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The real estate market is shifting. As we move into 2023, it is more important than ever to have the right preparation and roadmap before listing your home. 

Are you wondering how to prepare your home for sale? Selling your home in the Greater Charlotte NC area, or the Carolinas, or practically anywhere in the U.S can seem like a pretty daunting challenge. There is a big difference in selling your home & selling your home for top dollar. Knowing how to prepare your house for sale starts with understanding what buyers are looking for. If your home isn’t in pristine condition, potential buyers will pass you by.

Join Josh Finigan as we discuss the 10 steps to prepare your home to sell for top dollar! When you want to move, there’s nothing worse than sitting on the market for months with showing after showing. From selling quickly to an investor, to painting and landscaping, this guide has everything you need to know about how to sell your house.

Sale Your Home

Here are the 10 steps to preparing your home for sale: 

1. Detach from your home

2. Create a strong game plan

3. Hide your valuables

4. De-Clutter

5. De-Personalize

6. Deep clean

7. Staging your home

8. Identify possible repairs and upgrades

9. Your home’s curb appeal

10. Gather the necessary paperwork

Please note, the advice given below is very generic. Some of these will apply to you, while others may not.  When we meet with our clients, we consider your personal situation & goals. How to best prepare for your home will largley depend on your individual goals, timeline, and aspirations.

When we meet with our clients we work to create an individualized game plan that is specifically tailored to help achieve their goals. We walk through their property with a fine tooth comb & evaluate potential repairs, updates, & the curb appeal to create the best solution to achieve top dollar in the shortest amount of time! 

If you are interested in getting a full evaluation on your property, feel free to click the “Get Started” link below.  We will be more than happy to give you a complimentary evaluation of your home! 

Selling A House Shouldn’t be Stressful

There is a pro-active way to sell your home that gets results

Detach From Your Home

1. Detach from your home

I know letting go of your home can be difficult.  you have been in your home for (possibly) years.  You have created priceless memories over the years in your home.  Everywhere you turn reminds you of the loved ones you hold dearest.

The next buyer won’t share those same memories and connections.  To potential buyers, your home’s just a house that their hoping to turn into a home. Understand these buyers may dislike some things you love about the home and may love somethings you dont like so much.  

Sever your emotional attachment to the house by realizing that the home is about the occupants who live there, not just the space or building.  Your next house will feel like home before you know it.  Once you move into your next home you will be personalizing your space and creating new memories!

So to maximize your profit, focus on top dollar and look to the future, where you can make new memories in your next home! 


Selling A House Shouldn’t be Stressful

There is a pro-active way to sell your home that gets results

Prepare your home for sale Create a strong gameplan

 2. Create a strong game plan

Its always a good idea to spend some time to really understand your goals and fully comprehend what you are looking to accomplish.  Then you can create an outline or gameplan that will lead to your success! We all know the saying: “Don’t put the cart in front of the horse.”

There are many variables that need to be addressed before selling your home:

1. Do you NEED/want to sell your home before purchasing another one?  Many people NEED to sell their home before purchasing another. If this is the case, creating a strong gameplan with your Realtor up-front can help make things run very smooth.

2. If you sell your home, will you need temporary housing?  Temporary housing can be hard to come by, so having a few ideas of where you would stay, if you sold your home, will put you ahead of the game ! Also, what would you do with your furniture during your transition from home to home. 

3. In an ideal world, what timeline works best for you? Once you accept an offer, the average contract to close is between 30-45 days.  If you get an offer, is that enough time for you to move out of your home? The last thing you need is getting that perfect offer and not being able to accept it because you don’t know when you are able to move. 

Note: Unless otherwise negotiated, it is expected that you will be completely moved out before the buyer signs on the day of closing, making a plan for this upfront will make things much easier. That closing date can quickly approach.

4. How do you plan on handling showings? For the optimal showing experience, buyers expect the home to be occupant free. Yes, that means the four legged friends & the kids. This could also pose added stress for those who work from home.  Creating a strong game plan up front on how to work around the pets, kids, and work schedule will set you up for success!

Showability is extremely important. After all, the show-ability of a home directly impacts the salability and how much your home sells for. Creating a game plan up-front is vital in seeing your home for top dollar!

