Selling your house can be a daunting task. So how can you speed up the process, you ask? By starting out on the right foot.

They say photos are worth a thousand words, and that is the truth! Make sure your house is in picture-perfect shape before having listing pictures taken. Once photos are taken, keep your house looking exactly like the pictures so potential buyers know what to expect. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help put you on the path to a sold sign.

Left side: the front of a house with a 3 car garage, green bushes and trees in the front. Right side: a wood timber house in the fall, neatly landscaped with tall grasses surrounding it.

Exterior: The exterior of your home tells potential buyers whether or not they should take a chance on your house.

  1. Power wash your siding, pull weeds, mow your lawn, spread fresh mulch in landscaping beds, plant flowers, hide the trash cans and put out an inviting welcome mat.
  2. If it is winter and you are dealing with snow, make sure your driveway and walkways are shoveled and salted.
  3. Clean the windows on the outside and inside! A little sparkle goes a long way.
  4. Hose off the driveway and pathways to get rid of any mud, gravel or residue. This keeps potential buyers and realtors from tracking dirt into your clean house.
  5. Have giant oil spots in your driveway from leaky vehicles? Check with your local automotive store for easy cleaning tips.

Interior: The moment people step foot into your house, they need to see themselves living there.

  1. Flooring: Take a look at your feet. Are you standing on worn, stained carpet? Or scratched and yellowed linoleum? Replace it. For carpet, buy a nicer pad and slightly cheaper carpet to not only stay within your budget but still give potential buyers a luxurious feel. If your carpet/flooring is slightly worn but still useable, consider putting a budget in the contract where the buyer can choose their own flooring/carpet prior to moving in. Steam clean any original carpet left behind.

    left photo: a bright living room with beige couches and a blue and cream rug. Right photo: a modern office with a large desk and built-in shelves with lighting. A large plant is in the corner.

  2. Furniture: Pack away mismatched furniture. Grandma’s rocking chair may be memorable for you, but buyers might disagree. Vacuum away the pet hair and cookie crumbs and consider spraying fabric freshener to get rid of any residual smells. Buying new throw pillows can help modernize older furniture.
  3. Walls: A fresh coat of paint goes a long way. Not only does it make your home smell better, but it also makes your home show better. Stick to neutrals like greige (gray + beige), off-whites, grays, tans etc. Make sure to patch any holes in the wall prior to painting. If you are the proud owner of wood-paneled walls, strongly consider painting them a light neutral color to make the room feel bigger and more modern.

    left photo: A modern grey kitchen, with lit cupboards, and a sleek metal hood. Right photo: a more classic kitchen with dark cabinets, green walls, and a green and cream tile backsplash.

  4. The Kitchen: Aim for clutter-free countertops. Pack away your cookbook collection and hide items like canisters, paper towel holders, dish drying stations, toasters and containers full of cooking utensils. Before taking listing photos, hide your used dishcloth, hand towel and tablecloth. Avoid cooking strong smelling foods prior to a showing.
  5. The Bathroom: A spotless bathroom is a must, but additional touches can make the difference. Buy a fresh set of white or neutral towels just for showings and listing photos. Drape the bathroom rug over the edge of the tub to show your honesty to the buyer about the condition of the flooring. Keep toiletries you’d normally have out in the open, such as shower gel and toothpaste, hidden neatly behind cabinet doors. If your bathroom is older, consider replacing stained grout, adding new shower doors, updating the lighting fixtures and buying a new toilet seat.

    left photo: an older bathroom with a claw-foot tub, nicely decorate. Right photo: a white modern bathroom with a soaking tub and a double vanity.

  6. The Bedroom: Make your bedroom a spa-like retreat. Stick to gender-neutral colors and décor and buy a white duvet cover for your current bedspread to give the room a crisp, clean look. Invest in some nice throw pillows to add a splash of color.
  7. The Living Room: Do away with personal photographs and décor sporting the family name. Packing away religious items can also help potential buyers feel more comfortable in your space. Keep remotes and video game controllers hidden. Pack away any movie or figurine collections.

    left photo: a living room with dark wood beams. Right photo: a living room with a cream rug and art on the walls

  8. Toys and Books: Cut the number of toys and books in your house in half, pack away one half and give the other half a home via bins or bookshelves.
  9. Artwork: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so potential buyers might not share your passion for bold artwork. If your artwork is part of a common theme throughout your home, consider keeping it, but if it’s in one or two rooms, take it down and keep a neutral canvas in those areas.
  10. Closets: Everything in your home is fair game to look at, including your closets. Tidy them up and keep them organized! Pack away excess clothing, towels, bedsheets and toiletries to give the closets a larger look and feel.

    left photo: a child's bedroom with a rocking-sheep, right photo: an adult bedroom with wood floors and a rug

  11. Garage: Make sure your garage can fit the number of cars it has spots for. Pack up the tools and equipment you won’t need for a while. Leave behind the lawn mower (or a snow shovel) to keep up with the house’s exterior appearance and the tools you’ll need to break down furniture when you move.
  12. Laundry Room: Don’t be the house with a pair of underwear hanging out on the laundry room floor. Clean soap residue off the washer and clear out the lint trap of the dryer. Preferably make sure your laundry is done before showing a house, but if necessary, throw it in the dryer out of sight, out of mind. For listing pictures, arrange your detergent and laundry items in bins or baskets.
  13. Basement: Basements are often the most neglected spaces of the home. They can become musty, dark dungeons or the catch-all for clutter. Make sure your window coverings let natural light in and the room looks like it has a clear purpose (is it a game room, a movie theater, a kid’s play area?) Consider using an air freshener plug-in with a light, clean scent to keep the space fresh.

    left photo: a cover deck, right photo: a stone patio with a fountain

  14. Deck/Backyard: Spruce up your deck with a fresh coat of stain. If your deck is beyond sprucing, consider replacing it. Potted plants and bright chair cushions add a homey feel. Make sure trees and shrubs are trimmed and do not pose hazards to the exterior of the house or to kids’ play areas.
  15. Storage Rooms: If you are lucky enough to have a storage room, this is a huge selling point for buyers. While it’s okay to use your storage room for its exact purpose, make it palatable. Organize and clearly label boxes and bins, keep clutter up off the floor on shelves and eliminate enough boxes to give buyers the impression the room is still big enough to store their belongings, too. Don’t forget to clear away any cobwebs or dust bunnies while you’re at it!

We hope these tips jumpstart your path to a sold house!


No matter what stage of life you’re in, P.J. Morgan Real Estate is here for you. We offer commercial salesleasing, and property management; residential salesleasing and property managementbusiness brokerage and real estate auction services. We’re with you for life.



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