Preparing Your Home for the Market

Updated April 12, 2023

When trying to prepare your house to put it on the market, don’t let that seemingly endless to-do list overwhelm you. Break up your tasks into these 6 categories, and soon your house will be ship-shape and show-ready!

Preparing Your Home for the Market in the Iowa City Area

First Impression Tips

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and when potential buyers walk up to your home, you’ve got less than a minute to impress them. How your home looks on the outside will set the tone for the rest of their showing. Curb appeal is the first thing potential buyers notice, so make sure your lawn/landscaping is immaculate. Add pops of color with flowers and fresh mulch to brighten things up. Painting the front door, updating the exterior light fixtures and adding a new welcome mat can make a big difference.

Living Room Tips

This includes getting rid of pet smells (if any), deep cleaning the carpets, washing windows and dusting things like fans and baseboards. Declutter and depersonalize. This means taking down any personal photos and removing any quirky touches, helping buyers to envision their personal belongings in the space. If you have a bold paint color, consider painting the walls in a neutral tone like light gray or white, which will allow buyers to focus on the space itself, not the color of the walls. Lastly, group your furniture into arrangements that inspire conversation. This helps the room feel less lived-in and more like a showcased room.

Kitchen Tips

Many buyers will tell you that the most important room in a home is the kitchen. Cleanliness is huge when it comes to the kitchen, so be sure to clean the inside and out of all appliances and cupboards. It makes buyers feel that the home is well cared for and eliminates those nasty cooking odors. Minimize the countertops by putting excess kitchen appliances away, showcasing more work space. Organize inside the cupboards and pantry and style open shelving. Get rid of magnets, photos, or notes attached to the refrigerator. Add a pop of color with a bowl of fresh fruit, and you’ve got yourself a welcoming kitchen.

Bathroom Tips

Clean, clean, clean! Bathrooms need to be fresh and odor-free. Scrub the showers, removing any built-up soap scum and polish up those fixtures. Clear countertops and remove personal items such as toothbrushes. Put freshly laundered towels out and fresh new rugs on the floor.

Make sure it’s bright, clean, and minimal. And don’t forget to put the toilet seat down for pictures and showings!

Bedroom Tips

Open up all the windows to let in natural light and add floor or table lamps to areas that are dim. Your furniture should fit the scale of the room, so get rid of any extra or oversized items that could make your space look smaller than it really is. Rid closets of items you no longer need, then invest in some boxes, dividers, and other solutions that will help you organize those closets. Lastly, make sure your bed is made with fresh neutral linens, giving the room a welcoming hotel feel.

Garage Tips

Gather all the items in your garage, and divide them into three piles: keep, donate, and toss. Once you’ve purged, re-store what you need in a better way by investing in storage totes. Dust the walls/corners and sweep the floor. If necessary, paint the walls with a fresh coat of white paint and replace any burnt out bulbs to keep the garage looking spacious and bright.

That’s it! With attention to detail in these 6 areas, you can breathe a sigh of relief and confidently open up your doors to potential buyers.

About Guest Blogger: Chelsey Riggan-Kuepker, REALTOR®

Chelsey Riggan-Kuepker is one of the owners of Urban Acres Real Estate and has been a licensed Realtor since 2010. She holds the designations of Certified Staging Expert and Accredited Buyer’s Representative. As a lifelong resident of the Iowa City area, Chelsey is familiar with the market and can put her insider knowledge to work to find that special property in your neighborhood of choice. Be sure to connect with her

This is a sponsored post. ICM was compensated for sharing this piece.  However, we love connecting our readers with people and organizations that are doing good in our community, and we think you will find this information helpful and informative!

Moving to the Iowa City Area?

Check out our “Moving to Iowa City Guide” and learn everything you need to know, from buying and selling your house, to schools, grocery stores, neighborhoods, and more! Brought to you by The Bails Team at Urban Acres Real Estate. 

Photo: Bails Team Urban Acres


Hiring the Bails Team at Urban Acres Real Estate means you’ll have access to the real estate expertise you need anytime, anywhere. This real estate team includes Mike Bails, Phil O’Brien, Marcy Willier, Chelsey Riggan, Briley Desmet, and Matt VandeBerg. Together, they have over 50 years of combined experience and a deep understanding of the entire residential and commercial real estate picture in the Iowa City area – it’s what they like to call a panoramic view of real estate.

If you are ready to buy or sell, give them a call today and tell them ICM sent you!

Mike Bails | 319.321.5500
Phil O’Brien | 319.331.1701
Marcy Willier | 319.936.5899
Chelsey Riggan-Kuepker | 319.631.1434
Briley Desmet | 319.330.5078
Matt VandeBerg | 605.321.1700


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