6 Simple Strategies for Getting Top Dollar When Selling Your Home


Your house is probably your largest asset. This means the prospect of selling it provides one of the biggest opportunities for financial gain that you’ll ever have. Fortunately, some surprisingly simple changes that can cost little to nothing but can earn you big bucks when you go to sell.

1. Declutter and depersonalize.

Undoubtedly, the number one issue plaguing most would-be home sellers is the clutter in their homes. Crowded countertops and cramped rooms make your house feel small, and potential buyers feel claustrophobic. Generally, you want to cut the amount of visible stuff around your home in half when you are preparing to sell. Even if it means boxing and storing it in the garage. Clean countertops and organized rooms make a space feel inviting and allow buyers to see the potential in your home.

Before a homebuyer makes a purchase, they must be able to visualize themselves and their family living in the prospective home. It’s very difficult for anyone to do that when personal items and pictures of your family are still adorning every bookshelf, nightstand, and wall. Within practicality, you want to remove as many of these items as possible. Depersonalizing helps prospective buyers mentally picture themselves living in your home and moves them closer to making an offer.

2. Brighten it up.

Lighting is an enormous opportunity when preparing your house for sale. The rule is simple: more light is better. Make sure that every light bulb in every fixture of the house is functional and is as luminous as possible. Remember, the brightness of a light bulb is measured in lumens, not watts, so be sure to purchase light bulbs with the highest number of lumens. Also, don’t forget to open all curtains and blinds to let in as much natural light as possible. Brighter is bigger, and dimmer is smaller. More light helps illustrate the size of each room and lifts the spirits of those viewing your home.

3. Gather paperwork.

The more documentation you can provide about the house, the more folks will assume that it has been well-maintained. Be sure to include any paperwork left by your home’s previous owner and any records you have kept about maintenance, repairs, or upgrades you’ve had done. Just the presence of a binder containing this sort of information conveys the message that you have cared for the home properly. It will go a long way in adding value to the mind of a potential purchaser.

4. Hide the dog.

Many Americans own pets. This is great for companionship and familial enjoyment but can be costly when attempting to sell your home. If possible, Fido and Fluffy need to be absent when your house is being shown, and evidence of their residence is minimized. Prospective buyers naturally assume that a home with pets living in it will require more attention (read: money) and may reduce their offer accordingly.   

5. Maximize curb appeal.

Before they choose to tour the interior of your house, most homebuyers will assess your neighborhood and the exterior of your house. They do a drive-by. This is another great opportunity to catch some attention. With a very critical eye, put yourself in their shoes. What features stand out as needing maintenance? Are the shutters damaged or hanging crooked? Is the landscaping overgrown and full of weeds? Are there spiderwebs on the front porch? These things will stand out to potential buyers but can be remedied with minimal time and expense. The exterior is the first impression of your home, and it must be carefully curated.

6. Remove unpleasant odors.

After we have lived in the same environment for some time, our noses begin to adjust. We grow accustomed to the smells, both favorable and foul, of our homes. However, prospective buyers do not possess this luxury. It’s a good idea to invest in some modest air fresheners throughout the home. You don’t want to overpower guests or insinuate that you are attempting to mask problematic odors, but ensuring that the house is attractively scented is critical. Just don’t overdo it.

Preparing your home for sale is a big job. Perhaps the toughest part is the emotional aspect. To maximize your sale price, you will need to put yourself in the mindset of a retailer. Remember that you are preparing a product for the market so that your family can move to different environments in the best financial position possible. The details make all the difference.

About the author: Jordan Hall is a (reformed) attorney, real estate broker, and entrepreneur. He wrote the book, Every Degree Debt Free, about his experiences paying for law school without loans. Today, he no longer practices law but helps folks build wealth so that they can live their purpose and leave a legacy. He is also a French fry connoisseur.