11 Things Every Homeowner Should Do To Prepare For A Sale

living room with black walls and floor to ceiling windows
When it comes to selling real estate in 2022, it's essential to make sure your home is properly prepared for a sale.

Even in the wild state that is today’s real estate market, it’s essential to make sure your home is properly prepared for a sale. That doesn’t mean just finding a qualified broker and putting it on the market for the right price. There are many things homeowners can do to increase the appeal of their property to buyers. Here are eleven things every homeowner should at least consider doing before their home hits the market in 2022.

1. Put Family Photos In Storage

Interior designer Caitlin Scanlon stresses the importance of putting family photos away. “This is a perennial tip for a reason. Buyers want to imagine themselves in the home, and it’s super hard to visualize that when another family’s photos are everywhere.”

orange chair in a bright room

Strip off velvet, dark or opaque curtains in favor of a material that accentuates natural light.

2. Lighten It Up

When preparing your home for a sale, the word “light” should come to mind in a variety of ways. Interior designer Alexis Rodgers of Home With Alexis recommends increasing the amount of natural light in your home by removing heavy window treatments. So, strip off those velvet, dark or opaque curtains.

Another way to create a sense of light is to paint all the walls a neutral hue. “This will unify, lighten and brighten the entire home. We like diluting Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray for the wall paint, paired with crisp white on the woodwork for an instant refresh,” she says. 

Lightening up the kitchen will take it to the next level. “Kitchens still sell the home,” explains Rodgers. “White cabinets (paint them white if they are a dated wood stain), white subway tile backsplash, and countertops that mimic the look of Carerra marble remain classic and appealing to the buyer.”

3. Soften Things Up

“Adding a few neutral base pieces to the room, like sofas and accent chairs adorned with decorative pillows, can help appeal to the ideal buyer,” says interior designer Anna Franklin of Stone House Collective.

She also recommends accessorizing the home with plants and flowers to create a more welcoming feel. 

modern couch chair

When it comes to staging, it’s best to keep things minimal.

4. Declutter

While you will need to declutter before moving, it’s a smart idea to start the process immediately. “Declutter as much as possible, and that includes what is inside your closets, kitchen cabinets, garage, and basement. People judge what’s in there, and if it’s filled to the brim, it implies there’s not enough storage space in the home,” says Rodgers. Hiring a professional organizer is another option if time and budget allow. 

5. Swap Out Old Light Fixtures

One easy way to update a home is by installing new light fixtures. So, get rid of those so-called “boob light” flush mounts and choose new pendant lights, chandeliers, or sconces instead. “Light fixtures set the excitement, or lack thereof, for the space,” says Rodgers.

modern industrial light fixture

One easy way to update a home is by installing new light fixtures.

6. Consider How The Home Will Look When It’s Professionally Photographed

Professional photos are essential to selling a home, but the photographer can’t do all the work, so make sure your home is designed to be as photogenic as possible. “Take photos of the room with your own phone or camera as a pre-sale exercise, and notice what is unnecessary or distracting,” suggests Rodgers. 

Franklin also stresses the importance of furniture placement. “Establish the focal point of the room. This will allow you to highlight the best features of your home, like big windows or a fireplace. Once that is decided, take the time to move your furniture around in different areas and layouts to see what looks best while also being mindful of traffic and functionality. We also recommend moving your furniture a couple of inches from the wall to help make the room seem bigger.”

7. Have The Home Professionally Cleaned

Both Rodgers and Scalon recommend professional window cleanings and deep cleanings before the photos are taken. The home should also be cleaned in between showings and open houses. “The home will be so much brighter and more inviting, and when everything is clean and sparkling, it gives the buyer a sense that the house has been well taken care of,” says Rodgers. 

staged living room

Consider cleaning the house between showings and open houses.

8. Make Sure It Smells Good

Before buyers arrive, consider burning candles in universally appealing scents like grapefruit, vanilla, or linen. Walking into a home that smells bad will immediately turn off buyers. This makes it crucial to ensure all garbage cans are empty before showing. 

9. Don’t Forget The Outside

Curb appeal is vital to getting an offer, so don’t neglect the exterior. “Dust the cobwebs off the exterior lights and planters, give the front door a fresh coat of paint, plant fresh flowers. If the budget allows for a professional landscaping clean-up, go for it,” says Rodgers.

modern home backyard and swimming pool view

Don’t forget to freshen up outdoor spaces. Outdoor living space is among the most asked for features among luxury home-buyers today.

10. Refresh Your Backyard

Outdoor space can add dollars to a home’s value, so even if you don’t use your backyard, Rodgers believes it’s best to pretend you do. “For example, a set of stylish outdoor chairs set up in a conversational grouping, with the right accessories, implies you are enjoying the outdoor living that your home has to offer, which can imply that the new homeowner will enjoy it too.”

11. Check Out The Street View

In a world of street photos gone wrong and viral, it’s important to make sure your home’s street photos make the area look as appealing as possible. “When possible, update any and all unflattering online photos of the street view of your home,” says Rodgers.


I am a writer, design expert, host of the podcast Bougie Adjacent, and comedic performer. I am absolutely fascinated by all aspects of décor and design. It once took me six months to choose a soap dispenser and I can’t even remember what it looked like. I like bright prints, southern exposure and any location you can call a “village or town.” There are currently over 100 episodes of House Hunters on my DVR.

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