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How To Get Your House Ready To Sell

March 09, 2024 9-minute read

Author: Victoria Araj


Getting ready to sell your home? If you want it to sell for as much as possible, there are steps you can take before putting it on the market to increase its value. Although it may take a little work, research and time to get the best offers, our easy-to-follow guide can help you get more out of your upcoming sale. We’ll give you six steps for preparing your home for the sale, as well as four tips for the selling process.

6 Steps To Get Your House Ready To Sell

Bringing in only the most serious buyers and highest-level offers can often be the most difficult part of selling your home. Follow these tips to make the process go more smoothly, and don’t forget to consult a real estate professional before you make any moves.

1. Understand Your Home’s Value

Your first step should be to determine what your home is actually worth. You’ve likely made a lot of great memories in your home. Maybe you grew up in it, raised a family in it or have spent precious time there with friends and family.

With so many memories attached to your home, it can be easy to believe that your home is worth more than it actually is. A common mistake that homeowners make when they sell their home is overvaluing it and pricing it too high.

A local real estate professional can help you determine how to price your home. They’ll consider recent home sales and current market conditions to figure out a good price point to attract buyers and bring in offers.

2. Find The Right Listing Agent

A great listing agent is an invaluable asset when you sell your home. Listing agents not only handle your listing agreement; they also help you create your battle plan to promote and then show and sell your home. Additionally, a listing agent will make sure your home doesn’t spend too much time on the market.

If you need help finding a listing agent, Rocket HomesSM1, 2 can connect you with local agents in your area. Agents who work with Rocket Homes have proven success in their local markets and can help you decide the next best steps in the selling process.

3. Depersonalize And Declutter Your Space

Sure, you may love that pink bedroom, but will your buyer? Removing distinctive personal touches like bright paint and mementos allows buyers to envision themselves in your home. This often leads to a higher selling price and less time spent on the market. Here are some additional tips:

  • Make your design aesthetic as neutral as possible.
  • Remove unusual paint and wallpaper colors, and pack up family photos.
  • Ask a friend to point out any taste-specific decorations so you can remove them.
  • Redecorate with as much generic appeal as possible; think neutral wall colors and modern furniture.

This process should also include a thorough decluttering. Remove unnecessary appliances, furniture and toys from view when buyers are touring your property. Before a house showing, clear the kitchen counters and tidy up common areas and bedrooms. Open your curtains or shades to allow light in. Keep your kids’ toys hidden or in a playroom until potential buyers leave.

4. Make Minor Repairs And Updates

A home that’s in great condition will help you get a higher offer. Although repairs might not be required, they’ll give you better negotiating power and help you avoid the headache of having to quickly fix something to close the sale. Here are some repairs and updates you should consider when you’re getting ready to sell:

  • Paint: Touching up paint is one of the cheapest and easiest home repairs you can make. Take a look around your home for paint that needs to be updated or retouched.

  • Kitchen appliances: Buyers will expect your major appliances to work. If your oven, stove or dishwasher doesn’t work or isn’t in good shape, you should repair it before you show your home. Additionally, some buyers may be expecting you to have Energy Star-certified appliances, so consider the benefits of installing some.

  • Bathroom fixtures: Bathrooms and kitchens are some of the most important rooms in the home. Clean, updated bathrooms are an absolute must. If any of the plumbing is leaky, schedule necessary repairs immediately. Consider installing WaterSense fixtures, too, to pique the interest of those interested in energy-efficient homes.

  • Lighting: Lighting can be a powerful asset when you sell your home – because it can change how a room looks. If your light fixtures aren’t updated or energy-efficient, they can make your home look older and smaller. Soft white LED light bulbs are more affordable than ever before, and can make your home feel cozier than fluorescent lights.

  • Roofing: Roofing problems can be expensive to repair. A roof with leaks or missing shingles is likely to scare away many buyers. If you have the money to repair the roof, it’s best to do so before you list your home. If you don’t have the money, you can still list your home, but make sure you disclose your roof’s condition to the buyer well before closing.

