Before placing your home on the market, there are a few very important things you must do to ensure you will receive top dollar for your home.  Above all, when you show you home, potential buyers must see themselves making this their home.  Luckily, there are a number of things to can do to help the buyer visualize themselves in your house. 

Clean Up

This goes without saying.  Before your home officially goes on the market, be sure to clean your house up and down.  Clean your kitchen counters and leave you bathroom sparkling clean.  Wipe up those nasty spots on the carpet and make sure your floors are mopped.  Also, be sure to dust off your furniture, window sills, picture frames, etc.  Some people are very turned off by a dusty house. 

Take a walk through your house and look at everything very closely.  If you see something that is even slightly dirty, clean it.  When you eventually start having showings, you do not want potential buyers to leave and only remember how dirty your house was.  A dirty home will drive down buyers and will decrease the possible asking price for your home. 


If there is any deferred maintenance in your house or yard, now is the time to get to work.  You will save money by doing the work yourself, but you must be aware of how much time, money, and frustration it will take to take to do these home improvements yourself.  If you home improvement projects are highly visible in your home, you will probably want to hire a professional unless you have a lot of experience.  It is fairly easy to find a good handyman that will help you with most of the random projects throughout your house.  Do not just look in the phone book and call the first handyman you can find.  Ask your friends and neighbors if they have used a good handyman.  This is always the best way to find good and reputable help. 

You do not have to fix all the major deficiencies in your home if you just cannot afford everything.  You must realize though, that all the important impending repairs will need to be disclosed before you sell your home.  Chances are, most good home inspectors will find much of these issues, so do not think you will be able to let these things go without someone finding out!


On many of the home design shows on HGTV and TLC, potential buyers almost always comment on the furniture, layout, and décor.  When people walk through your house, they try to visualize themselves living there.  Wow them with a good first impression.  When they leave from a showing, clutter should not be the first thing on their minds. 

To prevent this, you need to de-clutter!  If you have a bookshelf filled to the brim with books, remove some and replace them with cute little knickknacks.  Also be sure to take out any extra clothing and clutter from your closets.  Potential buyers will open up the closets to see how much storage your house has.  By removing clothes, your closets will actually look bigger. 

The point of de-cluttering is the make your house look larger.  Have you ever moved a piece of furniture and thought that the room looked bigger?  You will want to remove anything in your house that makes your rooms look smaller.  You might even want to take out that piece of furniture that you just moved…


It may be difficult to do, but you will want to take down most, if not all, of the family photos from your home.  When potential buyers enter the home, they want to visualize themselves living there.  With your personal photos still on the walls, it will make your house seem like your home

Depersonalizing will also serve another purpose—it will help you detach from what was once your home.  Chances are you have become emotionally attached to your home, so you might as well ease the transition by moving some of your personal items off the walls. 

Get Good Photos For Marketing Materials

More often than not your real estate agent will have a professional photographer come to your house to take photos.  First make sure that your agent sends over a professional.  Photos of your house should NOT be taken with a point and shoot camera.  Poor photographs will result in fewer showings and less interest.  A professional will photograph you home to make it look larger than it actually is.  Accept no less than a professional. 

When a photographer does come to take pictures, make sure your home is clean.  Remember though, their camera will not pick up dust on the furniture, but it will see the clutter in your house so be sure to de-clutter before they arrive.  It is also a good idea to remove as much off of your kitchen countertops as possible.  Take off the coffeemaker and microwave, and the toaster should to go.  Leave a few items to make the kitchen like a kitchen.  Removing these items will make you kitchen look bigger. 

Before each showing…

Hopefully, you house is garnering a lot of interest if you have taken all the above steps.  Now, that your house in on the market there are a few things you can do before each showing to make your house really sparkle.  First, start by doing a quick clean throughout your house.  Vacuum the carpets and try to step on them as little as possible.  Freshly vacuumed carpeting shows very nicely. 

If you have any air fresheners, turn them off.  Some potential buyers are very picky with their smells.  Try to make you house as smell neutral as possible.   However, if you feel a little motivated, bake a batch of cookies before the showing (just make sure you clean up afterwards).  The aroma of the cookies will elicit positive reactions and will be a welcome smell for any guest.  You could even leave out some of your cookies for the potential buyers to take with. 


Hopefully these tips will help you get top dollar for your home.  This article is just a starting point.  Be sure to get input and suggestions from a real estate professional to make sure your home will sell quickly and at or above market value.