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Preparing your Home to Sell

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We are excited to help you get your home ready to sell! By investing a little time and energy, the financial rewards can be significant! We love helping our clients use this process to increase their home’s value, save marketing time, and clear a path to a smooth transition and physical move to the next home.

Do NOT be concerned about having your home in “show-ready” condition when I come over the initial Home Selling Consultation. Not only do we want to see how you LIVE in and YOU’RE YOUR home to its best advantage, but our goal is to talk about PROCESS, not a test of how you can clean! Don’t sweat it at this stage! We won’t even talk specifics about home preparation until you’ve made the decision to move forward with the process, and THEN we’ll schedule a Home Preparation Walk Through.

When you’d like, we can do the Home Preparation Walk Through… this includes inexpensive things you can do to prepare your home, and we can talk in detail about any other pre-marketing resources (e.g. staging, painting) that we may choose to employ.

STAGE 1 Preparations

DE-CLUTTERING – You’ve probably heard that personal photos should be removed. I can’t tell you how many times buyers walk into a property, only to bee-line it to the wedding photo to see if they recognize the couple. They miss the point of the showing! Think of decluttering as making your home look like a luxury hotel space- accessories and art, yes, but every item must have a purpose- as a focal point, decorative element, or required furnishing. For more details and a room by room checklist, click here.

If you’re having a challenge with this, let’s touch base. We have several options – home organizers and packers, stagers, and movers. Do you really want to pay for storage? There are several charitable options you may want to consider – click this link for those we recommend

LIGHTING – Light bulbs should be at maximum wattage, and if you have matching recessed lighting or track fixtures, they should match in terms of cool/warm and wattage. Replace any burned out bulbs, and repair any broken fixtures. Bright rooms look larger and yield higher prices!

REPAIRS – make a list of broken items that either you can repair, or a handyman can easily fix. This includes small drips from plumbing pipes, closet doors that need adjusting, cleaning bathroom grout and replacing caulking around tubs, and making sure windows and doors open freely.

SMELLS – we need to get rid of all smells- today, it’s not about artificial room fresheners or the smell of baking. NEUTRAL is key! Some of this will happen naturally when you clean, but I suggest you also invest in deodorizers – some examples are Fresh Wave and Damp Rid

DEEP CLEAN – So critical, and often neglected, the “deep clean” is important in getting the highest price possible! Get the carpets cleaned, too! (This can be scheduled for just before you go on the market)

Often overlooked in cleaning:

  • Dusting ceiling fans
  • Washing walls and baseboards (use a magic eraser or ask me for one – I keep them handy at all times!)
  • Wash and dust the vents and cold air returns
  • Remember the louvered doors (of your furnace room, etc)
  • Windows! Clean glass, dust-free sills, and sashes
  • Appliances –kitchen appliances (inside and out), furnace (replace the filter- if you don’t the inspector will point it out!), and the washer/dryer – do you have mold in the washing machine?!

If you need a good cleaning crew, let us help you find one!

STAGE 2 Varies by property and client…


Sometimes, it’s going to be worth it to hire a painter and/or a stager to prepare your home for sale. The final decision is up to you, of course, but after years and years of seeing it in action, staging returns probably $5-$10 for every $1 you invest.

Staging the home doesn’t necessarily mean removing EVERYTHING in order to put in new furniture. Depending on your situation and circumstances, there are various options we will discuss:

  1. Painting – from touch-up paint to an entire paint job, painting makes the next best difference in preparing your home to sell. We have an amazing painting group – best quality/service/price to help you get your home ready for sale!
  2. Staging Consultation. Some clients are 90% ready when I meet them, and bringing in a consultant for a couple hours makes a world of difference. In this case, the professional designer will suggest a few edits which can include moving furniture, swapping out artwork, refreshing the accessories, etc. She can even find you low-cost & fresh light fixtures, area rugs, art, and other items that transform your home!
  3. Partial staging. If this option is selected, we would hire a stager to bring in selected pieces to augment what’s already in the home. In this case, it’s a few furniture pieces, art, and accents to show off the space. This option is best for those who are not interested in buying a bunch of items that they will not use in the next home, but want a fresh look to their current furnishings
  4. FULL staging is for those who have vacant properties where furniture is critical to showing off the space. Please see the videos below for real life examples of how staging has been successful in getting the best sales price for my clients.
  5. Virtual Staging. Sometimes virtual staging is the best option for selling. When we have a pristine vacant property, we can add virtual staging to the photos to show online what the home would look like with furnishings. While it’s not ideal for buyers, it makes sense in some situations where the return on investment doesn’t warrant a full home staging situation. (Embed Beverly house video)


When we schedule the photo/video shoots – it’s the MOST CRITICAL time to be “show-ready!” We will do a pre-photo walk through to discuss THE DETAILS. Some of the things we’ll talk about:

  • Fresh towels in the bathrooms – preferably white
  • Stashing away things you use every day, which we won’t want in photos but are okay for regular property showings (e.g. bathroom rugs, kitchen towels, some kitchen gadgets, paper towels, dish rags…)
  • Cords – in a world where we’re always “plugged in”, we don’t want cords littering the photos.
  • Dog beds and bowls
  • Garbage cans and tissues – again, needed and useful, but not a plus for property photos

Sometimes, I act as a “photo assistant”, removing garbage cans and items temporarily while the photographer shoots the room, then restoring them to their regular position.

For 3D matterport photos, we have to be incredibly vigilant, as EVERYTHING is visible in a 360 degree photo!

I ALWAYS attend the photo shoot, unlike some agents who have an assistant or staging attend (can you believe that happens!?!)

Here’s a link to our photography company – VHT’s recommendations for preparing for the photo shoot:






As you can see, there are many people who can help you through the process, and we are here to put you in touch with the service providers who have best served our clients in the past. These include:

  • Real Estate Attorneys
  • Home Inspectors (pre-listing home inspectors)
  • Handymen
  • Painters
  • HVAC Installation/Repair
  • Masons, Roofers, Carpenters, Glazers, Garage Repair
  • Interior Designers and Home Stagers
  • Moving Companies (including Senior Move Managers)
  • Charitable Donation Options
  • Tax and Estate Planners Insurance
  • And More!

How can we help? What resources do you need or with whom can we connect you to help with the journey?

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