5. Touch Up Your Home’s Exterior

Your home’s exterior is the first thing buyers see, so take some time to make sure you’re up to date on exterior maintenance. Here are some exterior items you can tackle before selling your home:

  • Clean your gutters out and wash your home’s siding.
  • Mow your lawn, remove weeds and prune bushes.
  • If your home has a fence, inspect it for missing panels and peeling paint.
  • If you have a pool, fish out leaves, toys and branches before buyers visit.
  • Clean and clear your sidewalk and any other paths on your property.
  • If your front door has peeling paint, a fresh coat will instantly update and modernize it.

Finally, consider adding curb appeal by putting planters on either side of your front door or adding a new, clean welcome mat to help potential buyers feel at home.

6. Get Rid Of Odors

You might not notice the pet smells in your home because you’ve gotten used to them. And even though these issues are easily fixable, they can be a turn-off for buyers. It’s best to hide any litter boxes and use an air freshener before open houses and showings. Wash or replace pet beds and toys to fight bad odors, and set up a cleaning schedule to keep pet hair at bay.

If you have an open house or showing coming up, ask a friend or family member to watch your pet while buyers are in your home. If that’s not possible, make sure your pet is in its crate, your backyard or otherwise out of the way when you show your home.

Even if you don’t have pets, there are odors to watch out for, including:

  • A musty smell, which could make buyers leery of mold or mildew.
  • Odors from your sink or garbage disposal that may indicate a problem with under-the-sink plumbing.
  • The smell of rotten eggs or sulfur in your kitchen, which may indicate you may lack required traps or vents; this problem can be fixed with the help of a plumber.

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4 Tips For Selling Your House

As you begin working on increasing the value of your property, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the process of putting your home on the market. Let’s review the basic steps you’ll need to take to sell your house.

1. Know Which Housing Indicators Matter

Make sure you understand the true value of your home before you put it on the market. A big part of this is understanding the housing indicators that determine real estate prices within your market. A higher rate of home sales, for instance, means there are more buyers competing for real estate in your area. Similarly, a low housing supply in your area will increase home buyer competition and allow you to raise the price on your property. A real estate agent can help you understand all of these factors and decide when to list and how much to ask for your home, not to mention coordinate showings.

2. Properly Advertise Your Home

To get the best offer on your home, you’ll need to do some proper advertising. If you want to handle it all on your own, you can list on real estate sites like Rocket Homes. Otherwise, your real estate agent will list your property and advertise it for you, if need be. Once you get interested buyers, the real estate agent can arrange showings.

3. Negotiate The Purchase Price

Buyers who like your home will submit offers. Don’t be too hasty by accepting the first offer that comes across your desk! Negotiating is an expected part of the process. Feel free to negotiate with interested buyers until you reach an agreement that works for both of you. This is another area in which a good real estate agent can offer invaluable advice.

4. Don’t Forget To Finalize The Details

If the buyer is purchasing the home with a mortgage, they’ll need to take a few steps to finalize the details. Your home will likely be appraised, and the buyer may conduct a home inspection to make sure there are no major problems (whether they’re getting a mortgage or not). There may be further negotiations if the home appraises low or if repairs are needed.

The Bottom Line: Learn More And Make Your Next Move

Getting your home ready to sell isn’t just a matter of putting a “For Sale” sign on your lawn. You’ll need to follow certain steps to bring in the best offers. It’s important to understand how much your home is worth, find the right listing agent, depersonalize and declutter your space and decide which home repairs to make. Finally, you should pay special attention to your home’s exterior – it’s the first thing people see when they view your home.

Ready to move to a new home? The first step you need to take is to get preapproval and find out how much house you can afford. Get approved with Rocket Mortgage® and get started on your home buying process today.

1 Rocket HomesSM and the Rocket HomesSM logo are service marks licensed to Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC. Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Main office located in Detroit, MI. Contact: (888) 468-4735 

For Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC license numbers, visit

CA BRE #01804478

2 Rocket Mortgage® and Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC are separate operating subsidiaries of Rock Holdings Inc. Each company is a separate legal entity operated and managed through its own management and governance structure as required by its state of incorporation, and applicable legal and regulatory requirements.

Victoria Araj

Victoria Araj is a Section Editor for Rocket Mortgage and held roles in mortgage banking, public relations and more in her 15+ years with the company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in political science from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan.