Getting Your House Ready to Sell Checklist

Rose Morrison

Dec 21, 2020


We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

If you’re on the hunt for the ultimate getting ready to sell your house checklist, you’re in luck, because we have it right here for you. Whether you’ve been in your house since you struck out on your own as a homeowner or this isn’t your first rodeo, you can use these tips to sell your house like an expert.

You may find yourself surprised by some of these tips, and some may be more pertinent to your home than others. But if you’re wondering where to begin, this checklist might be able to offer you a bit of guidance.

Follow these steps to get your house ready to sell:

  1. Research comparable homes
  2. Boost your curb appeal
  3. Fix any property issues
  4. Declutter inside
  5. Repaint your walls
  6. Depersonalize your space
  7. Clear out the funk
  8. Deep clean everything
  9. Fill in the cracks
  10. Fix loose ends
  11. Clean the closets
  12. Hide or stash your valuables
  13. Take professional-grade photos
  14. Light spaces properly

1. Research Comparable Homes

It’s always important to see how nearby homes are valued. This way, you’ll know how to list your property. Take a look at comparable houses, which are similar in size, location and features.

Remember that even though your neighbor’s home may have sold for $450,000, you may only be able to get $400,000. It all depends on the current state of the market.

2. Boost Your Curb Appeal

a house with nice curb appeal

Curb appeal is the first thing people see when they arrive at your house, and first impressions stick with people. Homebuyers want to see a tidy, well-kept yard and home.

Even if you don’t want to plant a whole rose garden or replace your siding, cleaning up your home’s exterior and making it presentable can make your house even more appealing. Taking care of your lawn, trimming bushes and plants and cleaning up any debris or toys in your yard can all make the house look better and more presentable to buyers.

If you’re itching to go the extra mile, you could always plant a few flowers out front or even power-wash your house while you set up for home showings. It couldn’t hurt your chances. Think of it like the cherry on top of your great foundation.

3. Fix Any Property Issues

Did you recently have to repair some roof damage? It’s essential to ensure your property doesn’t have any considerable maintenance problems. There might be a point when you need to disclose issues to buyers, so you should fix concerns that could become more significant later.

Remember to tackle things like old grout, broken appliances and cracked floorboards, too.

4. Declutter Inside

declutter your closet to get your house ready to resell

Clutter can quickly make a house look smaller and more cramped. So, if you want your home to seem airy, bright and open, you may want to do some decluttering before you put it on the market.

Plus, you’re moving anyway, so why not do yourself a favor and clear out some junk? By tidying up the kitchen, home office, play areas and entryway, you can create the feeling of space for those trying to imagine themselves living there.

5. Repaint Your Walls

One of the primary goals of preparing a house to sell aesthetically is allowing for that blank-canvas experience. That way, potential homebuyers can imagine themselves putting their individual spin and vision on each room.

Even if your decor is modern and stylish, your home office could become their perfect nursery or rec room. You never know what others expect, and giving them the opportunity to project is one of the best ways to show your home’s versatility.

Most experts suggest painting the walls white, though other light colors and off-white tones can also work well when painting to sell.

6. Depersonalize Your Space

Repainting and decluttering all speak to an overarching goal you can aim toward as you near the selling process — depersonalization. When you’re getting ready to sell your home, remember that you’re selling the idea of a future others can make in it. Allowing that vision to be as clear as possible will boost your resale value to new heights.

If you have highly personal decor or a more eclectic style, now could be the time to tone things down a bit — not forever, but only while you’re selling. When a house looks more standard, buyers can imagine how they’ll personalize the space.

This doesn’t mean you should make your house look bland and boring, or try to cover up its natural character. Allow any quirks and features to shine as much as possible. If you live in a unique or historic home, lean into the traits that make it special. Highlight the built-in bookshelves or the bay window. Feature the spiral staircase or the original wood flooring. Clear out a bit of your personality, so the home’s personality can take the lead.

7. Clear Out the Funk

The home’s entire sensory experience comes into play when potential buyers explore it for the first time. With that in mind, if your home has any lingering smells that are a bit off, it’s best to pinpoint and address them before you start the selling process. Whether the odors are in the kitchen, the bathroom or coming from a corner somewhere, identifying the root cause and eliminating it is the best solution.

While you can light candles and burn incense to freshen up the place before you show the house, deep-cleaning solutions might be necessary to clear out bad smells — especially if the root cause is something like mold or insects. You can use natural remedies like vinegar or baking soda to eliminate unpleasant odors, too.

