The housing market has certainly been hot recently, but demand now appears to be slowing due to a combination of factors including rising mortgage rates and demographic changes. To sell your home right now, you may want to maximize your chances. This will involve prepping your property to make it look as appealing as possible, including smartening up the façade and yard and giving attention to aspects you may not see but potential buyers probably will.

We offer 10 top tips that will help you prep your home both inside and out. They range from simple jobs requiring little time or money to more major fixes that you should start thinking about as early as possible. Not only will you need to make all aspects of your home as smart as possible, but you should consider extra ideas that could make it appealing.

Maximize your home’s exterior

Potential homebuyers make snap judgements about your home based on its façade, whether they are looking at photos or passing it on the street. You should certainly consider giving the exterior a fresh coat of paint — browns lend to look old while brighter colors look newer — or cleaning it up if it is stone. Remember to fix any crumbling masonry first. Tatty windows and doors should be repaired or replaced, and of course don’t forget to check that the roof looks fine.

Washed Exterior Walls

Pay attention to key curb-appeal features

Homebuyers may pass over your home if it doesn’t grab their attention. So you can get a lot more visiting you if there are some features which make it stand out. For a wow factor, consider getting a new front door with brass handles and other hardware plus fancy leaded glass panels. Painting windows and doors to provide pops of color can be another way to increase curb appeal — however, if you have a homeowners’ association, check with them first that it’s allowed!

Home Facade with Painted Windows

Your home’s periphery is also center stage

Your home’s fencing and gates are often things you don’t really see as you come and go, but potential homebuyers will. Giving any woodwork a new coat of paint, or staining it to give a rich brown hue, is an easy way to make the periphery of your residence more attractive. First replace any panels that are missing or delipidated in a manner that matches with the rest of the fence. Metal gates should be aligned well and functioning smoothly — don’t even accept squeaks!

Staining Fence

Your yard says a lot about your home

Potential homebuyers are now on your property — don’t let your yard put them off. Combinations of untidy grass and earth look never look good, so consider a makeover. Laying paving stones is a big job, but gravel is a cheaper alternative that can look smart. If it’s the right time of year, you could sow grass, but it takes many weeks to grow. Alternatively, put down turf if the area is not too large. You can put garden tools in a 10’x10’ storage unit to keep things looking tidy.

Adding a Lawn to a Property

Attend to your greenery

Few people are unimpressed by trees, shrubs and flowers as they give a property an air of freshness. Even if gardening is not your favorite activity, it pays to tidy up your greenery. Hedges and shrubs — especially those fast-growing evergreens — can be trimmed to make the outside space look a lot neater. In addition, while planters and flowerpots provide much-appreciated colors in the right season, they should be swapped out if they have begun to look bedraggled.

Pruning Greenery

Clean all paving and tiling

You will probably have tiling somewhere on your property, whether on a patio or a verandah, on steps or on interior floors and walls. You may have gotten used to how it looks, but a clean-up is almost always a good idea. Warm soapy water — adding vinegar is often recommended — and a strong scrubbing brush may be enough for the job. Then there is paving that may cover large parts of your driveway or yard, and a pressure washer might help you with this.

Cleaning Tiles

Optimize interior lighting

Inside your home, to make things as attractive as possible, you have probably already removed unnecessary furniture. But home organizing experts think beyond this, not least about light. Consider switching out old lamps for more attractive candelabras or up-to-date pot lights that illuminate your space to the best effect. In addition, use the natural light coming through your windows, perhaps making the areas there more of a focus.

Optimize Interior Lighting

Get all décor up to date

Some decoration ideas looked good in their time, but ‘retro’ isn’t always appreciated! Both patterns and colors go out of date and should be changed before any potential homebuyers ever set foot in your home. White and light tones are usually appreciated by new homebuyers, and they make rooms look more spacious, especially with that lighting you have maximized. Consider employing a professional interior decorator to make the walls look as up-to-date as possible.

Changing Interior Decor

Don’t forget out-of-the-way areas

Any potential buyer is going to be interested all areas of your home, especially if they are looking for as much storage space as possible. These spaces could include a cupboard under the stairs, the basement and maybe even the attic. While a major renovation of these places will probably not be your priority, repairing obvious signs of neglect and applying a coat of paint could be advantageous. If you have a garage, you should see if you can smarten that up too.

Basement Renovation

Extra tidying ensures a welcoming look

One piece of advice often given when preparing to sell a home is to depersonalize it — potential buyers want to imagine their belongings in residence, not yours! This is not so easy when you still live there, but there are tricks. Carry out extra decluttering of personal items and put them in a 5’x5’ storage unit until you sell and move out. Try to keep anything you must leave in the home as neat and tidy as possible — even in cupboards, which potential buyers may open.

Tidying Up Clothes

You now have ideas that could help you to prepare your home for a faster and better sale. Many fixes are relatively cheap and easy to carry out, just requiring some paint, a scrubbing brush and a spare weekend. Others require more planning and maybe employing professionals to get the best result. But not only could you get a better sale, you could also speed up the process, and that means big savings in terms of both time and money. Get everything done in good time so you can make photos or videos of your property in prime condition, and so it is ready for when the first potential buyer walks through your gate.


Francis Chantree is a writer and editor for Yardi, focusing on real estate and lifestyle content. He is a former programmer and researcher who exchanged computer language for his greatest passion, human language! When not writing and proofreading text, he can be found gardening and reading.

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