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The Pre-Listing Home Tune-up

If you are considering selling your home, a quick tune-up could help you get thousands more. The trick is to maximize your return on investment without breaking the bank. So, what can you do right away to get the most bang for your buck?


You only get 1 chance to make a 1st impression! Clutter devalues your home and can make rooms look smaller. A cluttered home creates the impression that the house has not been well maintained. The best part is that decluttering is not expensive and can even generate income.

  • Sell, donate, or throw away items you don’t use or won’t be taking with you. This simple step will reduce the stress and cost of moving.
  • Audit your closets. Seasonal clothes or items you can't or don't wear take up space and make your closet look smaller.
  • Put your seasonal and sentimental items away or in a storage unit. If you won't need it before moving, now is the time to pack it and place it out of sight.
  • Don’t just declutter the inside of your home. Apply the same principles to your yard, garages, and other outbuildings. Remove dead plants, prune your bushes, and make sure your driveway and walkways are clear.

These simple steps create value. Buyers will be less distracted, and your spaces will look cleaner and more prominent. If you have a large amount of clutter, consider a professional organizer. This small investment can have big payoffs!

Second, finish that "honey to-do list!"

Minor repairs like a leaky faucet, loose towel bar, loose outlet covers, or broken handles can create a wrong impression.

  • Take a critical look at each room and list all the minor issues you spot. Even better, ask a family member (mothers-in-law are great) to come over and make a list of all the little problems they notice. Fresh eyes will give you an idea of the items that will stick out to potential buyers.  
  • Replace light bulbs and be sure that the light is appropriate for each room.
  • Apply fresh caulk around sinks and bathtubs. 
  • Ensure your windows are operating smoothly.
  • Lubricate squeaky doors and cabinets.
  • Trim the overgrown shrubbery.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Power wash your fence.
  • Repair any broken wall with cement and paint.

Third, hire a housekeeper.

A clean home makes a great impression. A deep cleaning, particularly in the kitchen and bath, will help your home look fresh and make buyers feel that your home is well cared for.

  • Deep clean appliances.
  • Clean and sanitize drains to reduce odors.
  • Window ledges and grooves can collect cobwebs and dust. Clean windows add natural light to your room and improve your scenic views.
  • Wash all curtains and drapes.
  • Consider the cabinets that a buyer might open. Make sure they are clean and organized.
  • Remove small appliances from counters and place them out of sight.
  • Have carpets professionally cleaned or hardwood floors waxed.
  • Make sure your entrance, inside and out, is clean, bright, and inviting.
  • Paint fences and front gates

Fourth, Paint!

Few things can generate the return on investment that a fresh, clean coat of paint can.

  • According to a 2018 study by Zillow, "homes with black front doors, tuxedo kitchen cabinets and periwinkle blue bathrooms sell for as much as $6,000” more.”
  • According to Zillow's study, painting your front door black and grey will cost about $20, but your home could sell for as much as $6,271 more.
  • Cool neutral walls also increased sales prices while homes with kitchens and yellow exteriors sell for $2,310 less.

Check out this room-by-room paint guide from Zillow.

Room Type

Color Tag

Description (what this color

looks like in homes)

Effect (on

average, how

much more or

less the home

sold for)


Light Blue

Periwinkle blue – often found

with a gray-blue tint


Dining Room


Oat brown to medium sandy

brown. A brown with

yellowish undertones

- $1,684


Black/Dark Navy

Lower Cabinets

Tuxedo cabinets – white or

light-colored upper cabinets

with dark navy or black lower

cabinets or kitchen island

cabinets. Typically paired with

lighter wall color for a pop of

color / high contrast




Brick or barn red to a lighter

raspberry red

- $2,310

Living Room

Light Taupe

Light taupe - a warm tan with

pink or peach undertones;

darker peach to pink

undertones on accent walls




Creamy bright yellow to a flax

yellow. A warm yellow with

brown undertones

- $3,408

Front Door


Charcoal, smoky black to a

rich jet black



Lastly, your real estate agent is an excellent resource. They’ve seen hundreds, maybe thousands of homes and can help you identify which projects will generate the best return.

360Berkshire Realty


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