Selling your home can be an exciting and stressful time.

On the one hand… selling means you have the opportunity to look forward to the future and the new adventures in store for you and your family – which is very exciting!

But, on the other hand… Just the thought of dealing with showings, inspections, agents, loan officers, appraisers, contractors, movers, and buyers, can be a little overwhelming – NOT so exciting!

Sound familiar?

If so, don’t panic… There are ways to minimize the stress and make the process of selling or moving more enjoyable.

Here’s the secret… it’s all in the preparation! 🙂

Yes, you heard that right… properly preparing your home will help reduce stress and make the process more enjoyable!

In fact, it may even help you sell the home faster and at a HIGHER price.

For that reason, I have compiled a list of 6 proven strategies to help you get the most out of your house.

So, let’s get into it!

1. Depersonalize

Depersonalizing is something I highly recommend when preparing your home for sale.

Reason why…

Your potential buyers are NOT interested in your family portraits, action figures, coin collection, or soccer trophies – as cool as they may be!

Instead, buyers want to be able to visualize themselves living in the home, making memories in the home, and entertaining in the home.

Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to eliminate the distractions and help focus the potential buyer’s attention on the features and amenities that make the home so wonderful.

Here are some tips for depersonalizing:
  • Get mentally prepared

This is number one!

After living in a home for several years, it’s very likely that you may have some really fond memories of the kids growing up, family gatherings, holidays, etc.

As such, it can be hard to pack up some of these items because they are held near and dear to your heart.

This is perfectly normal…

Give yourself a couple days to wrap your mind around the idea of packing up some personal items and try to keep in mind that you can always unpack them in your future home – Where you can hopefully create wonderful new memories 🙂

  • Remove family portraits

OK, so… you do NOT need to remove all family photos, but it’s better to dial it back a little.

Remember, the buyers need to be able to visualize themselves living in the home… in order to do that, they need to feel like they ARE home… NOT just visiting.

The family pictures can be replaced with generic photos or basic artwork that will appeal to the masses. Places like Kohl’s, Marshall’s, Home Goods, and TJ Max, have a wide variety of affordable artwork/decor that is basic and looks very good.

  • Remove any valuables

Keep in mind that potential buyers will be going through your home. I always recommend removing ANY valuable items that you wouldn’t want others to see or know that you have.

This would include things like jewelry, guns, gold/silver, expensive art, etc. Use your judgement, NO need to go overboard. This is mainly a safety precaution.

  • Pack up trophies, toys, collections, exercise equipment, and posters.

I know it’s hard to pack up the memories… but keep in mind, in order to showcase your home to potential buyers… you need to view your home through their lense.

The buyers for your house are interested in how their furniture will fit, what their photos will look like on the walls, and how they can turn the house into a home for their family.

2. Declutter

I subscribe to the belief that “less is more.”

Decluttering and depersonalizing go hand in hand. Once personal items and valuables are packed up and moved into containers/storage, then it is time to declutter.

Decluttering refers to rearranging / editing a particular space to make things more aesthetically pleasing.

Certainly, you don’t need to turn your home into a campsite, but the idea is to go room by room / counter by counter, and remove items that don’t need to be visible.

Yes, this means your home will be slightly less functional… but overall the appearance will be much more pleasing to the eye.

Decluttering eliminates distraction and gives potential buyers the ability to visualize the space with less “noise.”

Here are some tips for decluttering:
  • Kitchen

Remove smaller appliances from counters, clean out / organize drawers, organize cabinets, and remove trinkets.

  • Bathrooms

Remove personal items from counters, clean our drawers, and minimize items in medicine cabinets.

  • Bedrooms

Move / re-position large furniture not needed in the bedrooms, remove trinkets.

  • Closets

Might be time for some early spring cleaning. Going through your closets is super important because everyone likes to see closets that have lots of extra space.

Don’t panic… You don’t need to remove everything. Simply try to go through the closets, remove what is not needed, and clean it out so they look nice and neat.

  • Garage

In general, people expect the garage to be used for storage and for cars.

So, clearing out the garage area is LESS important than the other items listed above. With that said, try to organize the garage so that it is presentable and buyers are able to walk through it.

As a reminder, try to remove any valuables that you don’t want anyone being able to see.

