Preparing Your Home for Sale

Selling a home can be frustrating, to say the least. There are so many facets involved, and so many things to consider – it can truly be a daunting undertaking. Hiring a trusted and well-recommended Realtor® can mean the difference between a smooth and painless process, or a very difficult one. A good Realtor® knows what to do to get the best price for your home.

Mary Tynell, of Keller Williams, was born and raised on Cape Cod. Whether it’s first home-selling small steps or preparing to sell your home before retirement, she knows what to do.

“I first ask (the sellers) what their goals are, and how long they have to sell – basically, their timeline,” she said. “I’ll ask if they bought a new house already or if they want to remain in the home for a while. Or, if they are elderly or going into a nursing home or assisted living, and they have to deal with Medicare, I’ll need to know that timeline.”

From simply de-cluttering to prepare for a showing or making small renovations to increase the value of your home, you want a realtor with experience under their belt to make the process as worry-free as possible. Knowing what a home inspector is looking for will save sellers time, without the surprises. As a former property manager, Mary has access to a full team of contractors that can help with renovations for those specific cases and will help oversee those projects, to fit within timeline.

Early preparation is key to Mary. “I’ll go around the house with them, depending on their timeline, and give them ideas to improve the impressions of the home. For every sale, I’ll bring in a stager but do use the items they already have in the home, when appropriate. There also needs to be a process of decluttering, which you must do tactfully. Pictures and personal items need to be put away so potential buyers can picture themselves in that house. Collectibles need to go, because they date a house.”
According to the Real Estate Staging Association, professionally listed staged properties spend 73 percent less time on the market.

“A house needs to have clean lines,” she said, “and today’s neutral wall color is now gray. The light beige or white that agents used to recommend for walls is outdated. Light-gray walls are now the way to go.”

Old cabinets can be painted for a fresh, new look.

Sellers might think that having a completely empty house is the best way to show it, but this is not always the case. “Selling an empty house can be easy, depending on price range. But, often, buyers can’t envision, for example, a king-sized bed in a certain room. They think it won’t fit, even though one had been in that room previously. A staged home not only helps buyers visualize furnishings, but it makes the home more inviting. It allows buyers to see the full potential of a home before they call it their own.”

It’s important to keep up with the ever-changing trends of the housing market. For example, oak cabinets are also outdated now, but they can be painted if they’re good quality, according to Mary.
“Anything within financial reason that is going to bring the seller the best price, is what they should do. It may be a seller’s market right now, but those buyers want that home to be move-in ready. They worked hard for the money they’re going to spend, and they don’t have the time to spend a lot on renovations or home improvements. I’ll guide you through the process.”

Another suggestion Mary made is throwing a cover over that favorite old armchair. Anything at all that makes the home feel dated should be covered or removed, she noted. White is a good color to use for covering furniture around the house, with small accents of color. A white bedspread is perfect. Kitchen counters should have everything put away, and all counter appliances should be out of sight.

Preparing your home for sale is a difficult process but it can be made worry-free, with the right guidance. When you walk into your next potential home, you want to imagine your own possessions in that space. Mary says, it’s her job to make that home appealing to as many buyers as possible, so ultimately, the seller gets the best price for their home.

To contact Mary Tynell and get answers to your real estate questions, you can reach her through her Keller Williams page, at As she said, when preparing to sell your home, less is definitely more. “Everything should have clean lines. A minimalist feel is what buyers want.”

Mary Tynell of Keller Williams


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About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is the Marketing Writer and Lifestyle Reporter for, and has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.
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