into your home in order to imagine themselves living there, so your remaining home décor must serve as a blank slate. Your Fabergé egg collection and Doctor Who wallpaper have to go. It may be difficult, but dull your decoration to the point of complete neutrality. Looking to model homes and hotels for inspiration, choose subdued patterns, restrained beiges, and mainstream décor. Boring is good, as long as it is clean and organized.

4. Visualize

When you think your home is prepared for photos or showings, try a dry run and role-play as a buyer. Visualize how a complete stranger would see your house. Imagining your home vicariously through someone else’s eyes may help you catch last-minute issues you’ve overlooked. If you’ve ever watched a favorite movie with a friend for the first time, you know how their presence can change your perspective on the film. Do the same with your house; invite a friend over for a practice showing. A second set of eyes can cover more and newer territories.




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