96 Tips to Sell Your Home Faster and for More Money!

The process of preparing and staging your home can be overwhelming…
We stage ALL our clients’ homes before they reach the marketplace.

Kim’s staging expertise and background have helped hundreds of clients sell their homes quicker and for more money, by working within each client’s own personal budget. Kim will be happy to help you too, just give her a call at (860) 643-6363.

These steps will help you through the process of preparing your home for the market, in six different areas:


1.  Be cautious about selecting colors when painting or replacing carpeting.  Your objective here is to make your home appeal to the largest possible buying segment.  Ask yourself, “How many buyers would be able to move into my house, with their furniture, without replacing the carpeting?”  Position your home on the market to be as livable to as many people as possible, so the buyer can mentally picture your home as theirs.

2.  Forget your personal taste . . . the “market” is always demand driven!  The average buyer will have a hard time looking beyond the green carpeting and bold wallpaper. Consider replacing unusual or bold colors with neutral tones.  Paint may be the best improvement you can make.


This involves creating the illusion of more space.

3.  Arrange furniture to give the rooms as spacious a feeling as possible.  Consider removing furniture, if necessary, from rooms that are over crowded.

4.  Use light to create a sense of space.  All blinds and curtains should be open.  Turn on all lights before a showing, and be sure to replace any burned out bulbs.

5.  Pack up all collectibles . . . both to protect them, and to give the room a more spacious feeling.  Leave just enough accessories out, to give your home a personal touch.

6.  Remove all clutter and make it a habit to pick up clothing, shoes, and all personal possessions each day to be ready for  possible showings.

7.  Empty closets of off-season clothing and pack away for the move.  Organize them to demonstrate the most efficient use of space.



8.  The rule of thumb is if something needs to be repaired, then fix it.  There are probably many things in your home that you have simply overlooked and have just become used to, over time.  Well, now is the time!  A buyer will mentally add up the cost of repairing all those minor flaws which usually ends up with a list of amounts much higher than what it would actually cost you to do the repairs.

You might be saying to yourself, “These repairs aren’t any big deal.” But the buyer is thinking, “If the owners didn’t care enough about these little items, then what about the big ones, like the roof and the furnace?”  Needed small repairs and perceived owner neglect will either lower the purchase price or lengthen the time required to sell.

9.  Check all walls for peeling paint and loose wall paper. 

10.  Large repairs: In today’s climate of open disclosure and vigilant professional home inspections, the rule is “Treat a buyer as you would yourself.”  Repair any problems with major systems or offer an allowance for the buyer to make repairs after closing.  Always disclose anything that you know about your property.  Having been a consumer yourself, you know that buyers will more readily make a purchase decision with someone whom they can trust.

Remember… Kahan O’Neill Realty has many great contractors whom they know and trust (from handymen and painters to roofers and electricians) to help with any repairs.



11.  Every area of the home must sparkle and shine.  Each hour spent cleaning will be well worth it.  Would you rather buy a clean car, or a dirty one?  Would you hurry to buy a pair of shoes if they were scuffed or had mud on them?

12.  Clean all windows, inside and out.  This helps make the house sparkle.

13.  Clean all wall-to-wall carpeting and area rugs.  Clean and polish linoleum, tile and hardwood floors.

14.  Clean and polish all woodwork if necessary.  Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

15.  Clean and polish all light fixtures.


When placing yourself in the potential buyer’s shoes, you will want to consider the overall atmosphere of your home.  Keep in mind your sense of smell as you go through the check list.  Create the atmosphere of your home as a shelter, a place that is safe, warm and inviting, and in good overall condition.

16.  A clean smelling house creates a positive image in the buyer’s mind.  Be aware of any odors from cooking, cigarettes or pets, which may have adverse effects on potential buyers.  Remember that some people are much more sensitive to odors than others. Smokers rarely notice the odor of tobacco that fills their homes, and pet owners may be oblivious to objectionable doggy odor.

17.  You can use products like carpet deodorizers, air fresheners, and room deodorizers; but the best strategy is to remove the source of the smell rather than cover it up.

18.  Unfortunately, often the only way to remove the smell of pet urine from flooring is to rip up the carpeting and padding and replace them.  If this is preventing the sale of your home, don’t hesitate to make this investment.

19.  If smoking and cooking odors have permeated your home, have the carpets and furniture cleaned and aired out, or dry-clean the drapes.

