7 Little-To-No-Cost Ways to Prepare Your Home to Sell

Posted by Laine Smith on 2/18/17 10:03 AM

Topics: Home Ownership

When it comes time to sell a home, most homeowners have a common goal: sell above list price and sell quickly. Getting there depends on your area’s real estate market, as well as the degree to which you prepare your home for the market. We’ve compiled a list of things that have a zero-to-little price tag that will help get your home ready to hit the market.



Clear the Clutter

The rule of thumb is to remove at least 30 percent of your belongings. Less stuff equals more space, and potential homebuyers will want to look everywhere from kitchen cupboards and linen closets to storage spaces and bedroom closets. Start by:

  • Completely clearing kitchen counters. Storing countertop appliances gives the appearance of more workspace in the kitchen.
  • Go through bedroom and linen closets. Remove out-of-season clothing, shoes, and linens and store off-sight.
  • Clear out your own personal clutter. Whether you’ve got a drawer stashed with junk mail or a stack of magazines and books sitting by your bed


While you want your home to seem cozy and lived-in, you need to remember that you’re selling your home and not your items. De-personalizing you home is a must. If you have a lot of memorabilia collections, keepsakes and family photos serving as home décor, they need to be packed away so prospective homebuyers can picture themselves living in your space.

Deep Clean

There’s clean and selling-your-home-clean. From your shower vent cover and oven to your cabinetry and flooring, every nook and cranny of your home should be deep cleaned, dusted, wiped down, polished, organized, etc. If a home is clean, many homebuyers assume other unseen parts of the home are well cared for to.

Check out our spring-cleaning checklist to get you started. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the task, you might consider hiring a professional cleaning service which ranges from $50 to $150 for two hours, according to Home Advisor.

Stage to Sell

Staging your home means to arrange it to appeal to the broadest group of potential homebuyers. Some staging tips include:

  • Floating your furniture. Sofas and chairs should be placed in conversational groupings, rather than having the TV as a room’s focal point.
  • Pull furniture away from walls. This applies specifically to living room furniture. It’s a common misconception that an open space in the middle of the room creates the feel of a larger room, but in reality, it creates an awkward flow and sizes a room down.
  • Create a spa-like bathroom. Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Think clean, crisp and clutter-free. Buy fresh white towels to set out before showings and tuck away anything you normally store on your vanity like cosmetics, hair necessities and toothbrushes.

For more DIY home staging ideas, see our do’s and don’ts here.

To the Curb

First impressions are everything when it comes to selling your home. Take a step back and look at your home from the curb. Are there any eyesores? What needs some attention? At the very least, do some yard maintenance, power-wash your sidewalks and driveway, and wash your windows, interior and exterior, as well as the screens.

If your home’s exterior is feeling a little “blah”, consider investing in budget upgrades like painting the front door, updating your house numbers and creating symmetry around your entryway with potted plants. See more curb appeal ideas here.


Paint is the easiest way to transform an entire space, but if you already have a pretty neutral interior color scheme, this step may not apply to your selling to-do list. Homebuyers want to enter a prospective home that doesn’t need to be neutralized on move-in day. Bottom line, not every wall in your home needs to be beige or white but you also don’t want your home to be remembered as the one with the lime green bedroom.

Brighten Up

Not all showings happen during the daytime so home sellers need to rely on proper lighting to showcase their home’s features. Your real estate agent will likely tell you to have all interior lights on for a showing, so go through your home and see which rooms are lacking. Layered lighting, which includes ambient, accent and task fixtures, gets you the best effect.

If a room is poorly lit, you can likely move around some floor lamps and table lamps to get your desired effect. For more tips on interior lighting, see our lighting guide here.

For more ways to prepare to sell your home, subscribe to our blog. If you’re buying a home again, download our free Upsizing and Downsizing Guide for everything you need to know about the process.

Download: Upsizing/Downsizing Guide

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