Real Estate Real Estate

5 Things to Do Now to Sell Your Home This Year

Lauren Ward  |  June 19, 2020

No need for an entire home renovation to get your house from listed to sold. This five-item to-do list will ensure you’re ready to close the deal.

Pandemic or not, for some, the home showings must go on. There are still people who have to buy or sell a home due to job changes or life events. And the real estate industry has found ways to conduct business (mostly thanks to technology). 

One thing that hasn’t changed: If you’re a seller, you still need to put in some elbow grease to get top dollar for your listing and sailing through a headache-free closing, says Joseph Lawson, manager of the Cabell Childress Group in Richmond, Virginia: Giving your home the most polished look will pay off big when buyers feel confident the home is well maintained.”

Following these five steps now can put you on the fast track to listing your home and avoid getting burned out before you even move.

Give Yourself Time

Preparing your home to go on the market isn’t a one-weekend project, so give yourself time to make updates without getting overwhelmed. Lawson recommends starting the process at least one month in advance of your target list date, if not a full eight weeks ahead of when you want to sell your home. Also start having conversations with your real estate agent early on. He or she can help you pinpoint the best areas to spend your time and money based on your specific market.

Get On Top of General Maintenance

Basic maintenance can go a long way in assuring buyers they’re making a good investment in your home. Nathan Garrett, a real estate agent with Garretts Realty Group in Oldham County, Kentucky, recommends cleaning your gutters and servicing your HVAC. “Also make sure there are no faucets leaking, and replace old caulking around the windows,” he adds.

Make Simple Updates Inside

Implementing just a few minor changes inside your home can make a large impact with buyers without breaking the bank. A fresh coat of paint, for example, goes a long way in neutralizing the space and covering up any excessive nail holes in the walls. For homes with carpet, get it cleaned to remove any stains or odors. Also consider updating any lighting that looks outdated. If that’s out of your budget, Garrett recommends at least replacing low wattage light bulbs with brighter bulbs to help add more light in each room. 

Stage Your Home with Several Simple Items

You don’t have to hire a company to successfully stage your home for photographs or video tours. Sherry Petersik, author and blogger at and professional home stager, says DIY staging is completely doable for homeowners. “People underestimate editing,” she says. Put things away in your attic or garage to open up the space and showcase your home’s star features, such as a fireplace or crown moulding.

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Petersik also advises investing in three new items to help stage and sell your home: a set of crisp white towels, a few vases, and a white duvet cover for the master bedroom. Don’t use the new towels; instead, swap them out for your old ones anytime a showing is scheduled. Grab some green yard clippings from outside for the vases and place them in the kitchen and bathrooms. “A white duvet always looks good with all wall colors,” Petersik says.

Create a Game Plan for Showings

Once your house is on the market, make it easy to show regularly by implementing a preparation plan. “My favorite secret weapon is a plastic laundry basket with a printed list taped to the bottom,” Petersik says. On the list, include everything you want to remove when a showing is scheduled — even if it’s a virtual tour — such as old towels or clutter on the kitchen and bathroom counters. Stash the basket in your car, then bring it back in and putt each item back once the coast is clear.

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