20.  Mildew odors are another no-no.  Don’t allow wet towels to accumulate in hampers or dirty laundry to pile up in closets.

21.  Once offensive odors are removed, consider adding delightful ones.  Recent studies have shown that humans have strong, positive responses to certain smells.  Cinnamon, fresh flowers, breads baking in the oven are all excellent ways to enhance your property.


This part of preparing your home for sale is the most fun.  It involves the use of color, lighting and accessories to emphasize the best features of your home.

22.  Study magazine ads or furniture showrooms to see how small details can make rooms more attractive and appealing.  The effect of a vase of flowers, an open book on the coffee table, a basket of birch logs by the fireplace, etc., can make the difference in a room.

23.  The use of a brightly colored pillow on a wing chair or a throw blanket on a couch can add dimension to a sterile or plain room.

24.  Soften potentially offending views, but always let light into your rooms.  Replace heavy drapes or curtains with sheers.  Never apologize for things you cannot change.

25.  Go through photo albums and select pictures of your house and yard during all seasons.  If hung at eye level in a well-lighted area, the pictures will speak for themselves and give you yet another selling edge.

26.  Take advantage of natural light as much as possible by cleaning windows, opening shades and blinds.  Add lamps and lighting where necessary.  Be sure that all fixtures are clean and have functioning bulbs.


Check your home for any needed maintenance items, just as a buyer would.  Repaint or touch up as necessary.  You can’t make a better investment when you are selling your house!  Don’t let the outside turn buyers off before the inside turns them on.

27.  Color has the power to attract.  A tub of geraniums, a pot of petunias, or a basket of impatiens on the front steps is a welcoming touch.

28.  If you are selling during the winter months, consider using a wreath of dried flowers on the front door.

29.  Be sure all gutters and downspouts are free of debris, especially autumn leaves which often tend to clog gutters.

30.  All walkways should be safe and clear. Pay special attention to these areas during the fall and winter months.  Fallen leaves should be swept or blown away quickly.  Snow and ice should be removed promptly and salt should be used to avoid build up.  You wouldn’t want a potential buyer to slip and fall before even viewing your home.

31.  If you have a porch or deck, set the stage with pots of flowers and attractively arranged furniture.

32.  Check to see that all doors and windows are in good working order.  Give special attention to your home’s exterior doors and front entry.  Clean and paint doors if necessary.  Remember, first impressions are likely to color the remainder of the house tour.

33.  Wash all windows and replace any broken or cracked window panes.

34.  Screens should be free of any tears or holes.

35.  Inspect all locks to ensure that they are functioning properly.

36.  Check for loose or missing shingles.

37.  Invest in a new doormat that says “Welcome.”



38.  Make sure the yard is neatly mowed, raked and edged.

39.  Prune and shape shrubbery and trees to complement your house.

40.  If selling during the fall season, be sure leaves are racked into neat piles in an inconspicuous area or removed as soon as possible.

41.  Consider adding seasonal flowers along the walks or in the planting areas.  Place the plants into a well-placed wheelbarrow or an old-fashioned washtub.  Such standbys as nasturtiums, petunias, impatiens, and verbena are easy to maintain if you only remember to water them regularly.  Try a row of sweet smelling alyssum to line a short sidewalk or some perky dwarf marigolds to form a cheerful oasis of color in your yard.

42.  It is important to devote at least one area of your yard to outdoor living.  Buyers will still recognize a scene set with picnic table and chairs and respond positively to it.  Cover your picnic table with a fringed, red-and-white checked table cloth, put out some plastic plates and glasses, bring out the barbecuing equipment, and buyers will almost smell the hot dogs cooking!



43.  The driveway is no place for children’s toys.  Not only are such things dangerous, but the clutter is unsightly.

44.  The surface of your driveway should be immaculate- after all it’s one of the first things a buyer will see when he drives up.  Sweep and wash the driveway and walks to remove debris, dirt and stains.

45.  Repair and patch any cracks.  Also edge the sides of the driveway and pull up any weeds. 

46.  During the fall months, be sure if leaves have fallen, to sweep them away immediately so the driveway is always clear.

47.  During the winter months, always be sure to remove all snow and ice by shoveling or snow blowing to avoid a potential accident.  Don’t forget to sand and salt the area too.


