Matthew Bristow

Important tips for when you’re preparing to list your home

Clean & Declutter

Cleaning and decluttering your home is hands down the most important aspect of listing preparation when you’re getting ready to sell your home. 

Here’s a few areas to focus on:

  1. Kitchen: Clear off your countertops, dining tables (unless staged appropriately), as well as the exterior of your refrigerator. Minimizing the amount of distractions will be key to optimal presentation both online and during showings.
  2. Bedrooms: Minimize the amount of furniture and clutter in your bedrooms to maximize the perceived space in the room. Clear off your nightstand(s), top of your dresser(s) and please, please, please make your bed. These things seem small, but they’re invaluable when it comes to your home’s presentation.
  3. Bathrooms: Clear of all countertops in your bathroom(s) and remove any shampoo, conditioner and soap from your shower.
  4. Living Area(s): Minimize, minimize, minimize. When you’re selling your home, you want to make every room look and feel as big as possible. Hide your remote controls, magazines, or any clutter that’s not adding presentation value to your main living areas in your home.
  5. Basement: Finished portions of your basement? Refer to the appropriate area above. Storage areas? This is where you can throw all of that clutter that you’re removing from every other room in the house. Most realtors won’t photograph the storage areas of your basement making it an ideal spot to stash away all of the clutter that doesn’t need to be in the listing photos.

Curb Appeal

First impressions are important, but don’t break the bank. Cleaning up your front yard, replacing any rotting wood on the exterior of your home, simple paint touch-ups and some fresh mulch (weather permitting) will do wonders for your bottom line and cost very little relative to the return on your investment.


Staging does not inherently mean professionally staged with third party furniture, decor, etc. In fact, that type of staging is rarely necessary in the market that we’re experiencing today.

Finding an experienced listing agent that can give you tips, advice and direction to effectively stage your home with your current furniture and decor will be all that’s necessary. 

The ultimate goal of staging is to do two things:

  1. Present potential home buyers with a functional layout to envision how their own furniture would look and fit into the home.
  2. Maximize the perceived space within the home. 

By doing these two things, you’ll find that buyers have a much easier time visualizing themselves inside of your home. 

Touch-Ups & Renovations

Return on investment is the most important consideration here. Most renovations are not necessary in the current real estate market due to low inventory and high buyer demand.

Rely on your real estate agent to guide you on investments that will show a 3-5x return on the cash and time that they will require. If you can’t confidently assume at least a 3x return, it’s likely not worth the risk when homes are already selling above market value in “as is” condition.

For example, replacing a furnace or air conditioning unit to “add value” to your home is going to show a dollar for dollar return. A/C unit costs $3,000? You just added $3,000 in value. Not worth it.

Touch-ups, however, can significantly increase the presentation of your home. Keep in mind, you’ll know the ins and outs of your home better than your real estate agent. It’s important to do a thorough inspection of your home to make sure you’re touching up paint, replacing inoperable light bulbs, replacing broken blinds and ultimately, preparing your home in a manner that a new owner can move right in after they get the keys.

Ultimately, the real estate agent that you choose to sell your home is going to be similar to a coach getting someone ready for an upcoming game. Rely on them for advice, tips, feedback and where to focus your efforts and the marketing will take care of the rest.

Happy Selling!

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