Tips to Get Your Home Ready to Sell

If you’re planning to put your home on the market, you will want your property to look its best!  Good housekeeping, repair and spaciousness bring the highest price and fast sales.  Use this checklist as your guide for preparing your home to sell.


Paint:  Few things you do will enhance the salability of your house quite as much as painting the outside.  Before painting, scrape or power wash any blistered or peeling paint, and repair any gutters or down spouts.  Replace wood showing signs of dry rot, and pay special attention to the trim, gutters, and wrought iron.

Front Entry:  Give special care to this area because the front entry is where buyers get their first opportunity to make a close inspection.  First Impressions do make a difference!

Details:  All woodwork should be freshly and neatly painted, including the door, if necessary.  Replace a broken doorbell button.  Polish any door brass, and paint or replace an unsightly mailbox.  Put out a new or clean doormat.  Clean glass in storm door or main door.

Yard:  Mow and trim the lawn.  Weed flower beds and remove or replace dead trees or plants.  Water regularly during the growing season.  With landscaping, make sure that o underlying plastic is exposed, and that mulch and rocks are tidy.  Remove unwanted grass and weeds.

Driveway, Garage/Carport:  Clean up grease or oil spots.  See that the garage door(s) open freely, and make sure your garage door openers are in working order.  Sweep, or

hose out, and organize your garage/carport.

Central Air Unit:  Make sure fan is clean & free of debris, and unit has proper drainage.

Patio:  A nice spread of outdoor furniture looks very appealing.  If necessary, borrow some from a friend to enhance the show-ability of your property.


Windows:  Replace damaged screens, or remove them entirely. It’s better to have no screens than unsightly ones.  Replace any cracked or broken panes.  Also, notice unsightly foliage near windows.  A window framed in ivy can give a warm, homey feeling, but cut it back if greenery is restricting the light coming into the rooms.  Curtain rods should be affixed firmly to walls and should work smoothly.  Window coverings should be in good condition.  Blinds or shutters should be dusted on both sides and in working order.

Doors:  Check to see that all doors open and close freely, including closet, patio, and sliding doors.  Oil squeaky hinges and tighten doorknobs and handles.  While you’re at it, tighten hardware of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, too!

Walls:  As with the exterior, painting indoors will pay dividends in proportion to the time and effort spent.  Wallpaper should be clean and adhere smoothly to walls.

Floors:  Repair or replace missing or damaged pieces of tile.  Repairing a loose stair tread plate or loose carpeting on stair or hallway is a top priority.  Make sure linoleum is clean and wood floors are polished.

Carpet:  Steam cleaning is the best answer for soiled carpets, often shampooing isn’t enough.  If pet odors are present, clean the carpet some time before your house is placed on the market to be sure odors have been eliminated.  Stretch any wrinkles in carpeting.


Lights:  Every light socket in and around the house should have a good bulb of adequate wattage.  Don’t overlook those outside and in the garage.  Also remember the utility room, halls, closets, over the kitchen sink, and those in the oven and exhaust hood.

Switches and Fixtures:  Repair or replace wall switches, outlets, and light fixtures that don’t work or are unsightly.  Replace broken switch plates.  You may need to call in a professional electrician.

Appliances:  Those that will be sold with the home should be in good working condition.  If specific equipment doesn’t work and you don’t intend to repair it, point this out.

Plumbing:  Badly chipped or irreversibly stained sinks and tubs should be re-enameled, patched or replaced.  Leaky or excessively noisy toilets should be fixed, as well as malfunctioning faucets.

Sprinkler Systems:  These should be working properly with no defective heads.


One of the best and least expensive ways to improve the appearance of your home is to open up as much space as possible.  Openness stimulates positive feeling in buyers.  Overstuffed rooms or closets give the impression of being smaller than they actually are.  You can’t change the size of what you have, but you can try to present it in a pleasing way.

Closets and Storage Areas:  One of the most frequently voiced requirements of buyers is for more closet and storage space.  Open up your storage areas by getting rid of items you aren’t using.

Counters and Cabinets:  The same principle used for closets applies here ~ overcrowding gives the impression of inadequacy.  This also applies to bathrooms and kitchens, with the kitchen being the most important.  Store infrequently used countertop appliances, and keep decorative items to a minimum.

Garage:  Buyers will pay a premium for a garage if they can visualize it being of value to them, but it is hard to sell the virtues of a garage when it is crammed or overflowing.  If your garage has become a two-car attic, move the excess to a storage facility.


Bathrooms:  Few places in the home can get so dirty so fast, and yet few things will “un-sell” a home as quickly as a dirty bathroom.  Vanity, sink, faucet hardware, and mirror are all focal points, but keep in mind other potential problems:  soap residue in shower, a moldy shower curtain, dirty tracks in sliding shower door, soiled or missing grout, unkempt toilet bowls, and dirty or battered bath mats.

Kitchen:  Most buyers will inspect the kitchen carefully, so extra time here is well spent.  Clean the stove inside and out, not forgetting the area behind the stove.  Don’t neglect the exhaust hood-buyers frequently check this area as a clue to general housekeeping. 

Windows:  Clean windows are an absolute necessity if a house is to look its best!

Dust sills.  Weather permitting, open windows to let in fresh air.