Whether a gracious proportioned center-hall or a small space just large enough for a coat rack and a tiny table, this part of your home deserves your particular attention.

48.  Study your entry hall and ask yourself what kind of impression it makes of your home.  Dried flowers or a small plant can make a striking focal point on a hall table any time of the year.

49.  Virtually any entry hall will benefit from a well-placed mirror to enlarge the area.

50.  Your entry hall’s flooring will be observed carefully by the prospective buyer.  Make sure the surface is spotless and add a small rug to protect the area during showings.

51.  The entry hall closet is the first one inspected.  Make it appear roomy.  Add a few extra hangers.  Hang a bag of cedar chips or a pomander ball to give a pleasant, fresh scent.  Remove all off-season clothing.


Think of these areas as if they were furniture showrooms.  Your job is to make each room generate a positive response.  Add touches that make a room look truly inviting.

52.  Sweep and clean the fireplace.  Place a few logs on the grate to create an attractive appearance.  Consider having a fire going for showings during the winter months. . . it creates a great atmosphere.

53.  Place something colorful on the mantel, but don’t make it look like a country craft store.

54.  Improve the traffic flow by removing excess furniture.  Have easy traffic flow patterns.  Be sure that all doors open fully and easily.

55.  Draw attention to exposed beams or a cathedral ceiling with special lighting.  Be sure to remove any cobwebs and dust.

56.  Remove oversized television sets if they dominate the room.  If necessary, substitute with a smaller one until you move.


Avoid going overboard.  To be effective, any stage setting that you create should reflect the character of your entire home appropriately.

57.  Set the scene by setting the table with an attractive arrangement.  Add fresh or silk flowers as a centerpiece.

58.  Visually enlarge a small dining area.  If your dining table has extra leaves, take one or two out.  Consider placing your dining table against the wall.  Remove any extra “company” chairs.  Consider putting oversized pieces in storage until your house is sold.


Pay particular attention to your kitchen.  This room continues to be the “heart of every home.”  A pleasant, working kitchen is near the top of most buyers’ list of priorities and is a room that buyers always scrutinize closely.

59.  Avoid clutter!  Clear counters of small appliances and store out of sight whenever possible to maximize the appearance of work space.

60.  Check the counter top around your sink, and remove any detergent or cleansers that may be cluttering the area.

61.  Sinks, cabinets, and counter tops should be clean and fresh.

62.  All appliances should be absolutely clean, bright, sparkling and shiny.

63.  Clean off the top of the refrigerator!  If you must use that space for storage, use baskets and bowls to camouflage the items kept there.

64.  Set the scene with an open cookbook, a basket filled with fruit, a basket of silk flowers, or a ceramic mixing bowl and wire whisk.

65.  Create the aromas associated with happy homes!  Bake some cookies from premixed, refrigerated cookie dough, start baking a loaf of refrigerated bread dough, or pop a frozen apple pie in the oven.

66.  In the heat of summer, place a bowl of lemons or limes on the counter to provide a fresh and pleasant aroma.

67.  Clean and organize all storage space.  If your cabinets, drawers, and closets are crowded and overflowing, buyers assume that your storage space is inadequate.  Give away items you don’t use, storing seldom-used items elsewhere, and reorganize the shelves.  Neat, organized shelves and drawers look larger and more adequate for prospective buyers needs.

68.  Large, cheerful kitchen windows are an advantage and should be highlighted as a special feature of your home.  Take a critical look at the window treatments . . . are they clean, sharp and up-to-date?   Do the curtains need washing or the blinds need cleaning? Would the window area look better without any window treatment?

69.  If you have a counter top eating area, set two attractive place settings with coordinating napkins and placemats, and place cushions on the stools.

70.  Set the table for an informal meal with bright placemats and a generous bowl of fruit as a centerpiece.


A separate laundry room is a true asset and is one of the most frequent requests that buyers make during a home search.  Don’t hide this treasure behind closed doors.  Spruce up the room and open the door proudly for inspection.

71.  Add a fresh coat of paint or put up cheerful wallpaper.

72.  Organize all closets and storage space.

73.  Remove all dirty laundry. Keep current with your laundry or store all dirty laundry in a closed container.

74.  Clean and polish the washer and dryer.

75.  Consider adding an attractive, coordinated throw rug.


Stairways should provide an attractive transition from one level of your home to another.

