Guide to Prepare You to Sell Your Home

Real Estate

A guide to selling our home logo

Tips to prepare for the photographer

Some of these items may not apply to your home but it’s important for the listing photography to show the property to its full potential. We want that first impression to inspire desire for potential home buyers, we want them to view the pictures on the internet and want to come step into your home! These photos are the bait that lures the buyers to your home.

First, grab a pen and paper and take a walk through your home room by room. Imagine you are seeing it for the first time. What do you notice first? Clutter in a corner? A paint color that is not generally appealing? It is really important for you to separate yourself from the house at this point. You now need to view your home as a product.

Make a “to do” list for each room. Evaluate the following:

Check Mark IconWhat is not working in the space? What doesn't look right?

Check Mark IconWhat is the focal point of the room and is it being emphasized or hidden?

Check Mark IconWhat is the purpose of the room? Is it easily defined or is it a catch all room like office / gym / guest room? It is best to show the room with only one function.

Check Mark IconClutter: Are all flat surfaces covered with stuff? Do you have room to move around the furniture without bumping in to anything? Does the room feel crowded or airy?

Check Mark IconCrowded closets: What is the condition of your closets? Are they disorganized? Overcrowded? Do they need to be put on your to do list? Closets look best half full, not bursting!

Check Mark IconIs there ample lighting in the room? Natural light? Throw open the curtains and let the light in. See how it changes the feel of the room.

Check Mark IconTake note of the conditions of the walls. Do they need paint or repair? Is the color outdated, bright or in any way overwhelming?

Check Mark IconIs the flooring in need of repair, replacing or deep cleaning?

Now that you have taken an objective look at your home, lay out your plan task by task in a way that you will find easy to follow. The following phases outlines sensible order for projects.

If you are short on time, focus on the basics of decluttering and cleaning, make sure each room is well lit, and follow some of the tips for furniture placement included below.

Phase 1: Declutter, Neutralize, Pre-Pack

This is a time consuming, but essential part of the staging process, especially if you have lived in the home for many years or have a large accumulation of "stuff.“

Removing clutter requires more than just clearing surfaces of excess nick-knacks, books and papers. Clutter is anything that contributes to a chaotic, busy feeling in a room, and that can include excess furniture, wall art, area rugs, kitchen gadgets and paper work.


Now is the time to take your favorite collections and pack them up, along with all of your personal photographs (yes, all of them). Remove all hobby related clutter. Why? When a buyer walks into your home, you want them to see themselves there - not you and your family. You don't want the possible buyer to wonder about the people who live in the house. You want them to picture themselves in the space.


Clear all counter tops of gadgets, cookbooks and appliances that aren't used daily. It is acceptable to leave out your coffee maker and toaster, but store the food processor, mixer, blender, cooking tools and books somewhere out of sight. It is best to pack as much as you can at this point. It will save you time later.

Summary of personal items to pack: personal photos, albums, jewelry, toiletries (the bare essentials can be stowed under the sink -but not out in the open for all to see), hobby related items, and anything that could be offensive to the buyer. Anything that tells too much about you! Musical instruments (unless there is an extra room dedicated to music, but few buyers will be interested in having their own music room). Do not leave out expensive collectibles to try to impress buyers.


If you have children, then you know that keeping their rooms organized can be a full-time job. Have them help. Pack up as many toys as they can do without. Assure them that they will have them all again soon in their new home. Organize the space. Utilize the space under the bed for storage of remaining toys. Sort through clothing and store or give away any items that are no longer needed.



Phase 2: Cleaning and Repairs
All of the clutter is cleared out and some of the extra furniture has been removed. Now you may notice that some walls could use fresh paint and the floors may need repairs. Now is the time to do it.

There as some small improvement that you can do at this point that will yield large returns, according to a 2018 REALTOR Survey.

Check Mark IconPainting Interior: average return: 34% (average spent $2,000)

Check Mark IconFloor repair: average return: 50% (average spent $2,500)

Check Mark IconReplace Carpeting: average return 54% (average spent $2,600)

Check Mark IconUpdate Lights/Fixtures: average return 769% (average spent $390)

Check Mark IconCleaning and De-Clutter: average return 594% (average spent $410)

Check Mark IconStaging: average return 894% (average spent $550): HUGE IMPACT!!

