Top 21 Things To Do Before Putting Your Home On The Market


Local realtors weigh in on what you should know.

Beautiful, Newly Built Luxury Home Exterior

1. Depersonalize your home
Limit the number of photos and personal trinkets you have around the house so that buyers can imagine themselves in the space. —Justine Story, Dorsey Alston Realty

2. Elevate your outdoor space
A few well-placed essentials like colorful plant containers or new patio chairs with complementary cushions can take an outdoor area from stale to stylish. —Collette McDonald, Collette McDonald & Associates

3. Photograph your home’s exterior every season
Show off your landscape at its best. If a buyer is viewing your home in the winter, whip out a photo to help visualize how beautiful it looks in the spring, summer and fall. —Scott McGillivray, host of the DIY Network’s “Buyers Bootcamp with Scott McGillivray”

4. Protect your valuables
Put your precious wares in a safe or take them with you when it comes time to show your home. Small items like jewelry and heirlooms are especially easy to grab and remove from the residence. —Bart Lewis, Ansley Atlanta Real Estate

5. Keep your renovations within your home’s style
For example, if your home is a 1920s bungalow, try to stick to classic, neutral choices, and period moldings. 
—Linda Lehsten, Keller Knapp Realty

6. Stage your home
First impressions are everything! Hire a home stager to showcase your residence’s special features and décor.
—Laura Dew, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty

7. Make a list and check it twice
Each time your home is shown, be sure to go over your pre-showing checklist before you leave the house. Include tasks such as making up the beds, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, taking the trash out, and putting away all toys.
—Meredith Mansfield Durrett, Harry Norman Realtors

8. Plant, plant, plant!
Planting shrubs, trees, and blossoming flowers adds as much for resale value as it does for the senses.
—Wendy Bunch, RE/MAX PURE

9. Get a pre-inspection
Taking this step shows buyers how serious you are about selling. It also prevents nasty surprises and allows you to make repairs ahead of time, which can up your home’s value. —Cheryl Bonno, Transitions Real Estate

10. Take a hint from your neighbors
Follow the success of the top-dollar sale down the street. Find out what piqued buyer interest. The investment in curb appeal, new appliances, staging or something else could change the game. —Lee Taylor, Keller Williams Realty

11. Clear out the closets
When you have clothes and clutter packed to the ceiling and covering the floors, you give the illusion that your home doesn’t have enough storage space. And since closet space is significant to buyers, you’ll want to showcase a clean one.
—Caroline DeSantis, Keller Williams First Atlanta

12. Set the scene with scent
Smell is strongly linked with memory so make sure your place leaves the right impression. Have neutral-smelling candles, essential oils, or freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to wow guests when they walk in. 
—Cristina Devallescar Stallworth, Casas Buy Cristina with Keller Williams

13. Lighten up
Buyers love bright open spaces. At a minimal cost, you can add in a few up-to-date light fixtures and bring out the best in your home. —Andrea Cueny, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty

14. Get the word out
Potential homebuyers can find out that your place is for sale through a variety of methods—digital outreach, yard signage, and by having several open houses.—Jeremy Norman, Norman & Associates Real Estate Solutions

15. Fix potential hazards
Uneven sidewalks, loose carpeting, and creaky stairs are all potentially dangerous to those touring your home. Protect yourself from lawsuits by fixing these issues before your first open house.—Joshua Jarvis, Jarvis Team Realty

16. The devil’s in the details
Don’t overlook small paint touch-ups, leaky faucets, busted window screens, or cluttered gutters. Taking care of these particulars can add up to a pristine overall look. —Becky Morris, Beacham & Company Realtors

17. Relocate pets and their belongings
Many people have pet allergies and their smell isn’t what you want associated with your space. Remove all traces of your furry friends and consider boarding them during open houses. —Martin Archacki, The Atlanta Homes Team

18. Give a purpose to each room
Even if you have an empty bonus room, give it an identity (home office, playroom, etc.) so buyers see it as an addition, not just a vacant room. —Lee Ann Wynns, Dorsey Alston

19. Make it pop
A painted front door is especially trendy right now and a great way to draw buyers in. Stick with interesting but subdued colors like plum, light green, or crimson. —Connor McCormick, Keller Williams, North Atlanta

20. Go high-tech
According to “Consumer Reports,” most potential homebuyers want smart-home tech such as thermostats, smoke detectors and home security cameras preinstalled.

21. Hire a professional realtor
Since getting your home ready to sell can be a time-intensive process, let a licensed Georgia realtor like one of the above, help you do what is best for you. Happy moving!

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