Preparing Your Home for Sale

If you’ve been thinking about selling your house, now’s the time! It is a seller’s market. Rates are low, prices are climbing, and there’s not much for sale. And, since we have more buyers than sellers, the marketing time (time it takes to sell a home) is short. If you’re curious about what your home might sell for, you can get a free market evaluation from your Realtor.

Part of why we have so many buyers is because they know buying now will save them from higher interest rates, higher home prices, and increased property taxes.

So, what’s the best way to sell your house? First, take care of all those little cosmetic things that may have driven you crazy once, but now you hardly notice. Those minor repairs you kept meaning to get to, like leaky faucets, loose doorknobs, torn vinyl, and new paint.

Now that the easy stuff is done, it’s time to imagine your home through the eyes of prospective buyers. Time to de-clutter and clean out your garage. If you’ve lived in your home more than five years, unless you live a Spartan life, you’ve collected a lot of STUFF. Serious de-cluttering means removing about half your furniture, and throwing away all those unfinished projects in the garage.

If you’re really serious about selling your house, get a home inspection and a pest and fungus inspection. Then, you’ll be armed with the information you need to get your house in top shape, and you’ll be able to show prospective buyers that they won’t be hit with any nasty surprises once they enter escrow.

Having done all this great work, if you still want to sell your house, it’s time to prepare for a showing. First, you have to get people in the front door, so don’t forget about curb appeal. How does your house look from the street? Is the yard mowed? Did you trim the bushes? Are the garbage cans stowed? Did you rake the leaves?

Of course, you’ll want to clean your house, but this shouldn’t be your weekly “dust and vacuum” clean. This should be your mother-in-law is coming to visit “have the carpets and drapes professionally cleaned” clean. Because we all know the old adage, “Your dirt is dirtier than my dirt.”

Try to appeal to all the senses. Visually, be sure to pick up the toys, make the beds, do the dishes, empty the trash, and for heaven’s sake put the lid down on the commode. If you have views, be sure to open the window treatments so you can see those views! If your house is dark, turn on some lights. To make the house smell good, put a drop of vanilla on a light bulb, or use a commercial air freshener. If you like to bake, throw a batch of cookies in that morning and your house will smell wonderful. To appeal to people’s sense of sound, have soft music playing when they arrive.

If you move out of your home before you sell it, consider having a staging company furnish it for you. Most people find a furnished home more inviting than a vacant one. Staging companies are expensive, but can make a dramatic difference.

One of the things that also makes a huge difference to the marketability of your home is the community that it’s in. People often ask, “What is there to do in Mendocino County?” And so, I’m sharing information about the Skunk Train. It’s a wonderful local organization, and it needs our help. As a result of a tunnel slide, it must raise $300,000 fairly quickly. In case you’re interested in helping out, I thought I’d put this information in. Visit them online at or

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