Let’s be real.

For the vast majority of us our homes are NOT show worthy 99% of the time. Convenience, kids and pets are the usual culprits. In other words, life happens. And that’s a beautiful thing in and itself, but we’re talking about real estate, not the meaning of life.

So when it comes time to sell your home you ask, “What do I do?”

And here is what I say.

In an ideal world your home would be out out of the scene in a movie or magazine. Grand mansions and cozy cottages. But in reality we all have our independent abilities both in finances and  decorating, not to mention persistence. Because remember, you will have to keep up on your homes appearance right through until you close.

So with that here is #1 Curb Appeal

If they don’t like the outside, they wont go inside. First Impressions really are everything. Buyers wont even want to schedule an appointment in most cases if the first picture in the listing isn’t appealing. So clean it up! Don’t leave the trash can or water hose laying around. Pressure wash the siding and clean the windows.

Use neutral tones, have walk-able paths, a broken and loose entry is a tripping hazard and not appealing. And use clean looking landscaping where able. Hosta’s, mulch and a few annuals or colorful perennials will do the trick. A nice porch light fixture and clean looking front door. Paint any faded or chipped paint.

Doing anything off this list will improve your appearance and chances of selling quicker and for more money.

#2 Declutter, Clean up & Depersonalize

When someone is coming to look at your home they are interested in your home, not you and your belongings. So put them away. Take EVERYTHING off your refrigerator (except your Realtors magnet). Put away family photo’s. Hide the garbage can, the dogs toys and bowls, the tissues, toothpaste, and soap. AND DO the dishes. Remove anything in excess, including furniture, shoes, coats on the coat rack, etc.

Put away laundry and organize. It can be tough to hide everything, especially with kids and pets, so use space carefully. Ottomans with storage make great coffee tables, totes can be stacked neatly in the garage or basement.

Use this as a chance to thin out as well. You never realize what’s been accumulating until it’s time to move. Donate unused clothing to the Salvation Army, as well as unwanted furniture, etc. If you have enough belongings they’ll come get it. Habitat for Humanity is another great way to be rid of old but usable items.

Declutter your closets & keep your fridge clean, if it’s coming with the house people are going to want to see what kind of shape it’s in and open it.

Basically, just purge your home.

#3 Decor

If you’ve gotten through decluttering and the curb appeal homework, congrats! You’ve accomplished all the heavy work. This is the more relaxing part. You now get to dress up your house. But again remember, think neutral. Browns, blues and tans are common colors when used in the right shades.

Do everything in groups of three. Three colors per room, three items on the mantle place. 3 photo’s on the wall. Go online to get ideas if you aren’t the artsy type. Pinterest, google, better homes and gardens, etc are all great tools.


  • Frugal minded folk can find great deals at garage sales, craigslist, or the salvation army. Borrow unused furniture from friends and family if you need to.
  •  Cover up a beat up table with a neutral table cloth and use a vase of flowers to detract attention.
  •  Update old cabinets with new door knobs.
  • If you have a lot of painting to do try to use the same color as much as possible through to save money with a bulk 5 gallon bucket instead of individual 1 gallon amounts.


#4 Ambiance

Almost there! This is all about creating a sense of home. You’re trying to appeal to all the of the senses, sight, smell, feel, noise…

  • Keep your newly clean home CLEAN!
  • Make your house smell nice, use flowers, timed scent release devices or wax melters. But at the very least keep it from smelling unpleasant. If you’re a smoker or have pets considering getting your carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned. Additionally, use a dehumidifier in musty basements.
  • Noise- or the opposite of, actually. Have something neutral playing. Use the radio, Pandora or a CD. Something that can continually play for at least two hours in case you have back to back showings.
  • Feel- keep counters and doors clean, no smudgy hand prints, or wet nose marks. Area rugs over cold hardwoods in the winter time make people less worried about their feet and more interested in your home.
    • Another note. In the summertime  keep the house cool and in the winter vise versa. If a buyer is wishy-washy about your home having a cool reprieve from the heat outside might keep them in long enough to change their mind. It also creates a psychological idea that the house has provided a need to them, which subconsciously allows the buyer to like the house more.


If you’re able to do any one of these suggestions than you have successfully added appeal to your home. The world of real estate has become increasingly competitive when it comes to updated and appeal. So if you want the upper had do your homework and don’t be afraid to have your Realtor come over to give you advice on where and what to invest your money into. The only thing worse than an under invested property is an over-invested one.