Home Preparation

Home Preparation

Now that you've made the decision to sell your house, likely you want to get the most for it as you can. There are many simple but effective home preparation changes you can do, that will help you attract a bid and and get the best price possible. 

While not all of the items need to be done, it's a good idea to read over this checklist to see if there is anything more you could to improve your home's appeal.

Put Yourself In The Buyer's Shoes

Try viewing your home from a buyer's perspective: Does the place seem friendly and inviting when you pull into the driveway? Is the yard mowed and tidy? Does it have a pleasant smell when you walk through the door? Are there obvious repairs that need to be done? Do the garage, attic, and closets have a clean, organized feel?

By placing yourself in the position of the buyer who will be viewing your house, you'll be able to view the home objectively and make changes according. Buyers will be comparing your home to competing properties; You want yours to stand out from the rest.

From The Inside Out

The good news is, you don’t have to break the bank to get your house in showcase condition. Many cosmetic changes be made with minimal expense, and increase your home’s value by thousands.

Begin by cleaning and decluttering your home inside and out. A perception of uncleanliness is an immediate turnoff to many viewers; a clean, uncluttered space lets the buyer explore comfortably, and envision their own touches. Your home should look move-in ready.

Interior Improvements


  • Remove all shoes, jackets, backpacks, etc.
  • Touch up the paint if needed
  • Clean the area, the walls, door knobs, light switches, etc.
  • Add simple vase of flowers on a table or other lightly scented fragrances (no plug-in's or chemical smells)

Kitchen & Dining:

  • Thoroughly scrub all appliances and cabinetry inside and out
  • Declutter and wipe down countertops and tables
  • Make any needed repairs to faucets, appliances, and hardware
  • Setting out bowls of fruit or a vase of flowers, adds instant charm

Living Area:

  • Straighten and declutter bookshelves
  • Clean the fireplace, and add new logs
  • Open the blinds and let in the natural light for a fresh, airy feel
  • Arrange greenery and books on tables and shelves
  • Pack most of what you own and leave the bare minimum
  •  Arrange furniture in conversational groupings
  • Wash the windows


  • Clean the toilets, tub, and countertops
  • Polish the mirrors and add some scented soap
  • Repair grout and calking
  • Repair faulty plumbing such as clogged drains or a running toilet
  • Set out nice towels and light a candle


  • Pick up any clutter and dirty laundry
  • Make the beds with attractive linens and decorative throw pillows for a restful atmosphere
  • Polish the furniture
  • Vacuum the carpets


  • Clear out all the junk and debris that you don't need
  • Store or neatly arrange all items
  • Sweep the floor


  • Organize pantries, cabinets, closets etc. Everything WILL be opened
  • Touch up the paint
  • Turn on lamps and accent lighting.
  • Sweep/mop/vacuum ALL the floors
  • Clean walls, doors and woodwork.
  • Eliminate smoke, mildew and pet odors.
  • Repair or replace any loose trim or broken hardware.
  • Adjust or lubricate squeaky and hard-to-open doors, windows, drawers.

Exterior Improvements

First impressions do matter - The first thing a prospective buyer is going to see is your house exterior. Many buyers drive by before they request a home tour, and you don't want the outside to be the reason he never steps foot inside. Here are some things you can do to add curb appeal:

  • Mow and edge the lawn
  • Weed the garden and flowerbeds
  • Trim any shrubbery that looks unsightly or overgrown
  • Pick up trash and debris
  • Fix any light fixtures that are not operating properly
  • Be sure that all gutters and downspouts are and clean
  • Sweep the sidewalks and steps
  • Grease the garage door
  • Replace missing shingles, broken windows, and busted screens
  • Wash the front door/entry area where bugs like to hang out
  • Put away yard tools, empty flower pots, and hoses
  • Touch up your house’s paint on the doors, shutters, windows, decking, and trim
  • Secure any loose railings and be sure the porch and/or deck is in good condition
  • Ensure the pool is clean and free of debris

Note: It is important to identify your home’s flaws or problems. It's recommended that you get a Home Inspection done. Sellers are required to disclose any major problems in the structure or property, such as dry rot, or a flooding basement. The disclosure obligations vary state to state, but you could be sued for fraud if you fail to mention termites or the leaky roof.

Although it may be a lot of work, these things will help tremendously in the sale of your home. Most of these items you can do with little to no money - all you need is little elbow grease to make your home look attractive and inviting.

For more tips on home preparation, read Home Seller Tips.


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