Two Tips to Prepare Your Home For Sale Quickly and Easily

When was the last time you heard someone talking about a home search and they said, “I am looking for a home that is as dark and dreary as possible”? The two tips to prepare your home for sale that I will be sharing in this article are designed to maximize the appeal and marketability of your home with minimal effort and expense. And both tips have everything to do with light. Although there are many real estate tips and tricks for improving the marketability of a home before sale (be sure to check out my article on the essential step of decluttering), these two tips to prepare your home for sale have arguably the most bang for the buck. Best of all, just about any seller can implement them themselves, or with very minimal help from a handyman. Join me as I shed a little light on this topic!

tips to prepare your home for sale

Tip 1: Boost Those Lumens – Swap Out Dim Bulbs for Higher Output Bulbs

Lighting makes a tremendous difference in the look and feel of a home, as well as the impression the home makes on a potential buyer. If your home is filled with the latest LED light bulbs and has a lot of natural light, feel free to skip to the next tip. However, many homes are still filled with relatively dim bulbs and/or insufficient lighting. The goal here is to replace lights that are dim with lighting that is bright and fills the room.

Color temperature is important. Modern LED bulbs come in a spectrum ranging from warm to cool. I am a little biased toward warm bulbs which give off a more yellow glow, much like incandescent bulbs. They are particularly well suited to more traditional homes. This light (which is usually at or below 3000 Kelvin), tends to make rooms feel cozy and inviting.

Some prefer a cooler temperature for rooms like kitchens, baths and more modern home designs. Cooler LED bulbs tend to look more like daylight and sometimes have a bluish hue to them. My main suggestion with color temperature is to keep it relatively uniform, and to NOT mix color temperatures in the same room if possible. Mixing the temperatures can look particularly bad on professional photography, which is often shot with all the lights on.

tips to prepare your home for sale
A good example of warm color temperature creating a very cozy look and feel, although this room still appears dimmer than it ideally should.

You’ll want to make sure the bulbs you’re using don’t exceed the maximums recommended for each fixture. And while many homes are under-lit, it is also possible to go overboard with bulbs that are too bright, particularly on fixtures where the bulb is directly visible. Once you swap out the bulbs, if certain rooms still feel dark or gloomy, it may be worth investing in some floor and/or table lamps to help supplement.

cool led bulbs
An example of cool color temperature bulbs used in a kichen.

Just because your home has great natural lighting does not mean you should disregard this suggestion. Some showings of your home may happen at dawn or dusk, or in inclement weather. In those cases you’ll still want a well lit home that shows great. I often schedule photography for my listings at dusk when the lighting conditions are optimal and the most dramatic. Both interior and exterior lighting is on in these shoots, and that lighting can make or break the final photos used to promote a property. Of course, the sky and weather are vital, but those are a bit harder for homeowners to control!

Tip 2: Remove Non-Essential Window Coverings, Especially Curtains

At the risk of provoking hate mail, I find it is helpful to remove most window coverings. There are definitely some caveats to this one. If your home is filled with high-end window coverings, perfectly in tune with any decor and the home itself, you may want to leave most or all of it in place. However, many of the window coverings out there were put in place mainly out of utility, often with little regard for style and even less regard for letting in natural light. Blinds and drapes often cover a sizable percentage of the window, even when they are fully drawn.

removing curtains
An example of window coverings dominating a room. Rather than letting in more light and opening up the room, curtains can make rooms feel cramped, dated and dark.

Having blinds, shades or curtains blocking off parts of windows can make otherwise open-feeling spaces feel claustrophobic and dark. Claustrophobic is right up there with “dark and dreary” in terms of adjectives people do NOT use to describe their dream home. Removing the window coverings can really open up and brighten a room. If the window coverings are dated, dirty or in disrepair, removing them has the added benefit of removing a negative trait from the room and home. If you are staging your home, removing the window coverings can keep the focus on your stylish decor rather than distracting drapes.

Although this room still has shutters, the lack of curtains allows for clean lines, lots of light and a very open feel.

As with any tips to prepare your home for sale, both your judgment and hopefully that of your real estate agent should help determine what makes sense. If removing window coverings in some rooms creates major privacy concerns, or opens up an unflattering view, then they should be left in place. The main goal to brighten the space and clean up the aesthetic by removing coverings that won’t be missed.

Every home sale is different, and as a result, the priorities for preparing a home for sale will vary. Once the basics of cleaning, decluttering, painting, etc are addressed, then making sure the home is bright and open should be a priority. I hope these two basic tips for preparing your home for sale are helpful in your real estate journey.

If you or someone you know might be buying or selling real estate in San Diego, regardless of location or price point, please let me know. I can also assist in connecting buyers and sellers outside San Diego with outstanding Sotheby’s International Realty agents via our 800+ offices in over 60 countries. Please read my client reviews, and don’t hesitate to call, text or email me with any real estate questions or to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

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About Marc Lyman

Marc Lyman grew up in Silicon Valley where he was exposed to the nuances of the real estate business at a young age. He graduated from UC San Diego in 1995 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Psychology. His studies were followed by the launch of multiple businesses, including a popular online home publication. The latter has made Marc a sought-after media personality and home expert.