Getting Your House (or Condo) Ready to Sell

Where do I start?  Okay, let’s start with this, I am not a real estate agent, an interior designer, home stager (although I would love to be!), I am just your average home owner, or in this case a condo owner.  In my lifetime I have sold around 5 homes, one all by myself with no real estate agent and one of those homes was my parents home after they passed.

That also means I have purchased several homes as well, and this is where I get my advice.  By looking at other homes on the market I know exactly what to do to make mine a little more desirable.  A condo such as mine, every bit of the small 750 sq ft of it, is a little more difficult to sell because it has to be the right person that is looking for just this type of home.

The pictures that I have posted were taken by my agent.

So, enough babbling and onto the good stuff.  First know that I have a storage unit, I started using that after my parents passed and I needed a place to keep a lot of their stuff, stuff that I didn’t want to part with but didn’t have room in my condo.

I started with my closets.  Anything that I was storing in the closet or not using went to storage.  I cleaned out all my clothes and either donated or sold the clothes I no longer wanted.  Extra table linens, blankets, etc, all went to storage.

For my bedroom I bought a new, much smaller and lighter neutral color rug and stored the one I was using. I removed some of the décor to showcase, or stage the bedroom.  I also bought a new and lighter colored bedspread.

In my main living area, I had a lovely bookcase FULL of my beloved books, it all went to storage.  I put away most of my framed family photo’s. Then I rearranged the chairs and my living room rug.  Had to keep my treadmill though, I use it!!!

In the kitchen cabinets, anything I could pack away, I did!  If I wasn’t using it, or going to use it, I boxed it up and stored it.  I have a few things on the counters and since the real estate agent took the pictures, I removed even more.

My laundry is always done.  I dust twice a week and keep after the floors.  The dishwasher usually has dirty dishes in it but I don’t let it get too full before I run it.   You just never know when that last minute call is gonna come in.  Is it a pain in the you know what to live like this, heck yea BUT I am also looking at homes and this is what is see…

1.  I see homes where I can’t really see the room!!  There is so much clutter around that I cannot see the walls or the floor.  Piles of dirty laundry, stacks of folded clean laundry, dirty dishes in the sink, dirty tubs, overgrown plants that have taken over the curtains, unmade beds.  Its all quite disgusting and quite honestly, that makes me think the house wasn’t cared for properly and I walk away.  My advice here is to decluttter, pack up your things and store them somewhere and most of all…CLEAN!!  Your home doesn’t have to look like a model home but it helps if you keep it clean, picked up and in decent shape.

2.  Then there are the homes that are covered in wallpaper, crazy bold bright paint colors, carpet from the 60′ or 70’s, or better yet the kitchens and bathrooms that were installed when the homes were built from the 1930’s and 40’s!!!  Now I know these are the expensive rooms to remodel but they are also the rooms that SELL your home!!  As I walk thru a house I am DEDUCTING from the asking price what it’s going to cost to remodel and replace.  My advice here is to try to update if you can.  Paint isn’t that expensive, ripping the wallpaper off is time consuming but if you want top dollar, you are going to have to work for it.  If you cannot update the kitchen and bathroom, just be prepared to have low offers.

I certainly know I am not going to find a house with my color choices, I know I’m most likely going to want to rip out the carpet and install wood BUT it still needs to be clean, decent and not 50-75 years old!!  And, the more work it’s going to take, the more I’m deducting.

3.  Decks are another issue.  If it needs some repair, fix it!  I looked at one house and knew I would have to rip out the deck immediately.  They also had a yard full of bamboo.  That would have had to go too.  You may like it, and yes it is pretty, but not everyone does.  And its very invasive.  So don’t forget the outside too.  Another home I looked at had a hole in the front door.  And old lock was removed and they covered it with cardboard.  Really???  Depending on the size of the deck, it can be expensive, so again, be prepared for low offers if you can’t repair or replace.  Fix and repair if you can, pull weeds, keep your lawn cut, put a pretty pot of flowers on your front step and back patio/deck.

I just cant believe how some people live and try to sell their homes thinking we all live that way.  Remember, people are looking at your house the same way you are looking at the houses you’re interested in.

When I bought my condo I already had thoughts of selling it in 10 years so I tried to keep that in mind as I remodeled.  It had not had anything done to it since is was built in 1996, and I bought the place in 2007.  I ripped out the carpet, stripped all of the wallpaper and replaced the dated brass lighting fixtures.  I installed all laminate flooring and repainted everything.  I got the place really cheap and its small.  Also, I had just gotten divorced and after living on a boat for 4 years, I had no furniture so it all worked for me.

I’ll start with the main room which is the living, dining and kitchen area, open concept of course. I left the white cabinets as they were still in good condition and were still up to date and since I decided to do browns in the condo I wanted to leave them alone.  I had intended to do the countertops but I’ve decided to let that alone.  With the white trim and white cabinets I went with a medium/light chocolate brown on the walls and painted the ceiling and the inside of the deep windows a creamy taupe color.  I used a lighter laminate wood flooring.  I wanted a cherry but since I couldn’t get my hands on that color I used the lighter floor and darker walls.


I continued those colors into my bedroom.  The accent color in that room is a green/blue teal color. I removed the small closet door and turned that area into my desk.


The bath, I removed the builder grade counter/sink and put in a travertine tile counter and vessel sink.  I used a paint that is similar to a gloss but it was something a little different, and was a little more pricier with special requirements to paint.  I wish not I had not used that paint, but hey, hindsight.  I continued the brown theme but added a copper wall for an accent color.


The entry way was my color splurge, a dark brick red, and I have silver and black accents.


I wanted to keep things somewhat neutral but with a punch of WOW, knowing that I had only planned to be here about 10 years before selling.  I’m selling a little earlier than anticipated mostly because of market.  I chose the browns with only a few accent colors in the hopes that it would be tasteful enough for someone to like it and be able to move in and then change as they desire later.

To date my condo has been on the market for about one month and I have had 3 showings.  They “loved” it but were still looking and in no hurry.  Typically these condo’s go pretty quickly but the market in our area isn’t coming around just yet., and mine is one of the smaller units.

So my friends, just remember to declutter as much as you can to show off your nice home, CLEAN, clean and clean some more, and if you have to spend a few bucks to change that crazy color or rip off the wallpaper and make repairs, do it.  If it will help get you the top dollar you want, DO IT!!

Live well my friends, and good luck selling your house and finding your home!