The Serious Seller

Updated: Dec 28, 2018

We do not live in our homes the same way we try to sell them. The psychology behind selling is to minimize the number of negative impressions a buyer experiences while walking through your home. A nail sticking out of the wall, a chip in the paint, a dirty smell… all of these cause negative impressions. The object is to be the house with the least amount of those negative impressions. The buyer will walk away with an overall sense of satisfaction. Typically when you ask buyers what they loved about a home, they rarely remember certain amenities or attributes. They do not buy a home solely because it has a TV on the patio. It is usually something like “it just felt like home” or “I don’t know I just really like it.” In other words, we want the overall feeling of your home to be that of a beautiful hotel or spa.

House Preparation Checklist

  • new mulch (do not allow to come in contact with siding)

  • mow & weed

  • clean windows inside and out

  • power wash exterior (especially anywhere with green algae/moss buildup) and driveway

  • clean gutters

  • check downspouts to ensure attached and pointing away from the house

  • trim trees and bushes back from foundation, roof, and siding

  • seal cracks in the driveway

  • seal any exposed nails on the roof and seal around windows (common inspection items)

  • clean light switch plates, doors (especially around handles), trim, and baseboards

  • putty nail holes and touch up paint on walls, doors, trim, baseboards and ceiling

  • shampoo carpet

  • kitchen: put appliances rarely used away, change drip pans in the stove (line with foil for easy cleaning going forward), clean oven, clear off counters

  • bathrooms: remove toothbrush holders, personal cleaning products, (leave hand soap and maybe one or two decorative pieces). clean grout in showers/tubs

  • bedrooms: remove seasonal clothes and clear all unnecessary items out of closets. want them to appear larger

  • repair any plumbing leaks

  • tighten door handles and hardware throughout the house

  • clean all light fixtures and replace with higher wattage but applicable bulbs

  • clean ceiling fans

  • clean out the garage and put the excess in storage

  • vacuum air vents/returns

  • remove personal photos

  • clear everything off the front of the fridge

  • re-caulk where applicable

  • open all window shades/blinds/curtains

  • find a safe place for all valuables

  • air fresheners or plug-ins are great and cheap, use same smell throughout. (baked goods and foods are best)


  • MOST IMPORTANT – CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN like you have never cleaned before!

  • 2nd MOST IMPORTANT – remove excess/clutter: wall hangings, furniture, and knick-knacks (consider temporary storage unit if needed). Buyers have a tough time looking past your things and seeing the home, so try to make it easier for them!

Very rarely will I encourage a client to put money into a home unless it adds to the structural integrity. HOWEVER, there are some cheap little tricks you can do that will help. Something as simple as putting small stones in your bathroom sink can create this ultra luxurious spa-like feeling to a buyer for a couple of bucks. For the overachieving seller, Pinterest is your friend for these ideas.