76.  Make certain the stairs are safe!  Stair lighting should be more than adequate, stairs must be clutter free, stair railings tight and secure, and runners or carpeting tacked securely.  Remove any items from the surface of the stairs and store elsewhere.  Check the condition of the walls, and paint or re-wallpaper if necessary.

77.  If the stairs are a focal point of the main living areas, carefully choose accents to improve the visual appeal.  If you have a wide, gracious staircase, emphasize this feature by hanging a few pictures along the wall.  Draw attention to a handsome lighting fixture by polishing the brass and dusting each small light bulb or crystal prism.


Imagine for a moment that you are in the “bed-and-breakfast” business.  How would you change your home’s bedrooms to appeal to a paying lodger?  Naturally, you would make up the beds with your prettiest sheets and comforters.  Maybe you’d add a vase of flowers on the dressing table or a cozy armchair in the corner.  Every bedroom in your home should invite prospective buyers to settle right in.

78.  Large master bedrooms are particularly popular among today’s home buyers.  Make your bedroom larger.  Paint the room a light color, remove one of the bureaus if the room is crowded, and minimize clutter to maximize spaciousness.  Aim for a restful, subdued look.

79.  A private bathroom off the master bedroom is a real plus.  Decorate it to coordinate with the color scheme of your bedroom, creating the “suite” effect.

80.  Virtually all buyers are looking for a house with plenty of closet space.  Try to make what you have appear generous and well planned.  Remove and store all out of season clothing.  Remove any items from the floor area.  This will make a closet seem more spacious.  Arrange all shelves to maximize the use of space.

81.  Make sure all articles in the closet are fresh and clean smelling.  When prospective buyers open your closet door, they should be greeted with a whiff of fresh smelling air.

82.  Make sure all closet lights have adequate wattage and are operating.  Add battery operated lights to those closets that lack them.  Lighted closets look bigger, are more attractive, and allow buyers to inspect the interiors easily.

83.  Take time to explain the importance of marketing to your children.  Encourage them to participate in preparing your home for showing, particularly the principle of appealing to the widest possible market segment.   Ask your children’s cooperation in making their beds and picking up their rooms prior to showings.  Consider promising a special reward if they willingly participate in your house selling goals.

84.  Pack up any items that are not currently in use and dispose of unused possessions.

85.  Remove any crowded, unusual, or personal wall hangings such as posters and store them until your home is sold.


Wise sellers take special pains with preparing their bathrooms for scrutiny by strangers. The bathroom is a room after all, and a very personal one.  Prospects will inspect yours carefully, so be sure it is immaculate.  Cleanliness is the key!  Make sure that all surfaces are spotless.

86.  Replace worn or dirty shower curtains, clean and repair caulking, and remove non-skid bath decals that are in poor condition.

87.  Clear off countertops and store all personal care products out of sight.

88.  Repair any faucets that leak or do not function properly.  Clean off mineral deposits with vinegar or commercial products.

89.  Clean and organize all cabinets and drawers.  Don’t forget the medicine cabinet: dispose of old prescriptions, and polish the shelves.  The same goes for the storage cabinet under the sink.

90.  Remember to appeal to a wide range of buyers.  Play down dominant colors with contrasting neutral colored towels and accessories.  If your bathroom is mostly white or neutral, add a few cheerful accents of color: use towels in the popular new shades.  Don’t hesitate to buy a few new towels and a rug, since you’ll be taking them with you to your new home, anyway.

91.  Scrub and wax an old floor.  Cover the largest area you can with a freshly washed scatter rug.

92.  Decorate and personalize to create a pleasing, individual look.  Consider bringing out your best towels and perfumed guest soaps.  Add a plant for color and freshness.

93.  A gentle hint of fragrance in the air is fine, but do remember to keep it subtle.



94.  Sweep and wash the floor to remove dirt and stains. Organize tools, garden equipment and bicycles.  A clean, organized garage appears larger.

95.  If the area is dark, add more light.  If it is small and accommodates only one car, remove your car before buyers visit. An empty garage always looks larger.  If you have a two car garage with very little extra room, remove one of your cars so that buyers can make their inspection in comfort.

96.  Get rid of anything that you don’t plan to move to your new home.  Place remaining stored material neatly in boxes, and position away from walls.

Should you need any further assistance, don’t hesitate to call (860) 643-6363 any time!




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