Woman fluffing pillows on couch while preparing a home for sale

Preparing to sell your home

Give your home a quick makeover before listing it to attract buyers and potentially sell faster.

When potential buyers walk into a well-decorated, organized and decluttered home, 83% of real estate agents say it makes it easier for potential buyers to visualize it as a future home, according to the National Association of Realtors. Preparing your house for showings may increase the likelihood of receiving offers after you list your home.

Preparing your home to sell doesn't necessarily require the pros. These ideas can be done on your own, on a budget, and may increase your return on investment (ROI). It is always a good idea to have a friend or real estate agent walk through your home to help you identify areas needing attention since you may overlook them. Little improvements or changes to the home could give you big returns and help raise your home's worth.

Increase curb appeal

First impressions are key when enticing buyers. Focus on the front of the home to impress buyers before they walk through the door. Clean the gutters and power wash the siding, add bright flowers in planters, clean windows and give the front door a fresh coat of paint. If you have a porch with seating, be sure to clean the furniture. Simple things like mowing the lawn, weeding flower beds, trimming shrubs and replacing light fixtures make a real difference.

Freshen up

The living room is considered the most important room to prepare. You don't need to buy new furniture or make major changes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Place out fresh, bright throw pillows and blankets;
  • Remove any clutter on tables in favor of a few artfully arranged books; 
  • Put out a few vases of fresh flowers;
  • Make the room look larger by removing a piece of furniture; and
  • Use blankets or vases to strategically cover worn-out spots or hide marks on couches and tables.

Get buyers to think about entertaining

Refashion your living space and kitchen to get buyers thinking about how they could use the space to entertain. Move furniture several inches away from walls to help create the illusion of a larger space and place area rugs and seating to create conversation nooks. Also, in the kitchen, place a bowl of fresh fruit on the countertop. In the dining area, set the table with beautiful dinnerware and linens.

Make it less personal

Buyers need to imagine themselves in your home, but to do that, they need to imagine you not living there. Stash away personal photos, trophies and kids' artwork and sort through unneeded books for reduced clutter on shelves. Don't forget the bathroom items as well. Painting walls a neutral color is a practical idea too. A blank canvas sometimes triggers potential buyers to see themselves living there and personalizing it themselves. Also, place some furniture in each room as unfinished rooms tend to look smaller. It is a way to help potential buyers start thinking about where they would put their own belongings.

Clean and declutter the kitchen

Decluttering and cleaning the kitchen area is a great way to make your home inviting and give the impression that the home has been well taken care of. Here are a few ideas to help improve the image, aura of home and comfort for those viewing the home and for potential buyers:

  • Put bulky appliances and items that clutter the space and counters away;
  • Clean out and organize hidden areas such as the inside of drawers, cabinets and the refrigerator;
  • Replace cabinet knobs (it's a budget-friendly facelift); and
  • Leave snacks or bottled water in the kitchen for potential buyers passing through.

Get artful and reflective

Use oversize canvases or prints to create new focal points and make a small space feel larger. Full-length curtains can add height to distract from low ceilings or obscure a poor view, while oversized mirrors create the appearance of a larger room.

Cozy up the bedrooms

Put a bouquet of flowers near the vanity. Place a breakfast tray on a carefully made bed in the master suite. These types of details can spark a buyer's imagination. Another professional tip is to keep the doors of a closet open while reducing the number of things on display inside.

Good smells and good tunes

Whether it's a floral candle, citrusy room spray or the waft of chocolate chip cookies in the oven, buyers are subconsciously tempted by smell and music. Mimic a luxury hotel by scenting the home's common spaces, including the living areas, kitchen and bathrooms, and playing soothing music in the background.

Other tips

Be sure to clean out closets and declutter the entire home as much as possible. Rent a storage facility, if needed. Here are more ideas to consider:

  • Open the shades/blinds to let natural light in,
  • Make sure the bathroom is clean and the toilet lid is down,
  • Make minor repairs,
  • Do preventative fix ups or maintenance,
  • Hide/lock up your valuables,
  • Remove items that you don't plan to leave with the house that buyers may expect to remain like Grandma's chandelier or other fixtures you plan on taking with you,
  • Clean all carpets, and
  • Remove pets from the home during showings.

Read more about buying or selling a home.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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Preparing to sell your home

Give your home a quick makeover before listing it to attract buyers and potentially sell faster.