Checklist: Getting Your House Ready to Sell
Pros to hire | Exterior checklist | Interior checklist | Next steps
Preparing your house for sale comes with a great number of tasks, so many, in fact, it can easily lead to confusion, forgetfulness, and many sleepless nights. To help you stay organized and prepare for the long road ahead, here’s a checklist of everything you need to do to get your house ready for sale.
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Professionals to hire
✔ Real estate agent: Picking the best listing agent from the start will help you price your home right and get a better outcome at closing.
✔ Real estate attorney: Some states require sellers to have a licensed attorney present at closing: AL, CT, DE, GA, IN, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MS, NH, NJ, NY, ND, PA, RI, SC, VT, VA, WA, WV.
✔ Landscaping crew: Professional landscapers can tidy your yard, paint your windows, and make minor repairs.
✔ Cleaning service: For deeper interior cleans, consider hiring professional cleaners.
✔ Dumpster rental: As you declutter, you might have more trash than your regular trash service can handle. Hire a company to drop off and pick up an extra-large trash receptacle.
✔ Home inspector: Although inspections are usually ordered by buyers, if you don't know your home's history, a pre-listing inspection can help you identify problemsand fix them ahead of time.
Outside the house
✔ Declutter driveway and yard: Remove toys, hoses, yard decorations, debris, and other eye-sores.
✔ Clean the yard: Trim bushes and prune branches that block your windows, mow the grass, weed flower beds and planting areas, remove dead or decaying plants.
Pro tip: Add fresh mulching or pine straw, or plant new flowers to give your home some color.
✔ Repair or replace light fixtures: Change all the bulbs and be sure they work.
✔ Wash the windows and the exterior walls: You can pressure wash, but be careful not to use a high setting, as it can damage the siding.
✔ Repaint mailbox, windows, and the front door:
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Inside the house
👉 Jump to: Kitchen | Bathroom | Laundry
Cleaning and staging (for all rooms)
✔ Clean out the closets: Sell or donate things you no longer need, such as clothes, toys, books, and games.
✔ Repaint rooms: Repaint dark, bold, or colorful walls with neutral colors like white, greige, or taupe.
✔ Depersonalize and neutralize: Take down family photos, personal decor, figurines, knick-knacks, wall art, and any other custom decorations. While you might be proud of your memorabilia, you want potential buyers to imagine how they would design the space from scratch.
✔ Add light touches: Depersonalizing doesn’t mean vacating the home. In addition You can add fresh flowers, a new welcome mat, and accent pillows to make the home feel fresh and inviting.
✔ Make minor repairs: Replace lightbulbs, patch holes in the walls, replace broken appliances, replace broken blinds, tighten door knobs, and lube squeaky hinges.
✔ Deep clean the hallways: Shampoo carpets, remove cobwebs from corners, wash windows.
✔ Dust everything: Dust ceiling corners, fan blades, blinds, baseboards, windows, and vents.
✔ Leave a fresh smell without artificial scents: Avoid plug-ins, incense, diffusers, sprays, and scented candles. These smells can be overpowering and distracting. Instead, eliminate the source of bad odors, open the windows if you can, and arrange some fresh flowers.
✔ Deep clean: Clean countertops, tile grout, backsplash, floors, baseboards, and cabinet doors. Pro tip: pull out the refrigerator and appliances to get hard-to-reach dust and food particles.
✔ Declutter: Remove canisters, square containers, baskets, and other things from your countertops. You want potential buyers to see your kitchen as open, spacious, and clean.
✔ Clean out appliances: Like stoves, ovens, and microwaves.
✔ Organize your pantry: At this point, you could donate unwanted food to pantries or food kitchens.
✔ Rearrange food in your refrigerator: Remove foods that gives us unpleasant odors and make your fridge space look neat and organized.
✔ Put away pet food.
✔ Empty garbage cans.
✔ Deep clean all surfaces: Toilets, bathtubs, sinks, mirrors, floors, and windows.
✔ Standardize toilet seats and lids: If you’ve modified your toilet with cloth lids or padded seats, now might be a good time to return to plastic.
✔ Wash or replace rugs: If you have three or more rugs in the bathroom, consider reducing them to one or two.
✔ Remove unnecessary toiletries from showers: Avoid cluttering inset shower shelves or having too many plastic caddies.
✔ Replace shower curtains: Nothing fancy, just a new set of curtains, especially if the current ones smell or have water stains. You can also remove or replace just the liner.
✔ Put away toothbrushes and toothpaste from sinks: But leave out one bottle of hand soap.
✔ Organize cabinets: Fold towels in the same style and make unused toiletries look neat.
Basement, garage, or laundry room
✔ Move appliances and sweep: Clean up hard-to-reach dust and cobwebs, then move appliances back.
Pro tip: High-watt bulbs will make even the darkest spaces feel bright and airy.
✔ Put away clothes, towels, or boxes.
✔ Organize cleaning supplies and tools.
- Find a low-commission real estate agent.
- Ask your agent to do a comparative market analysis (CMA) to price your home right.
- Figure out what to fix in your home — and what to leave alone.