Clean every inch of your home meticulously or pay someone to do it for you. A home that is sparkling clean gives the impression of a well-cared for home all around. If your home is less than immaculate, it could give the impression that you let things go and that could include home repair and maintenance. It may make a buyer suspicious of the property.

Pay extra attention to the kitchen. Clean and organize cabinets.

Clean all windows inside and out, to allow sunlight to flow through the house. Consider having the exterior power washed if necessary. This will make your photos really stand out.

Repairing minor problems can make a big difference in the sale price of your home, as can small improvements. Be sure to repair any cracks in walls, scratches in the floors or hire a handy man to take care of these repairs.


Phase 3: Paint
It is your choice whether or not to paint, and you may be thinking why spend the money on a place that I am leaving? Studies show that painting your home (making it move in ready) increases the sales price and may expedite the sale.

Choosing paint colors is an immensely important task when you are preparing your home to sell. Take into account your target audience and go from there. Consider the function of each room. Children's rooms can still have color, but subtle versions (white with a hint of color) like pink, blue or yellow are best.

Neutrals are the rule when home staging, but that doesn't mean white in every room.

Now think about the following when choosing colors:

Check Mark Icon How will the lighting work with this color?

Check Mark Icon Will this color look right with the existing window treatments?

Check Mark Icon Are you trying to warm up or cool down the room?

Check Mark Icon Are you trying to make it look light and airy or warm and cozy?

Choosing the same color for several rooms will save you time and money. There will be less excess, and the painter (even if it is you) will not have to stop to clean brushes and rollers as often. Depending on lighting, the same color may look different from room to room. This will also take the guess work away from figuring out if these colors work together and give the home a unified look.

When choosing colors for the basement, and even the garage, you want to consider warming up these otherwise cold spaces. Warmer neutral colors work well. You can also paint unfinished concrete floors for cleaner look.


Phase 4: Arranging Furniture and Lighting
This step is key, and for many people the most difficult. If you don't have an eye for what really works in a room, call in a professional at The Captain Dan & Kylie Team.

In the picture to the right we have an illustration of a conversation area with a clear, uncluttered space and a defined focal point. Bring your furniture close enough together to create a comfortable conversation area, giving everyone access to the table. This gives a feeling of warmth.

Check Mark Icon Hang pictures / art work at eye level. If you are using it as the focal point in the room, be sure it is the appropriate size for the space.

Check Mark Icon In the bedrooms, the bed /headboard often works as the focal point. Place the bed in the room leaving space to walk around three sides.

Check Mark Icon Accessorize in groups of three. This is an appealing way to display accessories on a table or dresser.

Check Mark Icon Keep all areas well lit. Add lamps if necessary.

Check Mark Icon Open window treatments allowing natural light in the home.

Check Mark Icon Help buyers feel welcome by creating an easy flow from room to room.

Check Mark Icon Place the largest piece of furniture first, and work around that piece.

Check Mark Icon Balance furniture in the room. For example, a sofa can be balanced by an armchair on either side.

Check Mark Icon Don't be afraid to float the furniture away from walls. If you have the space it will accentuate the available square footage.

Check Mark Icon Keep bookshelves well organized. Organize the books by size, remove any excess. Keep ¼ of the shelves clear to avoid a cluttered look.


Phase 5: The Exterior
Go outside and take a look around using that critical eye you developed in the beginning of your home staging process. How well kept is your yard? Is there shrubbery blocking the windows? Are all walkways clean and tidy? Is the driveway clean? Are there toys strewn around the yard?

Check Mark Icon Remove any outdoor clutter including empty flower pots, gardening tools, toys and bikes.

Check Mark Icon Keep all shrubbery and lawns neat and trimmed.

Check Mark Icon Remember to remove any extra vehicles form your driveway.

Check Mark Icon Consider painting the front door and trim on the house for a quick and inexpensive update.