High resolution illustration of houses, one is red.

At any given time, there may be hundreds if not thousands of homes for sale in the Sacramento region that will meet the needs of the average buyer. So if you’re planning on selling your home, it’s time to put on your game face and think like a business person. Along with enlisting the right real estate professional to represent you in the sale, it pays to assess your home and make several small tweaks before putting up the “For Sale” sign in the front yard. Here are several tricks that go a long way to help your home stand out from the competition – and sell quickly at top dollar.

Take a drive around the neighborhood to gauge your competition.

Remember that people often buy for the neighborhood, so take a drive around the block and compare your home to others. Take note of what you like and what you don’t, just like you were looking through the eyes of a potential buyer. You might notice a few ways your home could be improved with simple, inexpensive fixes: planting some flowers, painting the front door, power washing the sidewalks and driveway, changing the porch lights, or even buying a new mailbox. It’s good to focus on the end result your want: making a good first impression that will attract the right buyer. 

Fix everything that’s been on your To-Do list.

Of course you don’t have to remodel the entire property, but it’s crucial that you fix the things that are in obvious disrepair. Whether it’s a leak that has left staining, a loose stair rail, or some hairline cracks in the tile, you would be wise to have them fixed before the house ever goes on the market. A home inspector will flag any serious issues anyway, and buyers (especially first-time homebuyers) may be suspicious if there are problems that haven’t been addressed.

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

Beyond making needed repairs, it’s important to have your home spotless and ready to receive potential buyers at all times. Consider hiring a cleaning service if you’re too busy to keep on top of daily upkeep – a relatively small investment that will pay off in the long run. Remember that buyers want to imagine themselves living in your home and dirty, cluttered rooms aren’t welcoming.

Appeal to a buyer’s five senses.

A house should not only be clean but bright, airy, and smelling great. Sometimes, there’s a particular smell in the carpet or from pets that we don’t even realize. So before you put your home on the market, ask your Realtor for an honest assessment of what you could do to appeal to a potential buyer, including new light bulbs or fixtures, air fresheners, and maybe even beautifully-smelling flowers or a fresh batch of cookies the day of an open house.

Staging your home pays off.

According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that are staged spend 73 percent less time on the market, typically sell for more money, end up on buyers’ “must see” lists, are viewed as “well-maintained,” and have fewer concessions requested of the seller.

While staging a home might cost a little, it’s usually a wise investment that yields a terrific return on investment. But don’t just wait for a professional stager, as the first step is always to go through your home and de-clutter. Sellers should purge the house of all personal belongings, family photos and countertop crowding appliances.

Furniture should be rearranged so as to make the room appear larger. Look in any decor magazine and you’ll notice how plants and furniture are placed attractively in the room. Use these as guides on what plants to buy and where to place.

Buyers have a hard time visualizing furniture in an empty space so if your home is vacant, you should seriously consider having the home professionally staged.

A picture (or photo) is worth a thousand words.

Did you know that over 90% of buyers start their search for a home online? Therefore, the listing photos they see are your home’s first impression and poor quality photos of cluttered, dreary, or vacant rooms can dissuade them from ever coming to see your home. Even though your home might meet their needs, buyers might even just click past them without a second look. So draw them in with fantastic listing photos and even video tours.

Offer a home warranty or other incentives.

Assuming all repairs are made, the house is clean, organized, and fresh smelling, you may still want to sweeten the pot to attract buyers. An increasingly popular way of enticing buyers is by offering a home warranty. A home warranty ensures that if there ever is a problem with the plumbing, electrical system, heating, or air conditioning, the homeowner can have it repaired or replaced for a small deductible, usually $75 or less for a certain amount of time. A potential buyer, who may be worried about the costs of repairing or replacing unknown appliances and systems may be much more inclined to purchase an older house, knowing there’s a safety net.

Price your home correctly the first time.

We understand that your ultimate goal is to get as much money for your home as possible when it sells, and there’s nothing wrong with starting with a listing price on the higher end of the spectrum. But home owners need to realize that the higher the price, the fewer potential buyers you will get and the longer it usually takes to sell. So when we list a home, we do a comprehensive market analysis to present to the seller, showing the hard data exactly what similar homes in the same area are selling for, as well as what other competition is out there.


These tips will help your home stand out against the competition. Just remember that the time and energy you put into the market preparation will often result in a far smoother and more efficient selling experience – and a bigger check coming your way once your home sells.