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how to make your house sell

How to Make Your House Sell

Making small changes to your house can attract many more interested buyers and a higher sale price. Not doing these things can often prevent your house from selling at all. Most of the tips below are things you can do without spending money. Even if you have to spend a little money, it is well worth spending $500 or $1,000 to get $20,000 or $50,000 more when the house sells. You may even be able to get more deductions at tax time.

Before the Open House

  • Make it look like a model home. Model homes are decorated with as little furniture and decoration as possible, making each room look much larger. Before you try to sell your home, have a garage sale to get rid of as much furniture as possible. Or, give things to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or your local thrift store. Even renting a storage unit can be worth the extra selling price.
  • Pack up or sell all the clutter. This includes knick-knacks, figurines, artificial plants, piles of magazines, and magazine racks. You can put items into storage, sell them at a garage sale, sell them on Ebay, or give them to charity (for another tax deduction).
  • Leave as little as possible on kitchen counters and almost nothing on bathroom counters.
  • Clutter even matters inside closets and cupboards. Let possible buyers be able to see how roomy they are instead of how stuffed they are. And, you don't want things falling out when they open the doors.
  • Removing your family pictures helps buyers picture their items in your rooms and themselves in your home.
  • If your chandelier was extremely expensive or you just can't live without it, replace it with an inexpensive one before you put the house up for sale. Whatever is attached to the house when it is offered for sale is required to stay. This would also apply to draperies, screen doors, and even Grandma's rose bushes.
  • Taking the time to remove wallpaper is pretty important. Many, many people don't want to see wallpaper at all, and most people will not have the same taste as you do. It can be a deal killer.
  • Replace all burned out lightbulbs inside and out.
  • Even if it is the middle of summer, light the heater's pilot light so buyers can see that the heater works.
  • Even if it is the middle of winter, make sure that the air conditioning is working.
  • Be sure to make every faucet and the showerhead sparkle. White vinegar should do the trick for all, but you can buy a faucet for very little money if yours is broken or falling apart.
  • Wash all the hand prints off walls, or paint.
  • Light wall colors, even white, open up a house and will appeal to many more perspective buyers.
  • When painting, add a few drops of vanilla extract to each can so there will be no paint smell.
  • Check the widows and sliding doors to be sure that they all open and close easily. Rubbing a bar of soap along the metal parts will help windows and doors glide.
  • Take care of any squeaks, and tighten any loose cupboards or knobs.
  • If you are short on time or not able to clean, paint, or repair, hire someone or ask your family and friends to help out.
  • Clean up the yards of any dead plants and junk.
  • Trim plants that are overgrown.
  • Hire some neighborhood kids to pull the noticeable weeds.
  • Pour vinegar on weeds showing in the patios or sidewalks to kill them.
  • Plant some flowers in the front yard. Pony-pack plants won't do for this unless you plant them at least a month before your open house. One-gallon or five-gallon plants create instant landscaping.
  • If something is falling off, like the porch light, fix it. If something is falling apart, replace it. If window screens are bent, replace them or remove them altogether.
  • Several days before the open house, put out several bowls of white vinegar to neutralize any bad odors in the house.

The Open House

  • Bake an apple pie or put cinnamon potpourri around the house. The smell of baking makes a home seem warm and inviting. For a stronger effect, place a few drops around the house of the different oils on the left side of this page.
  • Have the dogs stay with a relative or in a kennel, or treat them to a day with the groomer.
  • If it is at all cold, light a small fire in the fireplace for ambiance.
  • Open all the drapes and turn on all the lights.
  • Put a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter and a vase of fresh flowers on the dining room table. Another vase of fresh flowers in the bathroom is a great touch if the counter is not too small.


  • Ask your grocery store and appliance stores what day and time is best for you to get their empty boxes. Most stores cut them up and flatten them immediately if no one has asked for them in advance.
  • Check the newspaper to buy moving supplies second hand.
  • If you know of any homes in the area that have sold recently, ask the new owners if they will let you take their moving boxes and other suppiles off their hands.
  • Don't pack or store items in newspaper, it will stain some items and most of them will at least need cleaning. You can buy plain newspaper from a packing store, or wrap items with tissue before using regular newspaper.
  • If you use bubblewrap to pack or store items, keep the bubbles on the outside instead of against items or you may end up with round stains.
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