Main Content

Prepare to Sell

You can do a lot to increase the appeal of your property and to create a lasting impact on potential buyers. Walk through your home – inside and out – as if you were a potential buyer seeing it for the first time. Keep in mind that a large majority of home buyers are interested in a home that does not require much work to move into. Some of the questions they will be thinking about the house are:

  • Does it have curb appeal?
  • What features make it special?
  • What needs to be repaired? Replaced? Improved?
  • Is it clean?

This assessment can be difficult, particularly if you have an emotional attachment to the house. If it is, ask a close friend to do a walk-through and to give you an honest opinion. Of course, as your realtor, we’d be happy to do a walkthrough with you as well.

What to Do to Prepare:

Here are a few factors to keep in mind when preparing your property to list it for sale:

Curb Appeal
Create an immediate positive impact on passers-by and potential buyers by doing these things to improve your curb appeal:

  • Paint or replace the front door to create a pleasant impression.
  • Replace faded, chipped or outdated outdoor light fixtures.
  • Pull the weeds, remove fallen leaves and debris, and fertilize your lawn to make it look lush and green.
  • Plant flowers and trim overgrown shrubbery and low lying tree limbs.
  • Spread wood chips or landscaping stones in the beds.

Property Repairs and Disclosures
Make a list of all the necessary repairs and improvements, and decide which ones will generate the greatest return on your investment of time and money. In Michigan, sellers are required to complete a Seller’s Disclosure Statement, which informs buyers about the condition of the property, based on the seller’s knowledge of the property. The Seller’s Disclosure includes information about the appliances and mechanicals (such as the furnace and water heater), as well as about whether there has ever been a flood or other environmental condition at the home. Depending on your budget, you may want to consider the impact your Seller’s Disclosure will have on potential buyers if certain repairs aren’t made. We are very familiar with the legal procedures involved in disclosures and are ready to help you, as you fill out the disclosure statements beneficial to both you and the buyer, as well as suggest home improvement measures before placing your property on the market. We can help you prioritize the repairs. Aside from larger items you may want to address that would be noted on the Seller’s Disclosure, minor repairs you may want to consider that may leave a positive impression on potential buyers include:

  • Repair or replace a broken doorbell, and replace torn screens in windows and back doors, as well as downed shutters, gutters and downspouts.
  • Change or polish rusted/weathered/faded or outdated door knobs and light fixtures.
  • Paint any trim – inside or outside – that is blistering or marked up.
  • Fill in holes and paint damaged or scratched walls.
  • Lubricate sliding and folding doors so that they move freely.

First Impressions Are Important

Have you ever gone into a dirty space and wanted to linger there? Probably not. Potential buyers won’t, either. The best way to get potential buyers to spend enough time in your home to see its true value is to present them with a clean, inviting space. Deep clean your home, if possible, before listing it. Even if you can’t deep clean it, make sure that the kitchen, bathrooms and floors are picked up and wiped clean before every showing. Keep your property uncluttered, sweet-smelling and well-lit from top-to-bottom. Pay attention to details: put away the kitty litter, place a vase of fresh flowers near the entryway, pop a batch of cinnamon rolls in the oven, have your carpets cleaned. At Vanderhoef Properties, we can walk through your property with you before you list it, if you wish, to see how you can improve the staging of your property.

If you’re like most people, over the years you’ve accumulated a lot of “wonderful” things. However, now when you open your closet doors, look in the basement or try to find something you really do need, you’re heard muttering to yourself, “where did I get all this stuff?” To get the most money for your house, eliminate the “stuff.” Clutter is bad! It makes your house feel smaller and leaves potential buyers with a negative impression. Try some of these ideas to remove clutter:

  • Remove out of season clothes and unnecessary items from the basement, garage, and closets. Overflowing closets and rooms make buyers feel that there is not enough storage space.
  • Prepack all items which clutter your home, such as extra toys, tools, books, old files, memorabilia and exercise equipment. Throw away, or donate to charity, things you no longer need.
  • If necessary, rent a storage unit to store unneeded items. The expense could be well worth it. Plus, many places will give you the first month free.
  • Stack the remaining items neatly against the walls in storage areas, such as the garage and basement, to show maximum space.

Final Preparations for Showings

The things mentioned above will help put your home in the best “showing” condition. But here’s a quick checklist for last minute preparations before your showings:


  • Open the drapes and blinds to brighten the home.
  • Turn on the lights in each room, including the basement and garage.
  • Make beds, straighten closets, vacuum, do the dishes and put the laundry away.
  • Put fresh flowers in the kitchen, and fresh towels and soap in the bathrooms.
  • Remove or lock away all jewelry and valuables that could be easily taken.


  • Cut and edge the lawn.
  • If you have any pets, make sure the yard is clean.
  • Keep your garage neat and close the door.
  • Walk around the yard to pick up any fallen branches, toys or other items.
  • In the winter, be sure that the driveway, walk and porch are free of ice and snow.

It’s Showtime!

Presenting your property to potential buyers is a job that we will take care of for you. Buyers feel more comfortable walking through your home if you’re not there. If they aren’t represented by their own agent, we will be there to walk through your home with them. If they’re with their own agent, we’ll follow up with the agent afterward to get feedback from the potential buyer. In either case, we’ll communicate with them one way or the other to provide them with the information that will be most useful in representing your interests to them!