Preparing Your Home to Sell - It's a Journey!

Refresh, Refurbish, Repair or Replace - Oh My!

After you de-clutter and depersonalize, it's time to review your house room by room and neutralize, repair, replace and refresh.  Since you are selling your home, we do not want to invest in expensive repairs or mammoth remodels so our goal is to look for ways to make your house appealing to buyers at minimal cost to you, the seller. Keeping that objective in mind, we want you to Invest your time and money in easy fixes that will pay off by bringing you top dollar for your home!

However, and it cannot be overstated, you may love every color and accept every imperfection, but to a potential buyer, these will be reasons not to purchase your property, make you a low offer, and believe me they will be looking for explanations. We do not want to provide them with any, so let's begin in the home's interior, starting with the kitchen, which can often make or break a sale.

The Yellow Brick Road Leads to the Kitchen 

When it comes to selling your house, the kitchen is the most crucial room to potential buyers, so you want your kitchen to make a good impression.  We want them to envision whipping up their favorite gourmet delights here. So it follows that the kitchen is first and foremost when it comes to getting a good return on your refurbishing investment.  A dated kitchen will probably translate into several thousand dollars less on a buyer's offer.  If this describes your kitchen, we want to update it as economically as possible.

If you have a relatively new kitchen and the cabinets are in good condition, freshen them up with a coat of wax.  If they are old and dated, painting them is an inexpensive option and will go a long way in modernizing the look and feel of the space.  As a bonus, painted cabinets are very trendy right now!  Another great idea is to remove some of the upper cabinet doors and paint the inside a light color or replace a couple of cabinet doors with a glass front. For some great suggestions on low-cost updates, color options, as well as an instructional video on how to paint your kitchen cabinets, check out the Better Homes and Gardens website.

Some low-cost and easy updates that are popular DIY projects include replacing cabinet hardware—a new sink and faucet.  Otherwise, make sure the tap does not drip and the handles work smoothly.  If your counters are in poor condition or highly outdated, the replacement will go a long way to sprucing up the kitchen as well. A tile backsplash also adds a great deal of impact by upgrading the lighting fixtures.

On the subject of lighting, the counter space must be bright and well lit.  Ikea offers some excellent and inexpensive options complete with installation instructions, and these are worth a look.  These are available at our local Twin Cities Ikea in Bloomington.

I do not recommend replacing appliances unless they are broken or extremely old. Those avocado green appliances are on the list of 10 biggest buyer turnoffs and may send a potential buyer looking for the nearest exit as she shouts, next!  If your devices are not that pretty dated but on the far side of their life cycle, replacing one of them with a trendy new model such as stainless steel will make a good impression.

Complete the kitchen by painting the soft cream, light tan, or pale warm gray walls.  With these few simple and relatively inexpensive improvements, you will be amazed at how much newer and refreshed your kitchen will look!

Bathrooms a Buyer Can Love

All your fixtures should be shiny and stain-free.  If all attempts at removing stains do not do the trick, consider replacing the toilet and sink. Re-caulk the tub, re-grout the tile if necessary, and replace the shower curtain and liner. Replace the toilet seat. If the tub is pitted and old, have it reglazed.  If the faucets drip, replace the washers, or if very dated, consider a new faucet. If the bathroom has 70's strip lighting, replace it.  This is also on the list of the top 10 biggest buyer turnoffs.

Put Your Home in Neutral

Walls, woodwork, and ceilings 

A neutral color palette is the best choice when listing your house for sale. Paint is the least expensive way to update and fresh up your home and a great DIY project. If you have any dark, bold, bright, or trendy wall colors, paint them a light tan, gray, or creamy white.  These colors will make your living space warm and inviting while providing a neutral canvas for the potential buyer to picture their furnishings against. If your walls are already neutral, consider a fresh coat of paint if they are faded or stained.  Refresh the ceilings with a new coat of white paint. If you have popcorn ceilings, consider replacing them.  This is also on the list of top 10 buyer turnoffs.  If you have painted any color other than white wood, repaint it white or freshen it up as necessary.


Hardwood floors are in great demand by buyers in today's market.  If you have carpet over hardwood, I suggest removing and refreshing the floors.  Several water-based products on the market do an excellent job without the cost of professional refinishing.  Check out your local home center.

If wood is not an option, and the carpets are worn, dated, or not a neutral color, you should replace them with an inexpensive neutral rug.  Otherwise, an excellent professional cleaning should be sufficient.

If you have any ceramic tile floors, replace any chipped or broken tiles.  Clean the grout and apply a sealer.

Windows and Doors

Make sure all windows open and close smoothly.  If they stick, try spraying a bit of WD40, which will often take care of the issue.  If you have any broken or cracked panes of glass, replace them.  Replace torn or sagging screens as well.  Ensure all the doors open without squeaking or sticking, and doorknobs turn smoothly.  WD40 works great on squeaks too!

Be critical and impartial as you go from room to room evaluating your property. View it through the eyes of a potential buyer. Update and refresh with minimal financial expenditure. Replace where necessary or appropriate making improvements which will give you the greatest return on the sale of your home.

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