5. How will you choose the RIGHT realtor? Having the right Realtor/consultant can be a huge a difference in your bottom line. If you choose the wrong agent, you could be leaving tens of thousands of $$$ on the table. The average real estate agent sells 2-3 homes a year and 80% of agents quit within the first 2 years in the industry. You want to make sure your agent:

1. Knows the area. 

2. Has a proven track record of success and can offer creative solution to potential obstacles

3. Has a proven and aggressive marketing plan that can maximize your home’s exposure. 

We recommend interviewing at least 3 different real estate agents. If you interview at least 3 different agents, then you can be confident you chose the right agent to help you sell your home! If you are considering selling your home, watch: 10 Questions You Must Ask Your Realtor Before Hiring Them. 

Prepare your home for sale

3. Hide your valuables

Focus on hiding any valuable or sensitive items like jewelry, guns, bills and pills. You want to make sure that a licensed agent accompanies all potential showings, this is extremely important, as they are responsible for the buyer.  For our clients, we ensure an agent is present during every showing to minimize the risk.  However, things happen and its always better to be safe and prepared. 

4. De-Clutter

The reality is, you are. going to have to pack up and move out once your home is sold, so you might as well start now! The more you de-clutter the more inviting + open the home is. People tend to collect an amazing quantity of items over the years. Reasons for keeping items include an emotional attachment, an intention to reuse or fix the items in the future, or a wish to pass them on to others. However, for many items, if you haven’t used them in over a year, you probably don’t need them.

Go through closets and donate or throw away items you no longer need. Pack things in boxes and store them in the garage until you move. Buyers know you’re living in the home, so there is no shame in having a packed garage 

Decluttering also includes furniture. The scale of your pieces should match the size of the room, and buyers should be able to easily walk around spaces without bumping into furniture. Make sure furnishings don’t block doors, windows or architectural features. In a small living room, for example, consider removing end tables or accent chairs. Such moves aren’t convenient, but remember, they’re temporary.

You may want to survey renting a storage unit while you sell your home. Keeping your belongings offsite is a great way to maximize the space in your home. Storage units can range in price from $30 to $300 per month, depending on size, location and features like climate control and security, according to MovingTips.

How to prepare your home to sell

5. De-Personalize

In addition to cleaning and decluttering, you should consider depersonalizing your home. The goal when selling is to have a buyer fall in love with your house, picturing themselves living there and imaging their belongings inside. That can be difficult if your home has your personal stamp all over it.

Taking down personal photos and decor can be sad, but if you’re living in your home while selling it, you don’t want prospective buyers to feel they are trespassing when they tour your home.  You want them to envision making their own memories and not staring at all of your’s. Remove items like:

1. Family photos

2. Souvenirs 

3. Religious symbols

4. Diplomas and certificates

5. Hobby supplies

6. Collections 

7. Political Symbols

8. Remove items hanging on fridge

Find out how much your house is worth!

Prepare your home for sale

6. Deep Clean

Something that really turns a buyer off is walking into a home with a stench or seeing dirt/grime build-up on the baseboards or countertops.  A clean home is 1 less barrier for a buyer to overcome as they consider making an offer. 

Remember to take special care with the bathroom, making sure the tile, counters, shower, and floors shine. This may mean hiring a professional cleaner or getting “down and dirty” yourself to make sure your home is in the best showing condition! When cleaning your home, you may want to consider:  

1. Cleaning Carpets

2. Cleaning Windows

3. Cleaning walls + Baseboards

4. Polishing chrome faucets & mirrors

5. Dusting furniture & fans! 

6. Vacuuming and/or waxing floors

7. Hanging up fresh towels

8. Keeping the toilet lid shut 

 If you have any particular questions about where to focus when it comes to cleaning your home, make sure to ask your Realtor.  They will be able to guide you on the exact areas you can focus on to minimize your time and maximize your investment. 



Preparing your home to sell for top dollar

7. Staging your home 

Staging is the art of highlighting your homes features without drowning them out. Home staging is a marketing strategy with a dash of psychology.  Its removing, adding, or re-arranging furniture and décor to make it the most palatable to potential buyers. The goal is to create a great first impression so that buyers put your home at the top of their list.

The great news is, there are options in staging that can fit everyone’s budget. Now, you can hire a professional stager to bring in furniture and stage your home. However, this can get expensive. It also may not be necessary for everyone to go to this extreme. 

We offer or clients a free consultation with an interior designer. This designer will go through your home and give you advice on how to best use your furniture to stage your home. This is much more attractively priced then hiring a stager to professionally stage your home.

