How to Prepare Your Home For Sale on A Budget

Our guide will walk you through how to prepare your home for sale on a budget so you can get the most value from the effort you put in. You can also read more about selling your home, market updates, home seller tips, and more in our blog. 

Tips to help prepare your home for sale

Declutter & make it feel spacious

Big kitchens, bathrooms and storage are usually big selling points therefore it can help to make your rooms look as spacious as possible. Professional home stagers recommend that you remove 50% of your items. 

Go through your home room by room, decluttering and organizing spaces. We would not recommend shoving belongings in closets, cabinets, attics and basements, as buyers look inside all of those places. Use storage bins that can be tucked under beds or neatly stacked in a basement or closet. Baskets or cubbies inside cabinets can make things look neat and clean. 

Decluttering also includes furniture, not just items. The scale of your pieces should match the size of the room, remember what we said about rooms feeling spacious? Buyers should be able to easily walk around spaces without bumping into furniture. Make sure furnishings don’t block doors, windows or architectural features. Potential buyers will want to inspect your house before they make a decision to purchase, make it easier by removing any obstructions. 

Depersonalize your home

In addition to cleaning and decluttering, we also recommend depersonalizing your home. The goal when selling is to have a buyer fall in love with your house, picturing themselves living there and imaging their belongings inside. That can be difficult if your home has your last name above the fireplace, pictures of your family, and other personal decor. 

We suggest neutralizing the space by removing items such as family photos, souvenirs, religious symbols, diplomas and certificates, hobby supplies, and collections, including CDs and DVDs. You don’t want a buyer to feel like they’re intruding in your space or, worse, take offense at your lifestyle. 

Identify repairs and create a plan

Normal wear and tear can add up, especially if you’ve lived in your home for a time. Minor issues like squeaky doors to a window that sticks or a toilet that runs until you jiggle the handle, can be overlooked because you're used to them. These are minor issues but should not be ignored and repaired before your home is listed for sale.

Buyers may see these minor issues as problems that lower the value of your home or use them as bargaining points during the negotiation process.  If you have too many noticeable repairs, buyers may also wonder if more serious issues lurk below the surface, and that could prevent them from making a good offer.

We suggest going through your home room by room, noting repairs that need to be made. Some repairs might be easy do-it-yourself projects, such as patching a hole in drywall or unclogging a slow drain. If it’s your first time making repairs like these, video tutorials on YouTube are a great place to learn. 

More serious or complicated repairs may require hiring a professional. If your roof leaks, outlets don’t work, or you have cracks in your foundation, having the job done by someone who has the right tools and know-how can save time and ensure the repairs are done correctly and save you headache in the long run. 

A fresh coat of paint

A fresh coat of paint can make a home feel new and alive. Painting is one of the most common recommendations real estate agents make to sellers before they list. Paint can help small rooms appear larger and highlight architectural details, such as crown molding and trim. Be mindful of your color choice, however. Experts recommend neutral colors such as beige, tan, gray, and “greige,” a blend of gray and beige. Because these shades go with anything, they can help buyers to picture their belongings in your home and again won’t be used against you in the negotiations.

If you don’t have time to paint your entire home, recommends painting the kitchen, bathrooms, entryway and foyer. If you’ve had your house painted in the past few years, you can likely just touch up scuff marks or stains on walls or baseboards.

Keep it clean & consistent

Once your home is on the market, the hard part can be maintaining that level of repair and decoration. Showing requests can happen at a moment’s notice, and you won’t always have time to get your home ready for the showing.

Create a cleaning schedule and stick to it. Control of clutter by putting things away when you’re done using them. Get the whole family on board so the responsibility is shared and more regulated. Make a habit of wiping kitchen and bathroom fixtures and surfaces daily. Keep wastebaskets emptied. Vacuum or sweep before you leave the house. Mow your lawn and remove weeds every week. Keep your walkway and porch clean and accessible.

Home Showing Checklist ✅

It’s showtime! Before each showing, complete these tasks on your way out the door:

  • Spot check rooms for clutter or dirt
  • Vacuum or sweep
  • Wipe down sinks and faucets
  • Clean kitchen countertops
  • Empty the trash
  • Secure your valuables
  • Put away pet dishes
  • Sweep your front porch
  • Open curtains and shades
  • Turn on the lights
  • Play soft instrumental music

Create more curb appeal

You want potential buyers to be charmed by the outside of your house so they’re excited to come inside. We would recommend trimming bushes, shrubs, and trees. Repair and deep clean any broken downspouts and gutters. Add a fresh layer of rock or mulch to freshen up your landscaped areas and create more of a contrast to your lawn. 

Pressure wash and repair concrete areas, such as driveways and walkways. Eliminate any oil or grease stains, and clean out any weeds coming up through the cracks as these look very unkept.  If it’s seasonally appropriate, put out a few pots with colorful flowers to boost your curb appeal. 

Maybe even freshen up your doorstep with a new welcome mat and repaint or repair the house numbers to make them stand out. A bit of of effort will go along way, you can make your house beautiful and welcoming with these tips.


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