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The Ultimate Home Seller’s To Do List

-By Shari Fortune

Getting your house ready to put on the market can seem like an overwhelming task. Simplify the job by tackling one room at a time, with this handy checklist.

If you are short on time, it’s especially important to remember to prioritize this list. Cleaning, packing up & de-cluttering should be your top priority. You want to make your home look as new as possible if you want to get the most out of your sale, in the least amount of time. Consult with your REALTOR early on in the process for the best results.

Home buyers are going to be much more critical of your home than they are of their own. Most people don’t dust their house top to bottom weekly, but they will notice if yours isn’t.   When your home is on the market, it needs to stay in show condition- what you would expect of a new Model home.

Opening up floor space by removing excess furniture, de-personalizing, and de-cluttering invite prospective home buyers to imagine themselves in your home. They will feel welcomed and relaxed; hopefully imagining where they might put their things! We always tell our sellers: once your home is on the market, it’s no longer your home.


Cleaning IconCLEAN/REPLACE AS NEEDED:

  • Light Switch Covers
  • Fireplace
  • Light Bulbs
  • Front door
  • Carpets
  • Blinds
  • Doors and Door Knobs
  • Interior & Exterior Paint
  • AC/Heater vents

DUST EVERYTHING:

  • Walls
  • Blinds
  • Ceilings
  • Baseboards
  • Windows
  • A/C Intake Vents
  • Ceiling Fans

MAKE IT INVITING:

  • Rearrange furniture to maximize visual floor space
  • Pack up all knick-knacks and figurines
  • Prune and nurture all house plants
  • Reduce or add house plants to a balanced number
  • Remove any furniture that you can live without
  • Remove all but a few decorative books from bookshelves
  • Pack away personal family photos to de-personalize the home
  • Reduce the amount of wall art to one or two items per room
  • Add lamps to any dark spaces to brighten the room
  • Avoid using Scented candles, sprays, and plug-in air fresheners
  • Leave your home smelling fresh and clean with an essential oil diffuser

LIVING ROOMS & FAMILY ROOMS:

  • Keep coffee tables clear
  • Remove any ashtrays
  • Keep furniture at a minimum
  • Any toys should be stored out of sight
  • Use pillows and throws to soften the space

DINING ROOMS:

  • Bottom of Chandelier should be at min. 60” from the floor
  • Keep dining table clear except for one nice centerpiece
  • Remove extra chairs from the table and dining room
  • Remove extra leaves from the table
  • The table should seat 4 to 6 chairs max.

KITCHEN:

  • Clear all items from kitchen countertops
  • Clean tile grout; bleach if needed
  • Clean the stove, oven, and microwave
  • Clear the refrigerator of magnets, pictures, and messages
  • Repair broken or loose corners on Formica countertops
  • Replace burner pans on the stove if worn
  • Keep all mops, brooms, vacuums, etc., put away.
  • Empty the garbage before each showing
  • Remove any pet food and water dishes before showings
  • Organize pantry to look nice and neat
  • Box up any dishes & cooking supplies you can live without
  • Scrub/polish the sink to make it look like new again

BEDROOMS:

  • Make beds daily
  • Invest in new bedspreads if necessary (consult stager first)
  • Clear off bedside tables, dressers, etc.
  • Store daily necessities in drawers or closets
  • Organize closets to be nice and neat
  • Keep closet doors closed
  • Keep all the floors clear and vacuum regularly
  • Remove all wall decor, other than a tasteful piece of art
  • Repair any holes or damage to walls

LAUNDRY:

  • Put soap and supplies in cupboards
  • Keep all surfaces and sink clean and empty
  • Use high watt bulbs to make it look brighter
  • Remove any and all clothing, dirty or clean.
  • Keep floors cleared of clutter and mop regularly

BATH:

  • Clear and clean ALL surfaces
  • Display a bottle of hand soap or a clean bar of soap
  • Purchase new towels if necessary (consult stager first)
  • Coordinate all linens in one or two colors
  • Fold towels in thirds on towel rack
  • Remove all unnecessary items out of shower stalls and tubs
  • Clean or replace all shower curtains
  • Clean any moldy areas in the showers and baths
  • Replace caulking to make it look new again
  • Take off all cloth toilet lids and keep lids closed
  • Hide garbage cans and cleaning supplies
  • Organize cabinets to be nice and neat

EXTERIOR:

  • Look at your house objectively from your neighbor’s yard
  • Clean or repaint the front door if needed
  • Repaint the exterior and trim if needed
  • Replace any rotten wood on the exterior
  • Sweep all walkways, patios, porches, and decks
  • Pressure wash any dirty/stained concrete
  • Re-stain deck wood as needed
  • Wash windows, inside and out
  • Use outdoor furniture to show use of space
  • Outdoor drapes, pillows, and throws create an inviting retreat

GARAGE:

  • Clean and sweep out the garage
  • Keep storage nice and neat
  • Repaint dirty areas
  • Pack anything you can live without

YARD:

  • Prune bushes and plants to look healthy
  • Do not allow shrubs or plants to block windows
  • Weed all planting areas
  • Put down fresh mulch to restore color contrast
  • Keep the lawn freshly mowed, edged, and fertilized
  • Remove any dead plantsAdd a few flowers for a splash of color if needed

FINAL THOUGHTS:

It might start to seem like it will take forever to accomplish, but getting your home ready before listing it is imperative. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Don’t make the costly mistake of listing your home for sale before you have had time to finish up the process.

If you start to lose focus, just remember: your goal is that prospective home buyers won’t be able to tell whether or not anyone lives in the home. Your home should stand out above the rest because you have gone above what the average home seller would do. Rest Assured, all your hard work will pay off at the closing table.

 

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