Preparing to Sell

Before putting the for sale sign out front, a number of steps can be taken to ensure you have potential buyers ohhhing and ahhhing over your special space. A few touch-ups can make a big difference in impressing potential buyers, so before you list your Hawaii home, do the following.

Release Personal Connections to your House.

In order to ready your house to receive its prime price, you will need to take several steps that will allow others to envision living in your space. While you may have many memories of laughing, growing, and giving in your home, it will soon be a space for another family to make memories.

Tip: Sever emotional attachments to the house by thinking of it as a shell. A home is about the occupants and the people, not the place. The memories you have made will last, and the next owners will make memories as well.


Buyers want to envision themselves in the home, not the people who were once living there. Pack up personal photographs, family treasures and other items that may distract potential buyers. That huge zebra sofa or that unique painting may also need to go into hiding, as it may be difficult for a buyer to visualize their own furniture in the space.


How do I have so much stuff? It is amazing how items can collect over the years. However, before showing your home to a potential buyer – and moving to a new home – it is important to go through the decluttering process. If you haven’t used something in a year, it may be time to let it go. Also, assure buyers can easily move through your home without bulky furniture in the way.

Offer unneeded items to Goodwill or Salvation Army, put broken items on the curb for bulk pick-up, or even rent a storage unit if needed. And remember this decluttering process will not only help you secure a buyer, but it will also facilitate your future move.

Potential buyers will also explore closets and storage cabinets when they are looking at your home. If they see these areas are organized, they will think you have taken good care of the house. In the kitchen, stack dishes, alphabetize spice jars, and turn coffee mug handles in the same direction. In closets, line your shoes and hang clothes neatly.

Tip: When depersonalizing and decluttering, the goal is to make it easy for buyers to imagine having their own items in the home.

Neutralize the walls and décor.

As much as you may love your deep purple bedroom, it could be unappealing to many buyers. To be safe, buy some cost-effective cans of white, tan, or gray paint and put in some sweat equity to help the buyers focus on how they will move into your space and not the dramatic color of the walls. Take down any décor that does not go with a neutral theme.

Also remove any favorite items that you do not plan on selling with the house, like a light fixture from your grandmother’s house or built-in appliances. Telling a buyer that they can’t have an item they saw when they were viewing the house could hurt the sale.

Make minor repairs.

When the market is hot in Hawaii, you can seller your home in a minimal amount of days without much repairs, but if you want to get a higher price or assure a sale when the market it tighter, it is important to make some minor repairs.

Inexpensive repairs can make a huge difference in getting a prime price for your Hawaii home while not breaking the bank. Do the following repairs, if needed:

Clean, clean, clean.

Before the photographs are taken or potential buyers walk through the door, dust the tops of furniture, fan blades, and the edges around the home. Give windows a thorough washing – inside and out. Sanitize kitchen appliances and the bathroom, and lastly shine the floors. If you are too busy or don’t have all the tools to do a thorough cleaning, hire help, which often isn’t too expansive for an excellent job

Tip: Close the toilet and hang up fresh towels when you photograph or show your home.

Bring in the light and the lived-in feeling.

On the day of the showing, turn on the lights, fans, and air conditioner (if you have it), and open the doors. Open all the curtains to showcase the natural Hawaii light. A bright, light room will look bigger and more appealing.

Some nice-smelling flowers, lit candles, or home-baked cookies could add to the sense of hominess. However, watch out for strong smells – like bacon or burnt popcorn – before potential buyers enter.

Boost the curb appeal.

As soon as a buyer drives up to your home, they should want to get out of the car. Add exterior plants, patch the walkway, or repaint the front door to add curb appeal. Also, make sure buyers can find your house number clearly, so they aren’t lost looking for your house. First impressions are important, so spruce up the outside of your home to start the showing right.

Final Preparation

When you have decluttered, depersonalized, repaired, cleaned, and boosted appearance, take time to carefully walk through each room of your house, imaging how it will look to a potential buyer. Is the furniture properly arranged? Do the curtains hang neatly? Is the water flowing smoothly? A real estate agent can further help you in staging and preparing your home for a prime price.

Taking steps to prepare your home for sale, even in the competitive Hawaii housing market, can facilitate faster offers for higher prices.

Also read

Sellers' Guide

Sellers' Guide

7 signals that may indicate it's time to sell your home.