Preparing Your House to Sell…to You

Marian Parsonshome improvement, My House, Tutorials34 Comments

Every once in a while, I look at my home with a critical eye.  Most days, I walk past all of the things that are undone and I don’t really notice them.  It’s easy to get used to something in your home that is unfinished, broken, or downright ugly. 

I’m living right now in the second house we’ve owned.  The first one was a 1980’s town house that needed some major cosmetic work.  We painted every wall surface, refaced the cabinets, installed Brazilian cherry floors, updated all of the fixtures, put up molding and installed pot lights.  It was a two year labor of love that we finished the week we put it on the market to sell.  I was sad that I never got to live in the place when it was totally finished.  Someone else enjoyed the fruits of our labor. 

Our current home has been a four year labor of love and it’s still a work in progress, but I am determined that things will be finished for us to enjoy long before we sell it.  This includes all of the small things I live with and tolerate.  For example, the inside of my master bedroom closet is mauve.  I just don’t want to take everything out to paint it.  What a pain! 

As we’re approaching the new year when people want to refresh their space, a good place to start is to “put your house on the market.”  Walk around and look at your home the way a stager or realtor would.  Don’t look at the huge renovations you want to do, but look at the small things you would take care of if you were selling your home.  What small repairs need to be made?  What rooms need to be decluttered and organized?  What furniture arrangements aren’t working?  How you can make your home look more inviting?

Take time to finish the projects on that list.  Don’t wait until you have to sell to do them.  Why does a buyer deserve a better home than you do?  Why let someone else enjoy the fruits of your labor?  And why not live in a home that is living up to its fullest potential?

Miss Mustard Seed
Preparing Your House to Sell…to You

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34 Comments on “Preparing Your House to Sell…to You”

  1. That's a great point– the buyer doesn't deserve a better home than you! I'm all for getting projects done around the house. Which reminds me, we have some work to do around here (:

  2. Excellent point.

    When my home was getting worked on, I wanted to leave the kitchen because of the cost involved. I was heavily encouraged to DO IT ALL because the kitchen would indeed have to be done if I ever wanted to sell it anyway. So why not live in it?

    So that's what I did. Indeed I carry a loan for it, but at least I don't hate my house every minute I'm in it. That was worth the loan right there.

    (my kitchen needed gutting… luckily not all do)


  3. This is such a good post. I've heard it said if you want to change your home so that you can enjoy it–walk through it literally with a clipboard in hand taking note of all the little odd and end items that you can do something about immediately.

    Start by making those changes first motivates you to do other projects that will lead to enjoyment and satisfaction after they're done.

    Thanks for this reminder.

  4. What a great topic. We just moved into our 1st home this year and the list of to-dos is long!

    I can't help but want to do it all now so I can enjoy it like you said. But I love learning from homeowners like yourself who have some great tips too!

  5. You are so right! My old house looked just the way I always wanted it to when we put it up for sale…and I'm sitting here doing the same thing again. I'm making some New Year's resolutions!!

  6. It's Christmas and I am in the middle of this process right now. I admit it has been a little overwhelming because so much needs to be done, and I want it done now. I just need to keep reminding myself to keep steadily plugging along. Jackie

  7. This is such a good post! Our home was such an unloved little house when we bought it, and we are knee-deep in the renovation process! But I love this idea of walking through and really noticing the little things that need improvement, that can make living in your home more enjoyable! Sometimes I am afraid by the time we complete our home, we will just sell it for some reason! I like what you said about getting your home ready to sell for yourself! What a great concept. 🙂

    I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season so far!

    {Beautiful Nest}

  8. Great post, & important point. Where can I get some fresh eyes to tour my house with? I need to write down my list as I walk around, otherwise all those little jobs will turn back into 'wallpaper' & I won't remember them!

  9. You have a lovely home! I definitely wouldn't part with it, if I were you. 🙂 We're in our third house, our Forever Home. It's nice to finally sit down and do what you suggest. I love our home and definitely want to enjoy the work we've done.

    You blog is so inspiring. Every time I read it, I find more things to love.

  10. This is so true! Both of the houses that we've owned and sold (we just moved into house #3 a week ago) have been beautiful….in time for someone else to enjoy them. Although, I have to say….I enjoyed cashing the checks that allowed me to turn a profit on those homes even in this economy, so I guess it was win-win! Still, I want to enjoy our current home from the get-go. 😉

  11. Great advice Marion…now that the kids are grown and gone we are doing all the "catch up" things to make our home more enjoyable for us!

  12. We'll be taking a look at things this coming year, I think. Plans are to find a new home sometime soon, and that means assessing what needs finished on this one first!

  13. Marian, those are words of wisdom….why is a buyer entitled to a better home than you? Your suggestion to look through the home with a critical eye is a great one. I need to do some serious "looking" right after Christmas.

  14. I think its interested that you've posted this as dh and I have been discussing this same thing for 5 months. My cousin (who has the same model as us down the street) had to move out of state and left the house empty and on the market. We walked thru one time and numbered the things that REALLY had to happen for a good sale price. Then we came home and did the same thing…Its such an eye opener!

  15. Boy, are you right on this one! This was the kick in the pants I needed. I, too, keep passing by the same old unfinished things and little areas of clutter that go on unfinished and not taken care of. I often watch those sell your house shows and think 'How'd they live like that? Why are they doing all that work for the next owners?!' Oops…I guess I should look at my own house. How I long to post real pictures of my own home on my blog but I'm so worried everyone will see how it really looks…yikes! When people see my booth or the things I create and often say, "Your home must be just beautiful!" I just smile politely.
    Well, thank you for the boost to perhaps make that a true statement!
    Blessings to you dear!

    P.S. Thank you again for keepin' it real with your readers.

  16. Great advice! The last house we lived in was not finished until we put it on the market, too. I'm going to look around and make some goals! Maybe I'll finally finish that slipcover!

  17. Marian,

    That's great advice. When I get discouraged with my home I do what I call the "Spring Clean and Fix Up"…same premise and it usually works better than I had hoped.:-)
    Karen at Garden Home and Party

  18. GREAT Post! I have a tile floor that looks like that first wall. Needs some TLC and this christmas I want to fix it. That's it, I'm putting it on my list now. thanks for the inspiration!

    –Catherine from

  19. Great idea!! I love moving into a new place, when it's all fresh and clean, organized..etc. It's amazing what we live with just because it's not the ighest priority on the list, but I'm guessing that when guests come over, they don't miss the eye sores! haha Thanks for the reminders to keep at it!!


  20. We did that too! Worked so hard to finish all the tasks we had on our wish list! Then we sold it…we too never got to enjoy it. Sigh!
    And it looks like we are doing that again. But money and time dictates!!!

  21. Funny how so many of us did the same thing: Poured so much blood, sweat, and tears into our first home…then turned around and sold it before the paint was dry. Hubby has wanted no part of home improvement on our second home. Sigh!

  22. what a great reminder. I am forever thinking of new projects to do when what I really need to do is finish some old ones!
    What can I say, I am a planner and a starter, not a finisher. But, I know I would love my home that much more if I did finish projects.

    As always, thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  23. oh what a point you have made. I'm looking at my bedroom now seeing a few things that need to be done in here. Thank you for pointing this out.

  24. I have been so busy with work the past few years that designing my own home has fallen to the wayside. We moved into our newly built house in 2005 and in 2006 I launched my business. Projects around here have been waiting along time to get done. This year I am taking the time to finally start working on the mile long To-Do list. Finding balance between home and work in my life is a continuous challenge as I am sure for many other working Moms!

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