They say that the greatest human ability is empathy: the ability to think what something would be like in someone else’s shoes. That is how you need to think about your house when getting it ready to sell.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes, and think, from their perspective, about what they need to see when they walk in to your home.

It’s Not Your Home Anymore

This tells buyers it is still your home.
This tells buyer it is still your home.

Buyers do not want to see your stuff. Every one of your items that they have to mentally remove, replace, and visualize what the home will look like with their stuff in it is one more step to them not buying the home. There’s nothing wrong with a little furniture, a picture (not of you) or two on a wall, a trinket or vase or two, but generally speaking, the more of you in the home = the less of them. The rule of thumb is, remove 90% of all belongings. Keep a few pieces of furniture in each room, a picture or painting, and the bare minimum of what you need to survive in the home while it’s listed.

The rule of thumb is:
Remove 90% of all belongings

1 Week Supply

Keep a 1 weeks’ supply of food, clothing, cleaning supplies, shoes, etc. in the home. If you don’t need it in a week, it should be packed up and put into boxes preferably kept in temporary storage. If that is prohibitively expensive, the garage is an acceptable place to keep it during the time your home is on the market.

Keep It Neutral


You have very particular tastes. That’s fine. You like certain colors; that’s exactly why you chose them. However, I cannot overstate the importance of getting rid of bright colors in a home. Studies show that 80% of people cannot picture what a room will look like in a different color, especially if it is a dark/ bright color. It is easier to take a neutral room and picture in a different color than it is to take a bright/ dark room and picture in a neutral color.


By far the most bang for your buck you can get for your buck getting the house ready for sale is cleaning. You would never drive to a car dealership and buy a car that is dirty, crumbs in the seat, check engine light is on, stains on the cloth, etc. And a car is worth a pittance compared to a house. We have a checklist of what needs to be cleaned in every room. It is a new home to the buyers, it needs to look new to them.

Cleaning Checklist:

Let There Be Light

This is easily the most overlooked aspect for any home purchase. The home needs to be as open, light, and bright as humanly possible. The easiest way to add more light: Removing sunscreens and other light blockers from windows including, interior curtains, permanent coverings, shades, and anything else that is preventing light from coming in.

Since you’ve cleaned your windows as outlined above, you can just keep the screens off and put them in the garage. Even if you have relatively new, great looking shade screens, I still recommend removing them and storing them in the garage. (numbered and labeled of course so the new owners can re-install them when they please)

  • Light homes photograph better, the pictures are clearer and require less post-editing.
  • 80% of home buyers consider “light and bright” at the top of their list when looking for homes. Nobody wants to live in a cave
  • The sunscreens can be advertised even if they are in the garage

All light blocking elements need to be removed!

Fix Broken Things

These things happen over time, doors squeak, don’t close correctly, handles are loose, light bulbs burn out, air conditioner makes noise, sinks leak. They are not super important to you, so you forget about them and leave them. Well, to a buyer walking through, these minor details convey a sense that you have not taken care of the home. Fixing all these little items will net you far more for the home when it is not seen as a “fixer upper”, even if these fixes are minor. Remember that in most families today, both spouses work full time jobs, nobody has time to move in to a home and then do a bunch of repairs, and then paint, then put their stuff away, and still go about their normal lives. Moving is stressful enough as it is, don’t add to their stress by making them imagine all the work they have to do after moving in. More stress for buyers = less money for you.

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