Broker Tip: Make Your Home Stand Out to Buyers — 10 Tips to Prep Your Home for Sale

By Doug Evans

Even though selling a home can be a stressful undertaking, why not give it every chance to “wow” potential buyers?  Securing the right offer is not always easy, but here are 10 tips to impress potential buyers and maximize the possibility of obtaining the best price:

  1.      Focus on Curb Appeal: When you meet someone for the first time, you always want to make a good first impression and the “curb appeal” of your home is no different when it comes to impressing buyers.  When the curb appeal is strong, people will want to see what is inside – and that is your goal – to get buyers inside.  Mow and water the lawn, prune the bushes so no windows are hidden, trim the trees, weed the garden beds, and plant some colorful flowers in pots or window boxes.
  2.      Clean the outside:  Make sure to clean the gutters, pressure wash the exterior, properly store bicycles, gardening equipment, and children’s toys.  In addition, be sure the front door has a welcome feeling. A fresh coat of paint on the front door works wonders for a good first impression.  Add a new welcome mat for the finishing touch!
  3.      Make Necessary Repairs: Homebuyers will automatically expect all features in a home to operate safely and efficiently. If a buyer notices any problems, they may question whether the home has been cared for.  Take care of major issues like faulty or outdated electrical outlets and wiring, broken windows, furnaces and water heaters, along with leaking roofs and other plumbing concerns prior to putting a house on the market.
  4.      Remove Clutter: Virtually all homebuyers are on the lookout for one thing – a spacious home. Homebuyers tend to show less interest in an untidy, cluttered home.  In addition, an untidy home tends to fetch a lower selling price.  Consider renting a storage unit for extra furniture to create more open space in rooms.
  5.      Organize Closets and Drawers:  Avoid overflowing closets and drawers which indicate there is not enough storage space in the home.
  6.      Depersonalize:  Displaying too many family collectibles and photos can be distracting to buyers.  If you have young children or pets, consider buying bins that you can quickly toss toys into (and other items that are laying about).  Place them in the garage or attic before open houses or when a real estate sales professional calls to bring by a potential buyer!
  7.      Make Your Home Sparkle:  This may seem obvious, but clean your home until it shines – every surface should be clean, from the floors to ceiling fans and hard-to-reach light fixtures.  The two most important rooms in a buyer’s mind are the kitchen and bathrooms. Make certain these rooms are sparkling clean and in good condition.
  8.      Eliminate Odors: Make sure to take out the trash, remove litter boxes, and empty ashtrays. Also, be certain to bathe pets and clean drapes. It is important to ensure that the home smells nicely.   Fresh flowers, room fresheners and freshly baked cookies also work wonders in creating a pleasant-smelling environment.
  9.      Repaint Brightly Colored Rooms:  Repaint walls with neutral paint colors that will appeal to a wider range of buyers.  And, lighter colored walls will make a room seem larger!
  10.     Work with your Sales Associate:  Being objective is hard.  So, utilize your real estate sales professional to gain an even-handed appraisal of what improvements can and should be made. Sales associates have the experience and knowledge to help identify potential problem areas or to suggest necessary improvements that will help maximize your home’s selling potential!

For more information, please contact Doug Evans (Cal BRE #01253232), manager of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Los Gatos office, at 408-355-1500 or