Keep in mind, simplicity is the key… less décor and less personal items will allow you to draw the potential buyers’ attention to the best features of the home.

3. Consider getting a storage unit or POD.

Decluttering and depersonalizing will likely leave you with a bunch of stuff that needs to be put somewhere.

The question is… where do you put everything?

Well, if you have a lot of extra space in the garage and are super good at organizing… maybe you can neatly place everything in there.

If not, a storage unit or POD may be a viable option.

Storage units and PODS are typically 90-130 per month depending on where you live; however, they are worth every penny if you have a lot of personal belongings.

I recommend putting some serious thought into renting a storage unit temporarily so that you can comfortably store your personal items and valuables.

4. Remove fixtures NOT included in sale

Want to keep your plantation shutters, drapery, or high-end lighting?

If so, you may want to consider removing these items NOW.

Reason being… Once a buyers see them, they will assume that these items will be included in the sale.

If they are removed upfront and never seen by the potential buyers, then they won’t have the opportunity to make this assumption.

It will save everyone time and energy during the negotiation stages and avoid areas of contention that probably should NOT have been there in the first place.

5. Repairs

This is a tough area for many sellers.


Mainly because sellers tend to know the homes issues better than anyone. As a result, they want to fix everything so the home is perfect for the next buyers and they will get top dollar for the home.

In reality – NO home is perfect and an inspector will always find something… so, only focus on the repairs that are NEEDED, or will provide a higher return on your capital.

Here’s and example of a NEEDED repair – A leaking hot water heater.

Will a hot water heater increase the sale price of your home? Probable not… Why?

Because, it is a maintenance item and buyers generally expect hot water in the home 🙂

Aside from the MUST fix items, here are a couple items that may help you command a higher sale price:

  • Fresh paint
  • Fresh caulking around the sinks, showers, and toilets
  • New carpet / flooring – only if absolutely needed
  • Make sure all lights are working and have matching light bulbs
  • Updated hardware on doors and cabinets
  • Upgraded doors – if you have the old school slab doors, it may be worth upgrading to a 2-6 panel door with fresh hardware. It provides a wonderful new look and is extremely appealing to buyers.
  • Baseboards – If you have a 1” baseboard, upgrading to a 5” + size base will really make the rooms pop. If the budget is tight, consider upgrading the baseboards in the common areas only.
  • Replace leaky faucets

The goal of any repairs, improvements, or upgrades, is to make sure the house is squeaky clean and appealing to the current buyer pool.

Any upgrades should be addressed with your real estate agent and contractor to determine if the cost can be justified.

If done properly, some strategic upgrades can dramatically improve your selling price.

5. Cleaning

First impressions are extremely important to potential buyers.

Therefore, it’s time for some good ole’ fashion scrubbing…

You will want to clean the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, and all common areas. This would include dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, and organizing.

Also, it’s always a good idea to crack open a couple windows to get some fresh air – weather permitting.

Lastly, if you’re not sensitive to air fresheners, it doesn’t hurt to pick up a couple Febreze plugins for the common areas and bathrooms to get the home smelling fresh.

6. Staging and professional photos

Did you know that 90% of buyers search for homes online? This a big number and its only growing!  

Anyway, it’s important to mention because buyers are typically viewing your home online before they ever see it in person.


Since first impressions are SO critical, we must make sure that the photographs are professional and look amazing. – NO cell phone pics allowed!!

With that said, I always recommend and that professional photos are taken, virtual tours are used (when appropriate), and the home is properly staged.

This is an area that your agent should be HIGHLY involved in… so make sure you discuss this topic with him/her.

Wrapping things up

Preparing your home to sell can seem like a never ending task.

If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, don’t panic. Simply take a short break, review your checklist, and focus on one item at a time.

Also, it’s important to remember that there is NO perfect house and all potential buyers will be looking for ways to personalize the home to make it their own anyway.

Just do the best you can and lean on your agent for guidance.

Hope you find this information useful.

All the best!

Want to buy, sell, or invest in real estate?

Silva Realty Team can help!

We cover Sacramento & Placer County in California with a special focus on Roseville, Rocklin, Loomis, Penryn, Lincoln, Newcastle, Orangevale, & North Natomas (Sacramento).

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