As a professional real estate stager, home organization specialist and decorator I’ve seen it so many times; Houston homeowners rushing to book the first home showings even before the place is ready for sale.

The fact is that many people think they are ready to sell their home, but the truth is that they still have a way to go before their home is actually ready to be shown, let alone sold.

Think you’re ready to sell your house? Another walkthrough might tell a different story – here are signs you’re not ready to list your house on the market just yet.

The Main Living Areas are Not In Great Shape

Your living room, family room, kitchen, and if you have one, dining room, are the first rooms that will greet potential home buyers. If these important rooms are not showing exceptionally well, you are definitely not ready to list your home just yet.

To change that you will need to highlight every room’s function and best features and then add a little neutral visual interest. If you’re unsure how well your room shows ask a friend – or a Realtor – for an honest opinion or better yet, work with a professional home stager who can guide you through making everything right.

You Still Need to Execute a Paint Job

It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do to brighten up a space. It’s like an instant ‘facelift’ for your home. The rooms instantly look cleaner, newer, and often even smell fresher too.

But beyond that what’s important is to help potential buyers visualize themselves living in your home. So, set aside your personal tastes and select paint colours that appeal to all. As ‘boring’ as they may seem, neutral is the magic word.

Your Closets are Bursting at the Seams

Buyers are usually upgrading when buying a new home. They want more space and storage that they don’t currently have, so whatever amount of storage space you have right now show it to its best advantage.

My advice is to always reduce what you have in your closets by half and then edit some more. The best way to achieve this is to do a real decluttering session, so you can throw away, donate or store all those extra clothes.

You Need to Call in a Handyman

All minor repairs that have been irritating you for months like leaky faucets, sticky doors, noisy toilets, cracked floor tiles and loose cabinet handles should be taken care of before any potential buyer is shown your home. These could signal skittish potential buyers that you haven’t maintained your home properly and might alarm them to bigger problems, and in turn, decide to look elsewhere.

There’s Clutter, Clutter Everywhere

Clutter eats equity in real estate, and having too much is definitely not a good thing. Get Kid’s toys, sports gear, broken appliances, pet items, family photos and tchotchkes from your world travels are the culprits most of the time. This is the perfect time to donate, purge, or box them and move it to rental storage for now. If you have trouble getting started book a professional organization session and get some much needed help.

Er, The House Isn’t Clean…

Nobody wants a dirty house, period. Dirty windows, dingy, stained—or worse, smelly carpets, dirty kitchen and bathrooms — can kill any positive vibes would be buyers have instantly. My suggestion is always a professional deep cleaning before listing. It goes a long way toward making a good first impression.

It’s Just Badly Staged

How do the rooms look like coming from the main door? Is it enough to convince your buyers that this is their next home? If your buyers cannot see themselves living in your home, it’s game over. If you have no idea how to showcase your home to your buyers effectively, it is time to call in a pro and contact a local Houston home stager.