How to prep a home for a top-dollar sale

A basic spruce-up makes your listing much more attractive

Many homebuyers prefer a turnkey home, ready for moving in. When looking at a home, buyers want to focus on what’s great, not what needs fixing or is in poor condition.

As a real estate agent, the better sale-prep advice you give homeowners, the smoother, and more successful, the home sale will go, and make you look good!

Sellers can do a lot to make sure their home shows well and generate better offers than homes in obvious need of TLC. The central idea in make-ready renovations is to take the attention off superficial problem areas that buyers might otherwise focus on.

Every negative adds up in the buyer’s mind, so it’s wise to do some basic updates and repairs before the home goes on the market.

Simple kitchen and bath improvements

While a complete kitchen or bath remodel may not be possible or practical – and may not give a full return on the investment – some updating of these rooms will go a long way in appealing to potential buyers.

In many neighborhoods upgraded and updated kitchens and baths are the norm and anything less will show negatively.

Some items to consider updating or renovating include:

  • Stove and refrigerator. If these are clearly old and in subpar condition, they should be replaced.
  • Kitchen faucet. Updating this is a nice touch that doesn’t have to cost a lot.
  • Main bathroom tile floor. Get it professionally cleaned and regrouted. If it’s in bad shape, replace it with new, basic tile. This will give it an attractive shine.
  • Bathroom faucet. Updating this is often a good choice.
  • Shower curtain, if applicable. Replace any shower curtains with new ones in a neutral style, or consider removing it altogether for a tidier appearance.

Floor first-aid

It should go without saying that carpets should be shampooed and in good condition. If the carpet looks worn and stained, the best choice is to simply replace it.

The same goes for kitchen flooring — if it’s in bad shape, new flooring is the way to go.

Depending on the situation, a new floor can often be installed right over the old one, which can mean less work and cost.

Any replacement flooring should be of neutral color and does not have to be top quality; the most important thing here is that it looks good and does not draw negative attention.

The great outdoors

Replace any missing or damaged fence boards outside. It may be obvious that they’ve been replaced, but that’s better than leaving the fence in bad shape.

Shrubs should be trimmed and kept neat, and weeds pulled. A thick (and quick!) application of bark mulch will help planting areas look clean and neat instead of a mess that the new owner will have to deal with.

Check around the exterior for any peeling paint or cracks that suggest larger problems if not corrected.

A buyer will have a better impression of a home that looks its best. After all, one of the first impressions you want a buyer to have is, “It looks like this home has been well taken care of.” So address the eyesores and let the home shine.


Find a local Pillar To Post home inspector for more information about make-ready inspections and other home inspection services here.