Properly preparing your home to list will usually produce a higher offer and in less time.  Some agents will tell you spending money on your home will not raise the comparable value in an appraisers report by much, and this may be true.  However, your home would sell faster if it appears more desirable to potential buyers, and would typically sell faster; you will sell for a higher price because stale listings don’t get full list offers.

Five Ways To Make Your Listing Stand Out

As a Realtor, I constantly walk into listings that are in terrible condition, and in some cases the seller does not even bother to clean the property prior to leaving!


A few years ago I was showing homes to a married couple looking for their first home.  We came across a home listed for $140,000 in terrible condition, the carpet was worn, the walls unpainted with marks, and overall very dirty.

Three showings later, we walk into a home listed for $165,000 with fresh two tone paint, new carpet, new appliances and extremely clean/fresh smelling.  Immediately the wife says “I love it, especially the floorplan” (floorplan identical to the first home).

I asked her, “What do you like better about this home than the first, other than the condition?”  She replies,”The layout is more open.”

Obviously she was very influenced by the condition and had no idea that the layout was identical.  These repairs/upgrades probably cost the seller around 5-7k, in return the seller will be able to list the home 10-12k higher and it will sell faster.  Not every seller will have the need or funds to perform this kind of work, but some basic actions must be taken and in this order:

1) Cleaning

Do-It-Yourself (DIY):
Clean the home yourself, spend a few hours going through and make the home presentable.

Hiring a Professional Cleaning Crew:
If you simply just can’t find the time for cleaning the property yourself, it may be best to hire a professional cleaning crew.  They will give an overall cleaning to your home that will give a lasting impression.  Add glade/incense plugins, it is always nice to have a pleasant smell when you walk in the door.

2) Landscaping


If you can find the time to do a little basic landscaping yourself, you may be able to save some money and still have the property look presentable. Such as:

  • Clear up any clutter around the home
  • Plant some flowers in the front
  • Decorative rocks or step stones
  • Mowing of the lawn

These are just three of the most basic things that you can do yourself if you are up for it.

Hiring a Professional Lanscaper:
Paying a little extra may not be a bad idea either. A professional landscaper would be able to help lay out new sod, replace any old shrubs, trimming of trees and bushes, and perhaps even add a flower bed to the front yard can help with curb appeal.

3) Paint

Touching up on the paint of the home may not be too big of a task, this simple step should cost no more than $1 per total square footage of your home.  For instance, Repainting your interior with 2 tone paint is one of the most easy ways to create a big difference in changing the way the inside of your home’s presence.  Use a neutral color for the walls and use white for the doors, ceiling, and trims.

The only exception to doing this task yourself would be if your walls have damage or wall paper that needs removed.

Hiring a Professional Painter Contractor:
A Licensed Painting Contractor can do just about anything when it comes to your painting needs. With more experience under their belt, professional contractors know certain techniques and tricks when applying paint to walls, ceilings, and trims.

Contractors would also have access to more useful equipment than a homeowner would, such as special spray paints and even rollers. In addition to this, professional contractors can provide a higher quality of a finished project and a lot quicker too. This is why paying a pro may be in your best interest despite the money that you have to put into it.

4) Fixtures

Replace broken switch plates, light bulbs, smoke detector batteries and any other unsightly fixtures.

This area is very broad; I would suggest spending money in this order:

  • All switch plates
  • smoke detectors
  • faucets
  • nickel door handles/hinges
  • cabinet hardware/handles
  • lights/chandeliers/bathroom vanity lights

5) Flooring

Have your carpet shampooed and your tile steam cleaned.  Tile should cost around 0.75 cents per sqft. to have cleaned. Replace your carpet using a neutral color.  New carpet will go a long way in preparing your home, and can also make it smell a lot better.  Tile, wood, and linoleum can get costly, leave these upgrades to the new buyer.

Every seller’s financial situation is different and must be carefully examined before placing a home on the market. If time and money permits, the above steps should be taken in order to produce a timely, more profitable sale.