Prepping a Home for Sale – Part 1

Thinking of listing your home but not sure where to start? Feels like a huge undertaking, doesn’t it?  There are a few things that you can prioritize to make the process a little less overwhelming.  It does not matter if the market happens to be super-hot for sellers or perhaps a little slower – in either case, it is critically important to make a great first impression.  Studies have shown that you have 8 seconds to make an impression before people click away to something else (in this case, photos of a different home).  This means that even if your home has some amazing features…potential buyers may not see those features if they aren’t impressed immediately.  This means that professional photography is key.  And if you are paying a professional, you want to give them the absolute best canvas with which to work, right?    


Here are our 7 recommendations:


1)    CLEAN – like military clean…windows (let’s in more light), cabinets, walls, floors…you want shiny surfaces to gleam and light colors to be bright in all aspects of your home.


2)    LIGHT – lighting is key.  The brighter a room, the larger it feels.  The brighter a space, the easier it is to photograph.  Change out bulbs to warm white in the highest wattage that the fixture will allow.  This is true for both lamps and built-in light fixtures.  If there is more than one bulb in a fixture – make sure they match in both style (if they are visible), color and brightness.  Avoid CFL’s that take longer to come up to brightness…LED or regular incandescent are best.


3)    DECLUTTER – this should come as no surprise.  All realtors should bring this up but you want as little ‘stuff’ around as possible.  If you aren’t sure how well you are doing – take a photo of your room with your phone and compare it to other home photos on Zillow or  See the difference?  You are aiming for a clean, calming feel and that happens with less clutter. We will have an upcoming post on this topic, so bookmark this page adn come back!


4)    DEPERSONALIZE – this should also come as no surprise, but you want potential buyers to picture themselves in your home.  That’s hard to do with your mail, your toothbrush or your wedding photos in view.  The less they see of YOU, the more they can imagine of themselves.


5)    NEUTRALIZE – While all stagers (and most realtors) recommend a neutral color palate to sell a home, this is extra important here in the PNW.  Because our winters are typically gloomy, it’s important to keep home decor neutral to allow the real estate photographer as much leeway as possible to digitally adjust the images.  If they go to ‘brighten’ a photo because of a stormy day, any brightly colored objects (or walls) will saturate and visually ‘glow’.  You don’t want your mustard accent pillows to look like radioactive blobs!


6)    REPAIR – try to look at your home as if you are interested in buying it.  Anything that isn’t working as it should needs to be fixed – doors, hinges, cabinets, damaged woodwork, light switches/fixtures, etc.  Make sure to check outside as well!


7)    EDIT – Edit furniture and belongings.  How you sell a home and how you live in a home are different.  Beyond decluttering, sometimes a home will look bigger, brighter or more functional with less furniture or decor.  Keep in mind that there is a fine line between simplifying and sterilizing.  You want a home to feel inviting but not overwhelming.  For the best advice on how much to keep or pack up, consult with a professional stager.  Professional stagers have been trained on viewing your home from the perspective of a buyer and they will have the knowledge about how to present your home in its best light. If you are not sure where to find one, check out RESA


There is enough here to get you started!  Stay tuned for the second post in this series where we talk about getting the best bang for your home-prep buck.