Home Selling

10 Things You Must Do Before Selling Your Home

February 28, 2023

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Founders of The 608 Team, a boutique real estate company based in Madison, WI. We help wonderful people (like you!) realize their real estate dreams, beyond what they may have thought possible.


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We know you want to sell your house quickly, but without being pushed into a contract you didn’t want, just so the agent could get the sale. At The 608 Team, we work to sell your house as if it were our own. All of our team members take a personalized approach, arming you with the knowledge you need to make informed, empowered decisions. While we will walk you through your custom plan and timeline before selling your home, we wanted to give you a glimpse into our top home-selling recommendations!

Here are 10 things you must do before selling your home. Questions about the process? Contact us today!

A Lake Mendota coaster sits on a coffee table in a home staged to sell in Madison, Wisconsin

1. De-clutter everything!

Big surprise here! I’m sure you’ve heard this one but it’s important. Prospective buyers want to see how much space you have, not how much stuff you have. Clean out closets and cabinets. Remove items you don’t use every day to give the appearance of more space. Fold towels, sheets, and blankets neatly so that your space appears organized. This also applies to storage spaces, refrigerator, shelves, you name it. Clear up cluttered bookshelves and countertops. Take out half of what is in your closet and store it in bins. You want to give buyers the idea that they can have an organized space and easy living if they purchase your home.

2. Refresh your home!

Does the front door need a fresh coat of paint? Do windows need washing or do you have torn window screens? Is the carpeting in shabby shape? Could the kitchen use a mini makeover with new cabinet hardware or upgraded appliances? There are plenty of inexpensive ways to refresh your home to look more appealing. Take care of these minor things prior to listing your home for sale. If you need recommendations for vendors who offer these services, reach out to us! We only refer from experience.

3. Check your lighting

The lighter and brighter your home, the better! Your home will show best with lots of light. Are your light fixtures looking outdated? Maybe it’s time to swap out some of those brass fixtures for something more modern to update the look of a space. Install smart bulbs that can be controlled through an app. These are getting really popular along with many other “smart home” features and will give your home that modern twist! A bonus tip for increasing natural light is to remove your window screens.

4. De-personalize

Buyers want to imagine themselves living in the home. If your home is covered with photos of your family, kid’s trophies, sports memorabilia and artwork, it will be harder for buyers to imagine it as a home for their own family. Leaving one or two pictures up is okay but keep most of the home neutral and free from family photos.

5. Pre-listing home inspection

The often dreaded home inspection doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. If you have a home inspection prior to listing, you will be aware of any major repairs that you could take care of before putting your house on the market. This will help reduce the risk of a buyer walking away or having to reduce the price to accommodate a repair that comes up during the buyer’s home inspection. It will also put the buyer’s mind at ease to see the report and any repairs you took care of before they even write an offer. Think of all the potential headaches you can eliminate by being ahead of the game.

6. Decide what lifestyle your home conveys

Is your house made for entertaining? Do you have a relaxing sunroom? A floor plan that is desirable to a certain lifestyle? Take advantage of showing these features off and highlighting what will attract a buyer to the lifestyle your home is made for! Make sure the agent you hire is asking these questions so they know how to best market your home to attract the right buyers!

7. Get your curb appeal on-point!

A perfect neighbourhood. Houses in suburb at Summer in the north America. Luxury houses with nice landscape.

Clean up weeds, put out a new welcome mat, add potted flowers to your front step, and retouch the paint on your shutters. The exterior is going to be the buyer’s first impression, make sure it’s a good one!

8. Have a plan for when your house sells

If you are going to be buying a new home when yours sells, make sure you talk with a lender so you know your options. Do you need your house to sell in order to buy the new house? Is there a timeframe that you’ll have to stick to? Make sure you have all of these answers and share them with your real estate agent before listing your home for sale. If you need a place to start, we can connect you with the best lenders in the Madison area.

9. Meet with a local real estate agent

This may sound obvious but it is so important to find a real estate agent who is going to be a good fit for you. A few things to keep in mind when looking for your real estate agent are: their communication style, their social media and marketing savviness, and their negotiating techniques. Designations and sales rankings are great but that isn’t going to directly reflect how they do business. You want someone who will work well with other agents, who has the heart of a teacher and will be honest with you about their recommendations for pricing and staging.

Please Note: We meet with sellers as early as 6 months prior to listing their home for sale. We’ll tour your house, make recommendations for how to optimize certain spaces, provide you with simple staging techniques and talk with you about your timeframe and your goals. We’ll do market research specific to your neighborhood to determine your best listing price, and we’ll talk about your timeline goals too. If your home needs a little more work before selling, we offer staging services and have a curated list of highly recommended, local vendors for other needs. Contact us to learn more!

10. Relax! This might be most important!

The last thing you want to feel is stressed. Take one step at a time, pour yourself a big mug of hot coffee (or whatever your drink of choice may be) and take a deep breath. Following this list and choosing the right Real Estate Agent will set you up for a smooth and less stressful transaction before the for sale sign ever goes up!

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We're Dominic and Ellie, founders of The 608 Team.

We met at a real estate training after being introduced by a mutual coworker (who's now one of our 608 team members!). In our love story are the roots of what is now Madison's most comprehensive real estate boutique.

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Need help in your home? Check out our exclusive 608 Team Preferred Vendor List! Hundreds of home vendors recommended for you, hand-picked by our team members.

preferred vendors list


See our

see the list!

Need help in your home? Check out our exclusive 608 Team Preferred Vendor List! Hundreds of home vendors recommended for you, hand-picked by our team members.

preferred vendors list


See our

see the list!

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