5-How To Prepare Your House For Sale

How To Prepare Your House For Sale

Getting your house ready for sale can involve a lot of work. To empower homeowners we have assembled a comprehensive checklist you can use to get organized and make progress. As you prepare to begin showing your home to prospective buyers, you might consider taking some of the important steps listed on this checklist. Potential buyers often welcome a home that is clean, neat, uncluttered, in good repair and quiet. This checklist will help you get your home ready to show.


Clean & De-Clutter Improvements:

☐ Appliances should be cleaned - inside and out

☐ Clean all curtains, drapes and blinds

☐ Clean or purchase new front door accessories

☐ Clean the entryway carefully; it creates the buyers first interior impression of your home

☐ Clean the inside of all kitchen & bathroom cabinets; neatly organize items on shelves

☐Clean windowsills

☐Doors should be oiled and squeak-free

☐ Empty trash cans, recycling bins and ash trays

☐ Ensure all doors, cabinets and drawers can open completely without any blockage

☐Exterminate any insect problems

☐ Get rid of odors (pet, food)

☐ Have a garage sale before the home is listed

☐ Hire a professional cleaning service, once every few weeks while the house is on the market

☐ If needed, remove clutter by renting off-site storage space ☐Keep baseboards clean and dusted

☐ Keep bookshelves and entertainment units organized neatly

☐ Keep clothing hung neatly, shoes organized

☐Keep screens clean and vacuumed

☐ Keep shower curtains fresh and free from mildew

☐Keep stairways and corridors clear

☐ Make bathrooms sparkle; sinks, toilets and tubs should be immaculate

☐Make stairwells and corridors clutter-free

☐Mop and sweep all floors

☐Organize closets

☐Polish all interior woodwork

☐ Remove appliances from kitchen counters to give a look of spaciousness

Carpet & Flooring Improvements:

☐ If you have pets, hire a professional to deodorize carpets

☐ If needed, steam clean carpet thoroughly

☐ If needed, install new neutral-colored carpet with a thick padding so prospective buyers feel comfortable as they walk on your floors

☐ Make sure carpets are secure. Stretch and tack down any loose or curling carpet

☐ Make sure the carpets are vacuumed, free of pet hair and combed

☐ If you decide to replace a linoleum floor, choose a neutral color that will have wide appeal

☐ If your home has hardwood floors with room-size rugs, get the hardwood into its best condition with fresh non-slip floor polish or other coating to make it shimmer ☐Mop and vacuum floors

☐Replace worn-out vent covers

☐ Thoroughly clean linoleum floors in kitchen and bathroom

Interior Painting Improvements:

☐All woodwork like stairwell railings and doors should be repainted and/or stained ☐Have leaks repaired & watermarks covered

☐ If needed, repaint faded, worn or stained interior walls

☐ Make sure that cracks in ceiling/walls are repaired

☐ The windows should be washed and stain free. The window frames should be painted if necessary and the hinges should not squeak

☐ Tone down bright room colors by painting them white or a neutral color

Kitchen & Bathroom Improvements:

☐ If the appliances are included with the sale of your home, make sure they are operating and have proper documentation such as warranties and repair information

☐ If there are missing or damaged tiles, have them replaced ☐ Re-touch or repaint kitchens and bathrooms if the color is dated or the paint quality is poor ☐ Make sure sinks are clean and stain-free ☐ Repair damaged countertops, sinks or tubs

☐ Make sure that there are no leaky faucets ☐ Re-caulk damaged caulk on shower, sinks, tub or toilet ☐Clean tile grout and make stain-free

☐ Paint, touch-up or refinish kitchen cabinetry

☐ Tighten or replace loose doorknobs or cabinet pulls, sticking doors and drawers and wobbly hinges Replace toilet seat

☐ If appliances are dated or not functioning, consider replacing

Lighting Improvements:

☐ Repair sticky windows which do not open

☐ At night, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting

☐Clean all switch plates

☐ Clean all windows, inside and out

☐ Clean existing shutters, blinds or drapes

☐ Clean skylight for leaves and other debris ☐ Increase the wattage of bulbs to the maximum possible wattage

☐ Install dimming switches in common rooms such as dining rooms and living rooms to allow you to create lighting for different occasions

☐ Install new window treatments if those you have are damaged or dated

☐ Keep curtains open and use natural light as much as possible ☐Make sure all outdoor lighting works

☐ Prune outside trees to allow natural light inside

☐ Turn on lights so home is well lit during showing

☐ Wipe all light fixtures with a rag and cleaning solution

Plumbing & Electrical Improvements:

☐ All drains should be clean and free-flowing

☐ All toilets should be in good working order

☐ Clean up, paint or replace old plumbing fixtures in all bathrooms

☐ Have your well or septic inspected or repaired

☐ If needed, hire a plumber to replace badly rusted and corroded plumbing pipes ☐ Inspect, clean and change filter of furnace

☐ Make sure that all bathroom and kitchen faucets are in good working order

☐ Make sure that all smoke and burglar alarms are functional

☐ Remove mildew stains and repair any loose, crumbling caulk or grout around tile and tub areas

☐Repair broken doorbell

☐Service sprinkler system

Staging Improvements:

☐ Clean fireplace and prepare with logs for display

☐ Clean out the entry closet and put only a few hangers so that the buyer can visualize winter coats

☐ Consider lighting up the fireplace during the colder months

☐Hang artwork on the walls

☐ Hang extra clean towels in the bathroom for your guests

☐ Have a fresh vase of flowers on the kitchen table to add appeal

☐Have beds made

☐ If needed, put large furniture in storage

☐ Lock pets up away from home during showings

☐Open drapes to allow light in

☐ Place fresh flowers, potpourri and other decorations around house (even in bathrooms)

☐ Remove all unnecessary articles in basement or attic ☐Remove magnets and notes from refrigerator

☐ Remove personal possession, like photos, trophies and mementos

☐ Set the dining room table for a dinner party

☐ Stage garage - clean up oily floors, straighten tools and other equipment

☐ Tag or remove items not included in sale (i.e. water conditioner, chandeliers, plants, drapes)


Exterior Painting Improvements:

☐Paint door and doorframe ☐Paint exterior fixtures

☐Paint mailbox

☐ Paint or clean front door and garage door

☐ Paint or re-stain fence if it is peeling or dirty

☐ Paint over any rust spots or streaks on downspouts

☐ Paint shutters, make sure they are hung straight

☐Paint window ledges

☐Polish door handles and knockers

☐Remove rust from railing

☐Repair any damage to chimney

☐ Repair holes in gutters and repair any separations from eaves

☐ Repair or replace shingles or tiles missing from the roof

☐ Sand and repaint areas with blistering or peeling paint

☐ Seal cracks on porch and remove any standing water if concrete. If wood, secure railings and seal or paint as necessary

☐Straighten and clean antenna

Yard Improvements:

☐ Add colorful plants or flowers near front door and porch area

☐ Consider re-painting or re-staining a deck if the wood is worn out

☐ Repair damaged, rusty or bent fence; paint or stain if necessary

☐ If you have an awning for the patio, make sure that it is also free of debris and that there are no signs of tear or worn material. Replace if necessary

☐Keep trash area clean and organized

☐ Keep walks, steps and driveway obstacle-free

☐ Mow, trim, fertilize and water lawn

☐Power wash deck

☐Prune trees and bushes

☐Rake fallen leaves

☐ Remove unnecessary items such as gardening equipment

☐ Remove debris and personal items on deck and porch

☐ Remove signs such as Beware of Dog

☐ Remove weeds and dead or dying plants or flowers

☐Replace welcome mat at the doorway

☐Re-sod bare spots on lawn

Use this checklist to prepare your home to sell. All this cleaning and repairing takes time and energy, but is well worth it. All things being equal, the clean, well-maintained home will always sell faster and for more money.

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