Step 3: Getting It Ready

The House

A home is nearly never ready to market immediately. There are always things to be done that improve the buyers’ experiences and thereby improve the odds of the maximizing your sale price. But we understand, we don’t live in a perfect world, and it’s not always feasible to do “everything.”

We can help provide a hierarchy of priorities that will maximize your return and achieve you goals. Painting? Trim? A loose shingle? A basement that floods? We think ahead – not just about the buyers’ fist visits, but also about the inevitable home inspection. We can recommend great service providers. And we can be there if you can’t.


In our market, you are typically selling a home that is “done/redone”, “new” “up-to-date” if it has: granite/marble/quart countertops, renovated baths with fixtures not more than 15 years old, floors that are in great condition, no cracks in the walls or ceilings, paint that is of a modern palate and unblemished, and window dressings that are tidy, tasteful and clean. Buyers expect a home that has older countertops, dingy carpeting or scratched floors, old/out-dated baths and paint that is cracked or stained to be priced accordingly. Many buyers have a hard time seeing through these minor defects. It is very important to address as many of these kinds of items as you can before listing your house. We can help you lay out a path that is within your budget.

The Stuff

“Staging” is extraordinarily important. But you don’t always need to hire a stager or move our and rent furniture. The first step is to DE-CLUTTER. To make your home look like a photo in Real Simple Magazine — which is what will maximize the buyer’s experience — it needs to be as impersonal, simple, clean, and serene as possible.

Steps to “staging” a house you’re living in:

  1. Separate: The items you treasure, that are personal but not necessary until you’re in your new house, should be packed in boxes and stored for the move. Pack off-season clothes. Pack knick-knacks. Pack collections. Pack any photos, any art that is not “neutral”. Pack books. Pack as much as you possibly can.*
  2. Trash: If it’s not important enough for you to take, and it doesn’t add anything, get rid of it. If it’s something useable, donate it (Try Household Goods, formerly HGRM, in Acton, or, for items they don’t accept, Mimsy and Tucker, our dynamic duo of good deeds may be able to take any useable items for Bay Cove Human Services). Don’t forget the swap table or craigslist!
  3. Organize what remains. Organize inside your closet. Tidy your shoes. Buyers look inside your closets, open your cabinets, and see your linens. Tidy closets at about 30-50% capacity are the best. *
  4. Clean.*
  5. Rearrange. The way we live in our spaces isn’t always the way that takes the best photos. We can help with this part, and we always rearrange some during photos.

*We can help you hire someone for all these steps

If you are not living in the house and you want to maximize what buyers will pay, we recommend fully staging. The price tag for that is high, so we can help you be selective if you need to.