What I did to sell my home in less than 1 week




Being a realtor, I know what can help or hurt a listing. When it came time for me to sell my own home, I was determined to make it look perfect and to sell it quickly. If I can’t sell my own home quick, why should clients trust me to sell theirs?

Regardless of being a Realtor, when it comes to your own home you can’t help but think like a Seller. Of course I wanted to sell my home for $100k higher than the value. If I don’t have to invest more into the home, I don’t want to. I don’t want a “For Sale” sign out front or strangers in my home while I am gone… I had to constantly take a step back and make sure I was doing what I would tell my clients to do.

After a lot of hard work, my home received an offer the first week. The feedback I received from the showings and the brokers tour were great. There was nothing I could do to make my home more sell-able. Besides pricing it reasonably, here are the steps you can take to help sell your home as quick as possible:

Step 1 - Research 

Go to model homes to get inspiration. Take pictures so you can imitate the looks at home.  A well staged model home is not overly decorated. It is decorated to enhance the beauty and architectural features of the home while masking the non-desirable items. You rarely notice the lack of storage in a model because it is staged to appear abundant.

Step 2 - De-clutter

This is VERY important, even for homes without clutter. Rent a storage unit, DO NOT put everything in your garage or closets. You will need to de-clutter those areas as well. 

Go room by room, and take most of your personal decor away. You want the buyer to be able to see themselves living in the home with their things. Rooms are better off empty than cluttered.  
  • Remove extra or oversized furniture. (If you have a small dining room, take a leaf out of your table and remove extra chairs)
  • Stage your closets. Keep only the clothes in season and store the rest. This is especially important if you are currently tight on storage. 
  • Say good bye to junk drawers. Buyers often open kitchen and bathroom drawers. 
  • Clean out your refrigerator, pantry and under the kitchen sink. People look in all of those places when they are considering purchasing your home.
  • Store most the children's/pets toys. It will make it easier for showings if you do this up front!

Step 3 - De-personalize

  • Remove every single photo in your home that has a person in it. No exceptions. If the frame must stay, replace the photo with a magazine cut out. I did this in several decorative frames in our bonus room, above the master bed and on my kids nightstands. Go to the local grocery store and pick up a couple home design, photography or even the free luxury home magazines. This will keep your home decorated and de-personalized. (Remember the model homes? They have frames throughout but it doesn't feel like you are walking through someone else's home.)
  • Paint all walls a neutral color. This may be hard work, but it is worth it. Some buyers cannot see past colored walls, and others over estimate the cost to repaint. 
  • If you have any outgoing pieces of art or furniture, put it in storage. The buyers want to envision themselves living in the home, not you.

Step 4 - Clean

Deep clean your home. Here are some commonly missed areas that we often notice in homes. 
  • Light switches
  • Stove hood
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator 
  • Kitchen and Bathroom knobs
  • Baseboards
  • Windows and window sills
  • Sliding glass door tracts
  • Showers/bathtubs
  • Enclosed light fixtures- Exterior, chandeliers, showers/bathtubs (Clean out the dead bugs)
  • Dust Exhaust vents & ceiling fans
  • Dust window coverings
  • TV screens (Use special electronic cleaner. DO NOT use Windex. It leaves a film.)

Step 5 - Repairs

Take the initiative to fix small things that you know of. Most likely, the buyer will request them to be done anyways. 
  • Re-screen sliding doors or windows screens if necessary. (This is a VERY easy DIY! You only need to purchase a small Screen tool and some screen. I learned how to do it by watching a YouTube video. https://youtu.be/M0IJhQlHhNE)
  • Touch up every nail hole, mark or scuff on the walls or baseboards. Keep the paint handy over the next couple days. After you think you have found them all, you will find a couple spots you missed.
  • Re-caulk bathtubs or showers if necessary
  • Add bark to front and back yard

Step 5 - Bring someone else into your home for a second opinion

After I thought my home was ready to go, I had my mother (who is also a realtor) walk through the house as if she was the pickiest buyer. She was the one who pointed out that my slider needed to be re-screened and my TV needed to be cleaned.

Step 6 – Bury a Saint Joseph statue (optional)

I was determined to get my home sold quickly! My husband thought I was joking, but I was serious. I made him dig a 12” hole near the For Sale sign for my Saint Joseph. I put him upside down with his hands facing the front of my house. Can’t hurt, right? 





Showings and Open Houses – First impressions are crucial!

  • Turned on soft instrumental jazz music throughout the house and yard. 
  • Turned on front yard and backyard fountains
  • Turned every light in the house on, including table and bedside lamps. 
  • Mopped the floors. 
  • Wiped down the kitchen counters.
  • Made sure my air freshener was on.
  • A quick run through - I would go through the house with a laundry basket and toss any misplaced clothes or toys in it, and store it in my car. 
My home backed to a busy street, so minimizing road noise was important. I cancelled our first open house because of the rain. I knew the rain would make the cars sound much louder than normal. I didn’t want a bad first impression. 

“You have to spend money to make money.”

I chose to invest in a few items to get my home ready to sell. I believe my small investment had a great return. Below are the items I thought would help the sale of my home.
Decor - I purchased a large mirror and piece of art at World Market to replace my family portraits.
Plants - We added a few large pots and flowers near the front door. I also found a great wreath at Home Goods. 

Bark -
We purchased bark for our yard and spent a Saturday with the kids, spreading it around. It made the yard look great!
White Tea Scent DiffuserScent Air - I saw this in a model home and have been obsessed with it since! It is the best air freshener and you can control how strong the scent is. I loved it so much, I have purchased two diffusers and have subscribed to a monthly refill shipment.
https://www.westinstore.com/productDetail.aspx?White-Tea-Scent-Diffuser 

Color Seal Grout - I think I paid about $1,600 for my downstairs living area (roughly 1500 SF) to have the grout redone. This made a huge difference. My grout had become discolored from kids and dogs, it even started deteriorating because I had it cleaned so often. We were contemplating installing hardwood floors because the grout drove me crazy. We saved a significant amount of money by having this done, and it looked amazing! I wish we had done it when we first moved in.

Carpet replacement/ cleaning - I invested about $1,000 total in carpet replacement and cleaning. I had a carpet cleaning company come with a black light to find hidden spots from my naughty dogs. It is very important to hire a good carpet cleaning company to treat and extract the pet stains, instead of shampooing them into the carpet. (I highly recommend Upright Carpet Cleaning and Restoration 916-291-3661.) I had our carpet and pad replaced in the downstairs work out room.


Check out the final product: