Pre-Marketing Checklist -- Preparing Your Home to Sell

Tips for Setting Up Your Home to Be Sold

We can't stress enough how important it is to get your property in its best possible condition prior to offering it for sale.  Everyone wants to sell their home in the least amount of time at the best possible price, right? 

The simple truth is that homes with great curb appeal and homes that are super clean, well maintained, and have pleasing decor sell faster and for more money than homes that don't measure up.  It doesn't need to cost you a boatload of money . . . just work your way through this checklist to be certain you are presenting your home in its best possible light.

Create Curb Appeal for Your Property

  Make sure your lawn is manicured.  Fill in bare spots in your lawn with grass seed, and eliminate as many weeds as possible.

♦  Run the edger along the driveway and sidewalks for a clean line, and keep the driveway and walkways swept or hosed clean.

♦  Trim all shrubbery, remove dead branches from trees, and remove/replace any old or dying bushes.

  Thoroughly clean all your outdoor furniture, and touch up paint where needed.  Dress your patios/decks up with some fresh flowers now that they are clean and inviting.

♦  Keep your front entryway super clean and freshly painted.  This includes the front porch, pillars, stairs, and door.  Once it is clean and painted, dress up the front door with a welcoming wreath or a new door knocker.  A potted plant or two also dresses up the entry and makes a great first impression.

♦  Check that house numbers, mailbox and exterior lighting are all in good condition.

♦  Thoroughly clean all windows and screens, and re-caulk or repaint where necessary.

♦  Stand back at the street and take a good hard critical look at your property.  Do the roof, gutters, downspouts, siding, and chimney look good?  Would a good cleaning do them wonders?  Are repairs in order?  Get the cleaning, repainting, repointing and repairs done. 

Tidy Up The Garage

  If you're a pack rat, get a dumpster and get rid of all the old junk taking up space in your garage.  Buyers need to see that their cars will fit in the space.  If you can't part with the stuff, then rent a storage unit for a few months while your home is for sale and take everything there that you don't need right now.

♦  Thoroughly clean the walls, shelves and floor, and repaint where necessary.  It's not difficult or expensive, but having a freshly painted garage floor leaves an amazing impression.

♦  Ensure the garage door opener is working properly and put some WD40 on a squeaky door.  Oh, and make sure the garage door has been thoroughly cleaned and windows washed.

Get The Kitchen in Order

  Determine whether you really need that blender, canisters, rooster, and all those other things that clutter up your countertops sitting out.  Put them away or pack them away.  You now have much more usable counter space and buyers will notice.

♦  Sinks, appliances and counter tops should sparkle!  They should also be in good working order.  Fix any faucet leaks and replace any damaged appliance knobs.

  If your cabinets are outdated, new hardware may make them look 100-times better.  The big-box home stores have a great selection of affordable cabinet knobs.  For a small amount of money you can add an 'updated' look to your tired old cabinets. 

♦  If you have ceramic tile, as unpleasant as this is, thoroughly scrub all the grout, or stain the grout if it is beyond cleaning.  Often Soft Scrub used with a stiff brush produces good results.  Professional cleaning may be in order.

Always Check The Bathrooms Before Showing Your Home

  Thoroughly clean mirrors, glass, chrome and porcelain surfaces.  If you have grout, then scrub away.

♦  Replace shower curtain and bathroom rug with something fresh and tasteful.

♦  Fix any faucet leaks or drips.

♦  Check the caulking around the tub and shower and replace with fresh caulking where necessary.  Any caulking with mold on it has to go.

Don't Forget To Look in the Closets

  Pack away everything that you are not going to need for the next few months.  Neatly store in boxes in the basement, or rent a storage facility if you don't have a basement or have a lot of clutter.  Remember that closets are never big enough, and the least amount of items that are taking up space, the larger your closets look.

♦  Organize your clothes and shoes neatly on bars and racks.  The more organized and clean and better!

♦  Doors and drawers should open and close easily.  Make sure all tracks are clean and free of obstacles, and any squeaks are oiled.

Other Tips and Places to Check Before Showing Your Home

  Check all the basics around the house . . . all doors, windows and cabinets . . . to make sure they don't stick, squeak or are loose, and that all the hardware is in good condition.

♦  Apply fresh paint where needed.  If a room needs re-painted, use neutral-toned paint to brightened up the space.

♦  Carpets, draperies, and furniture should all be professionally cleaned and looking their best.

♦  Replace all burned out light bulbs.

♦  Clean the fireplace and remove smoke stains from the wall and mantle.

♦  Clean your furnace and water heater, and replace furnace filters as needed.  All buyers are looking at these things and are impressed by a home that shows good care and maintenance.

♦  Does your home smell pleasant?  Place diffusers or air fresheners with a pleasant and mild scent around your home.  The old adage of enticing buyers with the smell of 'fresh baked pies' is a good one.  Placing some cinnamon or other sweet spices on a piece of aluminum foil and warming them in the oven creates a pleasant smell too.

♦  If you have a nice stereo system in your house, show it off.  Play classical or jazz music (you can even get 'home staging' music CD's) at a low volume to create a pleasant ambiance and unique showing experience.


Use the common-sense approach to preparing 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.

Contact Us for professional advice.