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In the current market, there are many homes for sale, yet most are not selling. This in turn, creates a large inventory for buyers to choose from. However, some homes stand out due to a beautiful presentation and correct pricing. These homes still sell fast-and for near or over the asking price. They are staged, de-cluttered, de-personalized and clean.  In the first two weeks as a new listing, your home is going to attract the most amount of potential buyers walking through. The first impression is key-it causes a gut reaction which results in the buyer moving onto the next listing or making your home-their home.  Therefore, it is very important nowadays to have your house stand out and shine!

Here are some tips that will help you prepare your home for sale:

Start to see your home as a product

  • Envision your home as a product that will appeal to a buyer.
  • Make the decision to let go of your attachments and start to think about how best to present your home to the market.
  • Start by opening your front door. Is the house welcoming? Does it seem inviting and spacious?
  • Linger in the doorway of each room and imagine how it will look to a buyer.
  • Picture yourself at the closing table and handing over the keys to the new owner.


Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can't see past personal artifacts, and get distracted with photos and end up trying to figure out who you are, rather then imagine themselves living in the home.  

De-Clutter and Rent a Storage Unit

We all accumulate a lot of things over the years. Here's an easy rule to follow for de-cluttering your home-If you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it any time soon. Get a head start on your packing, and stow these items away now.

Almost every home shows better with less furniture. You want to allow for an ease of flow through the home. If furniture blocks or hampers a pathway, consider placing it in storage. Large pieces such as bookshelves, dressers and sideboards also can take up a great deal of room space, making the room seem smaller. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose and leave plenty of room to move around.

  • If you don't need it, donate it or throw it away.
  • Neatly arrange books in their bookcases.
  • Pack up all non essential items, clothing and collectibles
  • Clean off everything on kitchen counters.
  • Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.
  • Take this as an opportunity to get a head start on the packing you will eventually need to do!

Organize Closets and Kitchen Cabinets

Buyers will open closet and cabinet doors. Having your closets and cabinets organized will make an impression on the buyer that you have probably taken good care of the rest of the home as well.

  • Arrange food and spices in the cabinets.
  • Neatly stack dishes.
  • Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
  • Line up shoes.

Remove or Replace Built-in Items You Wish to Take with You

If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room is something you can't part with, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, they won't want it. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.

Make Minor Repairs

  • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
  • Patch and paint cracks and holes in walls.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
  • Paint your walls neutral colors, especially if you have flashy or bold paint colors.
  • Replace burned-out or dimmed light bulbs with the brightest you can.
  • Replace all worn out bed linens.

Make the House Sparkle!

  • Wash windows inside and out.
  • Clean out cobwebs out of the basement.
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Polish faucets and mirrors.
  • Clean out the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum daily.
  • Wax floors.
  • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
  • Bleach dingy grout.
  • Replace worn rugs.
  • Hang up fresh towels.
  • Clean and air out any musty smelling odors. Bad smells can ruin a good first impression fast.

Curb Appeal

If a buyer won't consider your home a possibility because they don't like the exterior, you lose a chance to have them look inside.

  • Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior.
  • Keep the sidewalks cleared.
  • Mow the lawn, rake the leaves, trim bushes and mulch.
  • Paint faded window trim.
  • Plant flowers, buy potted plants and/or install window boxes.
  • Make sure your house number is visible from the street and the façade is well lit.

Last Check!

  • Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
  • Does each room seem to leave a positive impact?
  • Sparsely decorated, organized and clean?
  • Are you second guessing moving from your beautiful home? You are now ready to place it on the market!

Rachel Burns. Your Home. My Mission. Evers & Co. Washington DC Real Estate, DC Real Estate, Alexandria Real Estate, Northern Virginia Real Estate, Luxury DC Real Estate.
Rachel Burns
(202) 384-5140
Rachel Burns. Your Home. My Mission. Evers & Co. Washington DC Real Estate, DC Real Estate, Alexandria Real Estate, Northern Virginia Real Estate, Luxury DC Real Estate.
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