Here are a few quick tips when you are staging your home: 

1. Put cords & wires out of sight

2. Pull furniture away from the walls

3. Add warm touches like flowers or attractive colors

4. If using table leaves, remove them to make the room look bigger

5. De-clutter the master closet (removing some clothes). This will make it seem very open

6. Clean/ remove portable appliances in the kitchen. 

To Download a FREE copy of our “Home Seller Prep: Staging Guide,” Click Here

Selling A House Shouldn’t be Stressful

There is a pro-active way to sell your home that gets results

Prepare your home for sale

8. Identify possible repairs and updates

This step is VERY dependent on your goals, timeline budget, and the current market conditions. Identifying possible repairs and upgrades is also one of the largest factor that can determine how much you walk away with at the end of the day. There will be a huge difference in a fixer upper vs. the immaculate home with all the modern finishes.  

Usually our clients want to put in the minimum effort to get the maximum value.  To do this, the main goal is to make the home “Move in Ready.”  If you are looking to maximize your homes value without completely renovating the home, focus on the items that NEED to be fixed.  We don’t want a buyer saying “This needs to be done before I move into the home.” 

Buying a home is an enormous endeavor for most people, so they may be picky. Ensuring they don’t find anything that needs immediate fixing is a good way to keep their minds at ease and focused on the positive qualities of your home.

Nobody wants to inherit the loose door handles, loose floorboards, or dead light bulbs that have been sitting on your to-do list for months. It may seem small, but even a single defect can make a potential buyer wonder what else needs fixing that they haven’t found. Here’s a list of some items to focus on: 

1. Broken locks and hardware

2. Leaky faucets

3. Running Toilets

4. Patch cracks and holes in the wall

5. Touch up paint on any blemishes or skuff’s on the walls 

6. Squeaky door

7. Cracked floor/counter tiles

8. Broken appliances

9. Replace burnt out light bulbs

Remember, your goal is not to chase the “perfect” home inspection report, because that doesn’t exist.  You want to focus on deferred maintness and items that will make the home “Move in Ready.” 

For those of you who are looking to completely renovate your home to maximize your homes value, check out our video: “6 Renovations That Increase Your Homes Value.”

Prepare your home for sale Charlotte NC

9. Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Your home’s curb appeal is a buyers first impression as they pull up to your home.  A potential sale is lost quickly if a buyer refuses to even get out of an agents care because the exterior is a big turn off.  Here are a few things to focus on to make your curb appeal “POP:”

          • Mow the grass
          • Trim the shrubs
          • Remove dead trees and bushes
          • Add a pop of color
          • Paint the front door
          • Make sure the door handle and lock works
          • Make sure buyers can see your house #
          • Make sure mailbox looks nice and presentable 


Find out how much your house is worth!

Prepare your home for sale

10. Gather the necessary paperwork

Last but not least, make sure to gather the important and necessary paperwork. Even though you haven’t seen them in years, now is the time to track down all of the user manuals, warranties, and invoices.  Think about any necessary paperwork that goes with the water heater, HVAC, appliances, or your pool. These can come in handy during the home selling process.

Also, do you have any previous appraisals, surveys, permits, home inspections, or title insurance policies? If so, make sure to give them to your realtor, so they can utilize this info to help you maximize your homes value! 

Who is all on the deed? Who all needs to sign in order to sell the home?  This is not always easily explained, especially in estate sales.  And note, if you are in North Carolina and married, both spouses need to sign – no matter who’s on the deed.   Knowing this information can help you avoid huge obstacle’s before closing. 


There you have it folks, the 10 steps to prepare your home for sale.  These will prove a strong road map to help you maximize your homes value. 

Remember, everyone’s goals, circumstances, and aspirations are different and while this is a good road map to help you prepare your home to sell: some of these may apply to you, while others do not.  

 If you are considering buying, selling, or investing in the greater Charlotte area, we would love to be your real estate resource of choice. Please call/ text/ or email us today:

Contact us through:

📱Call/Text Direct (704)-631-3977



If you are considering selling your home,  make sure you choose the best Realtor. Watch this video to make sure you are asking your potential realtor the RIGHT questions:  10 Questions You Must Ask Your Realtor Before Hiring Them. 


Selling A House Shouldn’t be Stressful

There is a pro-active way to sell your home that gets results

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