Putting Your Home on the Market: Tips & Tricks

In the third of a four-article series on home-buying, area Realtor Mary Benavides provides tips on how to get your home ready to put on the market.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, so if you’re planning to sell your home, take the time to make sure it is set to impress. Clutter, dirty windows, dust and deferred maintenance can leave buyers with the impression that your home is distressed. That always translates into a perception that your house is worth less.

The best rule of thumb is this: Think about how you feel when you walk into a model home and try to recreate that same feeling in your own home.

Follow these simple tips to get your house in model condition – and sold for what it’s worth!


Start Outside

Stand across the street and look at the home from a prospective buyer’s point of view.

  • Remove cars from the driveway and away from the street in front of the house.
  • Keep toys, tools, garbage cans and recycle bins out of sight.
  • Place a new doormat by the front door and keep the entry swept at all times.
  • Clean the windows and wash all screens.
  • Sweep any gravel or dirt off the driveway, patios and sidewalks.
  • Tidy up landscaping; trim bushes and trees.
  • Place a potted plant or flowers at the front door and rear patio.


Freshen Up The Inside

The emotions you are trying to stimulate in prospective buyers are triggered by sensory experiences, especially scent and light. It is especially important to keep the bathrooms and kitchen very clean. Clean, fresh homes sell faster!

  • Remove nonessential items from closets and cabinets and pack them out of sight.
  • Clean the inside of windows and detail blinds.
  • Place clean, matching towels in each bathroom (make these the ones you do not use, if possible).
  • Keep laundry out of sight.
  • Depersonalize – clear off the refrigerator, minimize photos, remove trophies and posters.
  • Create counter space – put away mail, soap dishes and extra gadgets and small appliances.
  • Fix all caulking, especially in the bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Have the carpets professionally cleaned.
  • Freshen up curtains by placing them in the dryer for a few minutes with a dryer sheet.
  • Ensure that all appliances are clean (inside & out) and in good working order.
  • Consider re-painting with a neutral shade any rooms that have bright colors.
  • Check light bulbs in all rooms and carefully dust light fixtures.
  • Pack away any non-essential items or furniture.
  • Secure all jewelry, cash, medications, firearms, etc.
  • Use magic erasers or touch-up paint for scuffs on walls, doors and baseboards.


Set The Stage Each Day

Make a habit of doing the same things each day to keep your home ready to show at a moment’s notice.

  • Be flexible – allow your home to be shown as much as possible. Potential buyers could visit any time, any day. Make a habit of looking over the house before you leave each day.
  • Vacuum and sweep your floors frequently.
  • Keep all windows clear to the views outside – open all blinds and curtains during the day.
  • For showings, turn on the lights in every room and put on soft music (turn off the television).
  • Eliminate odors. Plug-ins and deodorizers are great. Only use 2-3 at a time of the same neutral scent. Keep these on the lowest setting possible as they can be overwhelming.

If you follow these steps, entering your home should feel airy, clean and peaceful, which is enticing for everyone, but especially for buyers. Give your home a little TLC, and it will say “welcome home” to your prospective buyers!


Mary BenavidesMary Lucas Benavides is an Associate Broker for The Home Team at Long Realty, located in the Fry’s Marketplace. She publishes The Sahuarita Connection newsletter and has lived in Rancho Sahuarita for 11 years with her 2 sons, Ben and Jesse, and her dog, Chica. Mary enjoys working with clients from all over the world and is always eager to help them learn about the Sahuarita community. 


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