Ask McEnearney: How Do I Make My Home ‘Market Ready’?

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Lisa Groover of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Lisa at 703-919-4426 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: How much work do I need to do to prepare my home for sale?

Answer: We all love our home exactly as it is…

In my case, I would have a ton of work to do before putting my house on the market. You see… I have a lime green kitchen, purple sofa, hot pink master bath and artwork everywhere you look. As happy as it makes me, my decor would distract buyers from picturing their belongings in my house.

As tough as it might seem, taking the advice of a professional about how to create a market ready home, is a key element to a successful sale. Starting at the curb and continuing throughout the house — review their suggestions for repairs, updates and modifications. Then remembering that you only have one chance for a first impression — decide what works for you.

Start with the three ‘Cs’ then stage your home to show at its best.


Most people are overwhelmed when they think of going through their closets, cabinets, bookshelves, attic and garage. Luckily, with the help of a team of experts, this step can be simplified and almost painless. By identifying “things” that you want to keep, donate, give to family and throw away in a systematic way, you will be surprised and relieved at how quickly your home seems larger and more organized.


Neutral is better when it comes to wall color, and paint makes a huge difference when setting the stage for photographs and visitors. One of my clients actually cried when we painted her red kitchen, dining room and master bathroom. She hated it! But… when she moved to her new home… she used the same neutral color on the walls!


Deep cleaning is essential and sends the message that your home has been well maintained. Don’t forget your kitchen appliances, laundry room, garage and basement.


Staging strategies vary from house to house and can range from bringing in furniture and accessories to a vacant home, to adding or subtracting from a seller’s personal possessions.

Some people do not have the ability to visualize how each room could be set up. When they start thinking about purchasing a home, they also tend to watch home makeover and real estate shows and expect a house to be move-in ready.

Before and after photos show how a bright, neutral pallet shows off this living room.

In a recent listing, we used the owner’s amazing art collection and furniture to set off its light-filled rooms. We just moved some things around and edited her existing collections.

In one case, my clients knew their furniture and artwork were too large and taste specific for their light filled end-unit townhome. We put everything into storage, brought in furniture and accessories for the key rooms, and added a local Torpedo Factory artist’s amazing artwork to create a unique vibe.

Pops of color in artwork add character without overwhelming a space.

In a small vacant condo, we took down the old drapes and added new rods and more contemporary window treatments. Along with a few other simple fixes — it made a huge difference!

Selling your home doesn’t have to be overwhelming. I have the tools and team to simplify your moving process. Contact me for a private and confidential consultation, 703-919-4426.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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