1. Have your kitchen professionally cleaned. Having a pro thoroughly clean your kitchen is one of the best investments you can make when preparing your home to sell. Yes, you could clean it yourself, but would it really look as good? A sparkling-clean kitchen is one that looks its best.
  2. Be hyper-aware of odors. Make sure all garbage, recycling and pet-related items are removed before showing your home, and take the time to clean inside and under the containers themselves. Run a lemon down your garbage disposal. Nothing turns off a potential buyer faster than a bad smell.
  3. Consider fresh paint. Aside from cleaning, painting will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Give your kitchen a new coat of paint in a hue that works with the color of your counters and cabinets — when in doubt, go with crisp white. Even if your kitchen was recently painted, take a close look at the walls and ceiling and touch up any imperfections, even tiny ones.
  4. Keep windows clean and clear. Clean the kitchen windows, inside and out. If you have heavy window coverings, consider removing them — or at the very least, be sure window coverings are completely open when you show your home.
  5. Clear the counters. A toaster and coffeemaker are just about the only things to consider leaving out on the counters. Put everything else out of sight.
  6. Organize inside cupboards. Guess what? Potential buyers will be looking inside your cupboards. And if your cupboards are overstuffed, that gives the impression that there isn’t enough storage space in your kitchen. Remove excess stuff, mismatched items and anything that simply does not look good. If you still need to use these things, keep them in a box hidden on a high shelf in a closet during showings.
  7. Organize the pantry. Pare back the contents of your pantry until you have some open space on each shelf. Organize what’s left into a set of matching food storage containers or open baskets. This may mean removing a bunch of food — just remember that a staged kitchen is not necessarily a practical kitchen! As with items from your cupboards, keep extra pantry goods in a box out of sight during showings if you must.
  8. Style open shelving. People have a sort of love-hate relationship with open shelving. It can look great, but it can also be a challenge to keep neat. If you have open shelving in your kitchen, your goal should be to show people how it can be useful and look great. Leave some open space on each shelf, and display only matching sets of everyday dishes. You can’t go wrong with a set of white dishes and clear glasses.
  9. Set fancy hand and dish soap on a tray. Get rid of the gross old sponges and goopy dish soap containers, and replace them with nice-looking dish soap, hand soap and lotion, all on a neat little tray.
  10. Make the faucet shine. A pretty, gleaming faucet makes a good impression. And be sure to fix any leaks while you’re at it.