The 4 "D's" of Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

Real Estate

Get Your Home Ready To Sell

The 4 “D’s”

I am regularly asked what can we do to make sure our house will sell quickly for the most amount of money.  Aside from pricing it correctly, it is important to “prepare” your home for sale.  It really boils down to a 4 step process I like to call the 4 “D’s”: Disassociate, Declutter, Depersonalize and Dress it for Sale.

Disassociate/Detach:   You have already decided to sell your home.  Even so, it can be an emotional and stressful decision.  Letting go can be difficult — especially if you have lived there for a long period of time. To detach from it emotionally, you must realize that without you in it, the house is just a shell to be filled by other occupants. Look to the future, where you can make new memories in your next home.

Declutter:  Now is a great time to go through items you have collected over the years.  We often do not realize how much “stuff” we have until it’s time to move.  Now is the time to decide whether to keep or to discard items.  Discard items in a useful way by donating them to a charity or nonprofit organization.  There are many local charities that can put your unwanted items to good use. These items not only help those in need but some are tax-deductible.  For items that are not accepted, you can schedule a special trash pick up with Burrtec or your trash service.

Organize closets and storage cabinets.  Again, you have already decided to move. Buyers will be curious about storage space and will want to check closets and cabinets. If your cabinets are overflowing with items, it will send the message that the home is lacking needed storage.  When a buyer sees everything organized down to the last detail, it shows that you take care of your possessions and likely took good care of the house.

Depersonalize: Pack up your personal photographs, family heirlooms, and other objects and clutter that might distract potential buyers. You want to buyers to visualize themselves in your home and not be distracted with who the current owners might be. Depersonalizing your home makes it easier for potential buyers to visualize how the home will look filled with their belongings.

Dress:  “Dressing” your home for sale includes making minor repairs, cleaning it and staging it for sale.  Replace damaged floor or counter tiles and patch any holes in the walls. Fix leaky faucets and doors that don't close properly, as well as other items of deferred maintenance. Paint your walls a neutral color or even “swiss coffee” also known as “builder’s white”.  This will give your home a light and bright feeling.

Replace burned-out light bulbs, make sure smoke detector batteries have been replaced and if you do not currently have carbon monoxide detectors in your home you will want to install them.

Next, you will want to thoroughly clean your home.  You may wish to hire a professional cleaning crew.  Having your windows washed and exterior of your home power washed may enhance its curb appeal.  Speaking of curb appeal, make sure your landscaping is clean and consider planting flowers along the entrance to your home or adding a pot or two of fresh flowers near the front door.  There is an old wives tale that yellow flowers are good luck for selling your home!

Finally, consider “staging” your home for sale.  While you may consider a professional stager, the purpose of “staging” is to allow your home’s rooms to show themselves.  Make sure each room has a purpose and the furniture shows what that purpose is.

Bonus tip:  On showing days or when having an open house you may wish to prepare it for the showing.  Here are a few things you can do to help your home “show” in its best light:

Keep draperies and shades open to let in the light.
Place fresh flowers in the house.
Have your home well-lit during showing.
For evening showings, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting in back if you have it.
Set out colorful, luxurious towels in the bathroom.
Avoid having dirty dishes in the sink or on counters.
Keep any toys in the children’s rooms, bikes, wagons and skateboards in the garage.
Play pleasant music at low volume.
Spend the day of an open house away from home.
Leave pets outdoors or even better, take them with you or make arrangements for their care.


For more tips and suggestions on selling your home, please call me at (760)799-5577 or email me at kimberly@kimberlyoleson.com.