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Preparing Your Home for Sale

The RE/MAX Auction House Guide to Preparing Your Home for Sale

Real Estate Marketing / July 5, 2021

Preparing your home for sale doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking, but it requires some strategy. Whether you’re looking at traditional sale or selling through online auction, there are important steps to take to make your home ready for potential buyers. 

As real estate experts based in Kansas City, RE/MAX Auction House serves the region through traditional and online auction real estate. Our team wants to provide the best resources for our buyers and sellers. One of the major questions our sellers ask is “What do I need to do to prepare my home for sale?” 

Below we discuss tips for prepping your house to sell and getting it ready for an open house!

Get your home evaluated by real estate professionals

It’s difficult to imagine what exact things might need to change to help your home sell or increase the value of your sale. One of the best ways to help is to enlist real estate professionals to complete a property assessment. 

empty home photo for preparing your home for sale

RE/MAX Auction House’s team takes your own home sale goals into consideration along with market data and comparable sales. If we feel that certain updates will help your property sell for the highest market value, we will walk you through our suggestions for what you can do. This also helps us determine the starting bid price if you are selling your home through auction.

Why we encourage open houses

While an open house is not mandatory for selling your home, we highly encourage them for sellers. Below are key benefits of open houses 🏡

Keeps the home top of mind for buyers

When looking to buy a home, people are viewing a ton of properties online or through print. This makes it even more challenging to stand out. When buyers view a listing in person, it makes the listing more “real” in the sense that they’ve seen the physical space. Viewing a home at an open house keeps the listing much more top of mind to buyers than listings where they’ve only seen pictures.

Increases buyer confidence

Buying a home “sight unseen” has become more prevalent than ever. And while a lot of successful home sales can happen with buyers not seeing the home until after the purchase, this may not be an ideal situation for some buyers. With an open house, buyers get an extra level of confidence by viewing the home in person and knowing more about it on a deeper level. If you increase potential buyer confidence, you increase the chances of selling your listing! 

Shows transparency

Hosting an open house for buyers to come in and experience the physical space increases transparency exponentially. While you can really get a sense of a home through high-quality photos and videos, many people feel most comfortable when they see the property in person. 

💡 Even if potential buyers miss out on the date of the open house, that detail in the online listing still shows that the sellers were transparent with the home, helping assure future shoppers.

The goal of real estate photos, videos, and open houses 

Before we go more into details on preparing your home for sale, let’s talk about the key priority of the visuals that go into your real estate listing. With all the property photos, videos, and the open house, we want to help buyers envision themselves in the home. 

Keeping this perspective in mind while selling your home is important. This is sometimes challenging for sellers because they may feel very sentimental about the home, which is normal, but not always helpful for the sale. The best thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is help buyers envision themselves there.

photo of home's entryway ready for preparing your home for sale

On that note, let’s go over real estate photos, videos, and open house tips!


A cluttered space with personal belongings everywhere is not ideal for home buyers. It can make the place feel cramped and chaotic. It also makes it extremely difficult for buyers to be able to easily see how their own possessions could work in the home. Additionally, a lot of clutter could make buyers think the owners don’t take good care of or maintain the house, and people prefer a clean slate.

If you’re living in the home:

  • Make use of your storage spaces
  • Get rid of unnecessary clutter or put it in storage
  • Dust and tidy

If you’re not living in the home:

  • An empty house is great for an open house. Make sure there are no random objects strewn about, like tools or cleaning supplies.

Cleanliness & Safety

You of course want to make sure that all surfaces and floors are clean and free of dirt and dust. One aspect to focus on with cleanliness is smell. It’s easy to not notice odors if you’re around them all the time, but smells from pets, dirty clothes, and other types of odors can really stand out to buyers during an open house. 

  • Open windows to circumvent fresh air throughout the home
  • Clean soft surfaces that trap odors, like carpets, bedding, and pillows
  • Get rid of pet odors
  • Make sure dirty laundry is done or out of sight/scent proximity 
  • Use natural odor absorbers like baking soda or charcoal
  • Don’t try to heavily mask a smell with a ton of air fresheners. This can be off putting and may disturb those with allergies

For safety, just make sure there is nothing in the home that could be unsafe for others. This includes something like a bad piece of wood on a porch step. Your real estate agent can help you detect potential safety concerns during your property assessment.

De-personalize your home

For those who are more sentimental, this can be a hard step, but it is necessary. You want to de-personalize the home so buyers can see themselves in the space more easily. Though you may love showing these items to friends and family, buyers are there to get to know the house, not you!

Types of personal items to put away:

  • Personal photos 
  • Calendars and agenda boards
  • Personal hobby, religious, or political objects
  • Memorabilia or collections
  • Children’s toys

Items that you can use to “neutralize” your space:

  • Plants
  • Neutral art
  • Furniture covers to cover “loud” patterns
  • Simple decorative objects like vases or bookends

While you want to get rid of objects that are personal to you, it’s a good idea to keep the home looking cozy and lived in. Rearranging some of your decor using neutral items you already have can help the space still look put together.

The day of the open house

Below are several great etiquette tips for sellers for the day of the open house.

Make sure you are not there

We know a lot of sellers really want to be present for their open house. To be frank, however, owners being present distracts buyers for a couple of reasons.

  1. It’s your realtor’s job to sell the house and explain all the details and talking points to buyers. 
  2. Not all buyers want to meet and get to know the previous owner. Just like personal items in the house, it makes it more difficult for them to feel like the house could be their own space. 

We recommend owners plan a day to be out of the house to do errands, take out the family, or whatever else will keep them busy during the open house hours.

If you have certain details that you would really like to share yourself, we’ve had some owners leave a personal note for open-house goers to read. 

Secure or remove your pets

Pets can also be a big distraction during open houses. While you love your furry friends, potential buyers may be allergic or don’t have pets of their own. This could also increase worry that there is pet damage or pet odor in the house. 

We highly recommend that you remove your pet from the property for the open house. If this is not possible, securing them in a specific room is best if it will not upset them.

One of our best tips for preparing your home for sale: personalized real estate service

As you can see, there are a lot of factors and variables that go into preparing your home for sale. A real estate professional who can get to know your listing and sale goals will give you the best recommendations for preparing your house for sale. 

At RE/MAX Auction House, we have decades of experience in the real estate industry. Our experience in traditional home selling and online auction gives us the knowledge to help you figure out the exact steps to take for your listing. We tailor our services and recommendations for each client to ensure that they get a customized experience.

Reach out to RE/MAX Auction House for a property assessment for preparing your home for sale!

Our team is passionate about real estate, so much so that we’re licensed in both Kansas and Missouri to serve the greater Kansas City region. Contact us online or by phone at 816.741.0123 (office) or 816.694.7267 (cell) to learn more about preparing your home for sale with RE/MAX Auction House.

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