tips for improving the value of your home

Preparation before Selling

Follow these guidelines to maximize the sales price of your home. All may not apply but 

you may find something in this list that you might otherwise overlook. 


  • Trim back all trees and shrubs that block the view of the house. 
  • Remove any dead plants, flowers, and shrubs. 
  • Keep walkways, paths, sidewalks, and gutters free of weeds and debris. 
  • Mow the lawn weekly during the spring, summer, and fall. Mow as necessary during the winter. Spot seed or patch brown spots with sod. 
  • Plant flowers and shrubs that add color and brighten your lawn and landscaping. 
  • Use redwood compost, decorative bark, etc. as dressing around the base of plants, shrubs and trees. 
  • Keep tools, garbage cans, hoses, toys, and other items stored neatly in the garage or shed when not in use. 
  • Repair any cracks/corrosion present in gutters and touch up with matching paint. 
  • Check for broken or cracked shingles or roofing tiles. A pre-emptive roof inspection with repairs can save a lot of headaches later. 
  • Check for worn, corroded, or rusted flashing around vents and chimneys. Spot clean and use protective paint on all areas to match. 
  • Watch for worn or missing tape around pipe vents on roof. Reseal with Cal-Pico tape as necessary. 
  • Clear patios and decks of barbeques, charcoal, utensils, etc. 
  • Check for rotted boards and posts in decking and fencing. Add support for weak fence posts by adding 'sister posts' or consider replacing posts. 
  • Use outdoor stain, sealants, and protectants to brighten up bleached decking and fences. 
  • Add low voltage outdoor lighting in the front and backyard to enhance landscaping and prevent accidents on dark walkways. 


  • Increase the wattage of bulbs in light fixtures to the maximum that is safe. 
  • Keep entryway flooring spotless and have a mat outside for wiping feet. 
  • Check tack stripping in corners of carpeted rooms for gaps. Consider stretching carpet where it's loose. 
  • Vacuum often. Dirty carpets wear out faster and unevenly. 
  • Keep all windows and sills clean. Use razor blades to remove paint, decals, etc. 
  • Keep all woodwork spotless. Use 'Liquid Gold' or a similar wood restorative to make cabinets and trim look new. 
  • Dust regularly and watch for cobwebs in corners and on light fixtures. 
  • Paint any room that needs more than a little touch up. If you aren't sure, take down a picture from the wall and look at the room again. 
  • Good colors of interior paint would be: antique white, bone, frost, swiss coffee. Stay away from pure white or eggshell as well as darker colors. 


  • Replace worn or dated furniture and keep traffic areas clear. Too much furniture will visually reduce the size of the room. Too many pictures on the wall will do the same. 
  • Keep bookshelves neat and organized. Try to eliminate clutter. Don't hesitate to box up excess magazines, video tapes, CD's, albums, personal collections, etc. 
  • Visit model homes, designer showcases, and furniture show rooms for more ideas. 
  • Upgrade old or worn curtains with new.  Mini-blinds and vertical blinds are preferable to heavy drapes. 
  • Keep fresh flowers from the garden, florist, or supermarket out. Avoid strong potpourri and other air fresheners. 


  • Professionally clean all appliances, counters, backsplashes, cabinets, and floors. 
  • Replace broken, worn or outdated knobs and hinges on cabinets. 
  • Make sure all cabinets close properly and all drawers operate smoothly. 
  • Replace or reface if practical; stovetops, ovens, fan hoods, and other appliances that are avocado, pink, blue, yellow, or brown. White, almond, or beige are preferable colors. 
  • Keep counters clean and clear. Anything not used daily in the kitchen should be stored out of sight. The more space you have available on the counter, the larger and more inviting the kitchen appears. 
  • If linoleum is cut, pitted, worn, or a loud and busy pattern; consider replacing it with a neutral and subtle-patterned sheet. Do not install linoleum squares. 
  • Consider upgrading linoleum to new parquet, random plank, pergo, etc. 


  • Always keep counters clear. Put away bath toys, shampoo bottles, etc. Keep daily toiletries in a basket that can be stored underneath the sink or in a cabinet. 
  • Strip out and replace old grouting and caulking at the slightest hint of discoloration. 
  • Make sure faucets don't leak and replace any fixtures that have lost their finish. 
  • Strip old wallpaper and paint. Three-dimensional or foil wallpaper must go. 
  • Keep bathrooms spotless and smelling slightly of cleaning products. Tilex, Lysol, Bathroom Duck, etc., work great. 
  • Consider replacing tiling around tubs and showers if the colors are dated. 
  • Ditto for old shower enclosures, curtains, etc. 


  • Keep curtains open to let in more light (unless they face a busy street, freeway, etc.) 
  • Keep extra furniture to a minimum. 
  • Limit pictures, paintings, photographs, wall hangings to a minimum. 
  • Fill the closets with toys, clothes, and anything else that might be left out. Anything extra reduces the size of the room. 


  • Keep as many items as possible neatly stored in rafters, cabinets, or boxes. 
  • Try to make the garage (one, two, or three car) appear to accomodate that many vehicles, even if it's full of stored items and boxes. 
  • Get rid of unwanted or seldom used items as often as possible through garage sales.


  • Keep fireplaces clean. Replace old grates and screens that are worn or unattractive. 
  • Keep window screens and vent screens in good repair. If screens are not necessary for certain windows, remove and store them in the garage. 
  • Make sure doorknobs aren't loose and all doors latch properly 
  • Replace yellowed, worn, cracked, broken, or missing faceplates for switches and outlets. 
  • Patch and paint settlement cracks on a regular basis. 
  • Repair lifted or severely cracked walkways and driveways. 
  • Don't use the front yard, side yard, or backyard to store cars, boats, and other large items. Get a storage unit for this and anything else that affects the visual impression of the property. 
  • Have pets out of the way as much as possible. Even iguanas, parakeets, and aquariums distract a buyer from focusing on the house. Also keep in mind that many buyers may have allergies to your pets. Try to keep the property as hypo-allergenic as possible (i.e. cat hair, dog hair, visible catboxes and pet bedding, etc). 


Common sense should dictate what must be done and what might be done. Keep this thought in mind, "What if I were considering buying the house?" Walk across the street and look at your home as if you were looking at it for the first time. And don't forget to call me about any tough decisions in updating your home.