The Mathieson Method
Preparing Your Home to Get It Sold Quickly and for Top Dollar!   


Deciding to sell your home is one of the most important financial decisions you will make within your lifetime. This guide will help you maximize the amount of money you can make on the sale of your home and give you advice on how to sell it quickly, while helping you to reduce your stress during the process.

The reasons you are selling your home are personal, but they affect the approach you will want to take to draw full advantage of your home’s earning potential. If your goal is to sell as quickly as possible, you will require a minimal preparation strategy — perhaps you do not have time to make any necessary repairs. However, cleaning and decluttering your home will help you to sell more quickly. If you have time and want to maximize your home’s profit potential, the preparation may take a bit longer. In either situation, your realtor can help you set the priorities that will make your home shine! Following is a process that I recommend to enhance your home’s sales potential no matter your situation. 

In North Carolina, refrigerators and countertop microwaves are considered personal property. These do not need to be removed before the sales process, but your realtor should note in the listing details whether or not they convey.[RW1] 

Setting a price: Your realtor will help you establish a price for your home based on a comparative market analysis (CMA). The CMA involves comparing similar, recently sold properties in the same or a nearby neighborhood, making adjustments for the differences among the homes, and tracking the current local market and inventory.  This analysis will help you determine the correct price for your home. Buyers are looking for quality, but they’re also very concerned with price, so pricing your home correctly is significant. The right price can attract buyers quickly and could initiate a bidding war. A price that is too high may mean the house sits on the market, which can create the impression with buyers and their agents that there is something wrong the home. Property websites like Zillow and allow you to enter your home’s address to roughly how much your house is worth. These websites base their price on your home’s square footage and data such as recent home sales in your area. However, these prices are only estimates based on algorithms, not on your individual situation. If the price you see online does not align with what your agent suggests, discuss it with your agent.   

Setting a timeline and preparing your home for the sale: If you must sell quickly, the 1-month time frame is for you!  If you have more time to prepare, the longer 2-month timeline is suggested for you. All of the preparations discussed here are recommended, but not mandatory. The more you can prepare, the better your home selling process and relocation will go. An organized approach takes much of the stress out of the project. 

One to 2 months before listing your home, select a realtor and assess your home’s condition. Consider having an inspection on your home so you understand any issues that may come up during the sale. 

Get started on repairs 3 to 6 weeks before listing your home. The time frame really depends on your schedule and on the repairs you are going to make. You want your home to be in the best condition possible, so make repairs as needed. Fix anything that is obvious, that was recommended by your realtor, or that you know will come up during an inspection. Wow your buyers by following some of these tips: 

  • Improve your curb appeal. How your home looks from the street is crucial for an excellent first impression. Be confident that your garden is attractive by pruning bushes, removing weeds, and planting colorful flowers. Make sure the lawn is mowed and edges are trimmed while your house is on the market. 

  • Clean the outside of the home. If you haven’t done this in a while, pressure wash your home, touch up paint as needed, and clean the gutters. Wash windows and remove screens. It’s a good idea to mark screens for correct placement at a later date and store in the garage or attic. Consider painting your front door in a color that contrasts with the color of your home. This makes the entrance stand out. Repaint or replace your house numbers so they are visible from the street. Buy a new welcome mat and make sure that your doorbell is working correctly — this lets buyers know they are welcome in your home.

  • Remove clutter and depersonalize your home. Buyers want to envision their own belongings in the house, so remember less is more. Staging a home for sale is about editing things out of the home more often than it is about a stager bringing furnishings into your home. Start to pack for your move by wrapping and boxing up knick-knacks, personal photos, and so on. If necessary, rent a storage unit for the short term to house extra furnishings and boxed items that you want to keep. Donate or discard items that you don’t want. Decluttering now will help you sell your home faster and will make the final steps of moving from this house to your new home easier.

  • Organize all closets and drawers. Thin out and organize all closets, cabinets, and drawers. Messy closets and drawers make it appear as if the house does not have enough storage space.


Two weeks before listing your home, clean it. My mother always said, “Everything looks better when it is clean.” She was right! Here are some tips for making your home shine:

  • Dust and wash all light fixtures, fans, and switches. Replace any burned out light bulbs. Make sure all light bulbs are the same wattage in each fixture and the same color/warmth throughout your home. 

  • Clean your kitchen as if you are a chef expecting a health inspection. Clean all appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher, range top, and ovens), polish kitchen counters, and put countertop appliances away when not in use. You want to give the appearance of abundant workspace in the kitchen. Remove all photos or magnets from the refrigerator. Put the trashcan under the kitchen sink or in the pantry if necessary. 

  • In the bathrooms, clean all countertops, tubs, toilets, and sinks. Make sure the grout is clean and polish all the hardware so it shines. Stow any unused soap, shampoos, and razors, under the sink. Remove rugs and toilet seat covers for showings. Remove clutter from your vanity, leaving only one or two decorative items. Store makeup and toiletries neatly in drawers or under the counter.

  • Air out your home, replace HVAC filters, and clean all HVAC vents. If necessary, use an air freshener, but be careful not to use something with a strong scent. Make sure your home is clean and you are not masking an underlying problem. If you have pets and have lived in the house for a long time, consider cleaning the air vents. This doesn’t cost a lot and can help your home smell fresh.

  • Dust or clean window coverings. Keep all window coverings completely open during showings so that the light flows into your home.

  • Polish all furniture and cabinets. Liquid Gold or Old English are excellent for making wood cabinets and furniture shine. 

  • Wash and polish all flooring. If not replacing carpeting, have them steam cleaned. If you want to replace your carpeting ask your realtor which colors attract the most buyers.


Hopefully these tips will help you feel confident and organized in your approach to preparing your home to sell. If there is anything I can do on my end to help in any capacity with the sale of your home, please contact me. I would love to help you.



Jean Mathieson is a Realtor® & Interior Designer located in Holly Springs, NC