8. Deep Clean Everything

a kitchen with stainless steel features

When buyers come into a home, they probably don’t want to deal with dirt and grime. The feeling of needing to clean up a place or the implication that it’s dirty can be a turn-off for any buyer. People want to feel like a home is a clean slate for them in every way, including literal cleanliness.

Deep-cleaning the carpets, washing the windows, scrubbing down any dirty surfaces and getting rid of clutter can all help make a home much more presentable for those looking to buy. If you get the sense that your home needs a little extra help, you can even bring in some professionals like a carpet cleaner or a cleaning service to do a full sweep of the place before you sell. That way, you only have to handle upkeep and finishing touches.

9. Fill in the Cracks

When getting ready to sell your home, never underestimate the power of small details. If you’ve lived in your house for a while, there’s bound to be some wear and tear around the edges, and that’s OK — it shows all the love you’ve devoted to it over the years. When it comes time to sell, patching things up can make the house feel a bit more refined and ready for someone new. Fixing any scuff marks on floors and walls can improve the space immensely, as can caulking holes or dents from accidents or hanging decor on the walls. That way, the home looks a bit more pristine.

10. Fix Loose Ends

a roof with broken shingles

Speaking of the little details, fixing anything that might feel off or undesirable in your home can go a long way when showing it to potential buyers and making a sale.

Since every house is different, the specifics often vary from family to family, but some common ones that people often forget are things like broken windows, light fixtures, lightbulbs, doorbells, door knobs, handles, hinges, shingles and deck planks.

While there’s no need to drive yourself crazy trying to create perfection, the loose ends can sometimes make a difference, and giving them some extra love can do more than you think.

11. Clean the Closets

When you declutter your home for sale, your first instinct may be to shove all the junk into the closet. But with buyers wanting to poke around and get a sense for the place, there are a few reasons to avoid this impulse. Potential buyers want to know how much closet space they’ll have to work with, and they’ll likely want to peek inside. With a closet full of junk, it’ll be harder to get a true look around, and the messiness will be off-putting.

In addition to general disorganization, clutter tends to make spaces look smaller — this is as true for closets as it is for larger rooms. People usually want more closet space, so to give potential buyers an accurate idea of how much room you have to offer, keeping things sparse and neat is probably the best way to go.

12. Hide or Stash Your Valuables

This last tip is something people often forget about when it comes to selling their house, but it’s unfortunately quite necessary. If anything in your home is precious and valuable to you — either emotionally or financially — hiding it well or keeping it somewhere safe is smart.

This is especially true during events like open houses or walkthroughs. Even if only a few visitors are in your house, you’d be surprised what people might sneak off with. You can rent a safety deposit box at your bank or ask a trusted friend or family member to keep your valuables until you make the move to your new home.

13. Take Professional-Grade Photos

These days, 93% of buyers in America use websites and apps to browse home listings. That’s why you need to ensure your house looks perfect online. If you wish, you can hire a professional to take photos, as they’ll know which shots will sell your home best. But you can use your smartphone to achieve decent results, too.

Here are a few tips to help:

  • Use natural lighting when possible.
  • Take all photos horizontally rather than vertically.
  • Make your space look cozy and appealing.
  • Capture views, especially when your home faces the ocean or mountains.
  • Don’t overedit your images.

Be sure to enlist your design-focused friends for assistance.

14. Light Spaces Properly

a living room with large bright open windows

No one wants to tour a home that resembles a cave. Make sure every fixture in your house has the right light bulbs. This way, you can ensure your space looks bright enough.

Opt for softer lighting in some areas, like the bedrooms, to make them feel cozier. Remember to open your blinds, as well.

The Ultimate Getting Your House Ready to Sell Checklist

Getting ready to sell your house bring a lot of memories, emotions and sometimes even stress. It’s OK to feel overwhelmed at times throughout the process — whether you’re a first-time seller or you’ve done this many times before. Your selling process will be unique to your family as you navigate toward your next adventure.

Whether you need to rearrange your furniture, paint a few rooms, declutter or even sweep through those closets, you will find a buyer who will love your home as much as you currently do. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but putting in the extra effort always counts. What project are you ready to start on to sell your home?

Did you enjoy this post? Join the Renovated community!

A house is more than just where you live. It's where you build a community. We'll give you all the latest trends you need to make your home your haven. Subscribe and never miss out!
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

About The Author