The Little Things that Make a Big Difference

I meant to share this post with you a while back as we were getting ready to put our last house on the market. But between finishing the updates, packing, and staging the house, time got away from me. Then the house received a contract within the first 24 hours of being on the market and we had to find a house to buy! And THEN there was the two months of stress of the not-so-wonderful buyers! Thankfully, that is all behind us and we are currently living waterside and working on updating our “Waterfront Dream”!

Now let’s talk shop! When you finally make that decision to put your house on the market, you want the prospective buyers to walk into your home and notice how wonderful it is and visualize themselves living in it!

There are several small and easy details that you shouldn’t overlook when getting your house ready for the market. I found that these things help boost the price and sell the house quicker. They also cost very little in price; and sometimes don’t cost a thing other than a little elbow grease and time!

#1 – Declutter

  • This is probably the hardest part for some. You have to create a balance between having your house on the market and still living in your home.
  • “Experts” will tell you to completely depersonalize your home so that buyers can visualize themselves living in your home. I will share a few tips which work for Mr. and I.
  • Kitchen: Clear counters of all appliances except the coffee pot and a few cooking utensils placed in a decorative jar or urn. Pack rarely used appliances, pots, pans, etc.

kitchen staging

  • Living Room – Leave only a few books on shelves: what you are reading at the time and a few for accessorizing. Remove magazines and such (resist stacking as this just creates weight to the room). Limit the amount of decorative items to small cohesive groupings. Limit the amount of pillows on your sofa to two or three.
  • Bathrooms – Remove all prescription drugs (buyers will snoop and look in medicine cabinets, drawers, etc.). Take this time to throw away expired medicines. Box up extra towels and wash cloths, leaving a weeks worth in the linen closet.
  • Personal pictures – I struggle the most with this one. I pack most of our personal pictures but leave a couple throughout the house; such as one of our daughter and me wading in the water on the beach on a side table in the living room, a small b/w on a bedside table in a guest room of my mom, brothers and me taken in the 60’s, and a collage in the master bedroom of Mr. and I snorkeling in Caymen. Gallery walls or a grouping on a shelf or mantle are distracting to buyers and you want them to focus on the house, not your pictures!

black and white

#2 – Deep Clean the Whole House

  • And keep it clean!
  • This is a no-brainer, but important detail!!

#3 – Wash Your Windows

  • This is extremely important if your view is a selling point!
  • Wash the inside of the windows weekly while your house is on the market. You will be surprised at how many people put their fingers and foreheads on the glass when looking outside through the window!
  • Make sure you also wipe down the window sills often. This is especially important if you have a window-sill-lounging cat! 🙂

hank 2

#4 – Clean AC Return and Change out Filters

  • Be sure and install a clean filter every three months. A good inspector should check this and you don’t want a dirty filter to show up on his report!
  • Make sure the air conditioner return is clean and free of dirt and grime. *The return and filter both were nasty when we moved in. You can see the difference between before I cleaned and after. Yuck!

ac return

#5 – Change out Switch Plates/Switches and Outlet Covers/Outlets 

  • If you are unable to change the switches/outlets for new, at least remove the covers and wash them. You can also take a damp rag to the switches and outlets and remove some of the grubbiness from them. *This is a before and after of one of the bedrooms in our current house. We also had replaced all the switches/outlets at our previous house when we moved in.

light switchlight switch 2

#6 – Lighting

  • Always make sure you have working light bulbs in every light fixture and turn them on when showing your house. Our new house had very dim lighting and numerous burned out bulbs.
  • We swapped out all our light bulbs with LED Daylights. Mr. and I love a bright light and that is exactly what you get with these. It makes your house feel bright and airy!  *This suggestion is more on the expensive side as LED light bulbs are not cheap but they last a very long time. So when we moved, we removed the LED’s and took them with us; however, we did replace them with 60 watt incandescent bulbs. 
  • Be sure and open the blinds/window treatments if your house is being shown in the daytime, as natural light can’t be beaten.


#7 – Touch Up Painting

  • Chipped wall corners and baseboards will stick out like a sore thumb! A little paint touch up will make your rooms look finished and polished.

#8 – Organize Closets

  • If possible, remove out-of-season clothing from closets. This will make any closet appear larger.
  • Organize clothing by color and type. This not only adds cohesiveness to your closet but also makes it easier for you to put outfits together.
  • Place shoes in shoe organizers.
  • If you have shelving in your closet, store belts, scarves, and other accessories in decorative boxes.

Master Closet

#9 – Curb Appeal

  • Don’t worry about installing all new flowerbeds! Pull any weeds that are visible and spread a layer of mulch.
  • Sweep all the cobwebs away from the corners of the porch, ceiling, and doors (this includes any back/side/garage doors)
  • If you can afford it, a new welcome mat will do wonders for your entrance!

#10 – Staging Your House

  • I believe the most important tip for staging your home is to declutter it!  Once you’ve accomplished that, you are on the home stretch!
  • Completing the other eight tips plus these few staging tips will have your home clean and ready to put on the market.
  • Rearrange your furniture so you have clear and direct paths through the room.
  • Make sure each room has a purpose. If possible, clarify if a bedroom is being used as an office, craft room, or bedroom; not two or three rolled into one.
  • Add a vase of fresh flowers on your kitchen counters before a showing.
  • AND don’t forget to stage outdoors.


I hope you find these tips helpful when you decide to put your house on the market! If you have any other tips or questions, be sure and leave me a comment.

Y’all have a great day!

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