Preparing your home for sale can go well beyond fresh paint and carpet. To wow a buyer in a competitive market requires attention to detail. A few tips can help.


Buyer perception is the key component to putting your home on the bullet train from listed to sold. While many of the steps along the way are intuitive, others may be less so.

What steps can you take beyond a fresh coat of paint, some landscaping attention and a major deep clean?

Here are five things to consider to help your home give potential buyers the “WOW!” moment they covet.

Hook 'em Early

Prepped Entryway

You likely already know that curb appeal can go a long way toward a positive first impression, making landscaping and exterior considerations imperative. However, just as important as that first impression on the outside, is a buyer’s initial emotional reaction to the interior of your home.

To get it right means to honestly assess your home from the entry with fresh eyes.

What do you notice?
Do you have a bright clean and inviting entryway?

If not, it is likely that clutter, space issues and disorganization are the culprits. This presents an obvious starting point for any work on your home.

  • A front door in a bold accent color with shiny new hardware can add visual interest
  • Colorful rugs create a warm and inviting feel
  • Touch-up paint can hide the scuffs and dings of everyday use in high traffic areas
  • Organized and neat applies to the entry, but also closets and storage areas


In general, most people simply have too much furniture to showcase the space potential of their home. For this reason you may want to consider renting a storage unit and removing roughly half of your furniture. While this may sound extreme, the line between well-staged and nearly vacant can be tighter than you think. The sweet spot is just enough décor and color to show the potential of the space.


When in doubt, tune in to a home improvement show just in time for the reveal and note the general lack of furniture and what is (and isn’t) on display in each room.

  • Remove everyday items from every space
  • Countertops should be empty with a simple and colorful centerpiece on the kitchen table
  • Even unseen areas like cupboards and your refrigerator should be cleaned, organized and Spartan in appearance

Prep for Sale


Family pictures do a great job of making your home your own, but buyers need to visualize it as their home. This means removing anything that destroys that myth. Whether that means simply removing pictures or painting over the mural in your son’s room, anything you can to do to perpetuate that feeling can help.


The key is to be appealing but non-specific. They know someone lives here currently, but they need to envision the future when they do.

  • Collectibles should be placed in storage, pet supplies stowed
  • Consider carefully if your bold accent wall is neutral enough to make the cut
  • Books and knickknacks can be too personal and add clutter
  • Don't forget that jewelry, valuables and medication should also be removed

Focus on Lighting

Clean and bright is inherently appealing. Optimally every showing will be during the day with natural light streaming in from every window. While that may not be feasible, you should strive to approximate the effect.

  • Swap out heavy window treatments and clean those windows!
  • Consider installing new light fixtures to deliver a brighter, more updated look
  • Supplement natural light with strategic lamp placement
  • Replace lightbulbs with an increased wattage

Give every space purpose

Dreaming requires a nudge at times and a space must be defined before you can make it your own. While your spare bedroom may serve as scrapbooking headquarters today, your buyer needs to see it differently. Help them along by adding a bed.


Visual cues can be more subtle, but they are important. If buyers are confused by the nuances of your floor-plan, they may be less apt to appreciate the possibilities of all of this space. 

  • A lamp and chair can strategically subdivide a large undefined space into a reading nook
  • A large open living room may work better as two conversation areas
  • Consider hiding or removing your TV so you no longer have to engineer seating around it
  • Convert that unused basement room into an office or workout center


The Bottom Line

While interior design and detail work may not be your forte, it is undoubtedly in the skillset of your real estate agent. The best advice to define where to spend energy in preparing your home for sale is to ask. Engage an experienced local pro, trust their wisdom and heed their advice. They walk through literally thousands of homes a year and they are savvy enough to know what works and what doesn’t. Lean into this expertise to make your home shine in a crowded marketplace.


If you are interested in a free consultation to define how to showcase your home, Zach Adams has the experience to ensure your home tells the right story to buyers. He has over two decades of experience and 100s of transactions in the west metro of Minneapolis.


A walkthrough of your home is always complimentary, and a great first step. You’ll receive a free valuation, competitive market analysis and advice for next steps. Contact Zach today at 612.656.9647 to get started.