The Really BIG List of Things TO DO Before You List Your House For Sale

The really big list of things you need to do starts way before the stager comes, way before you decide on price, and needs to be discussed with your Listing Agent or Broker.  

First, how fast do you need to get moved?  If it is fast, you need to get started immediately and follow this step by step guide.  


  • De-clutter – You need to do all that you can to make the house as free of clutter as you can.  If you have a lot of stuff, pack it up, and put it in a pod or a storage unit while you’re selling your home, you will be moving anyway, so start gleaning now. Nothing says “this house is cramped” like a house full of stuff. 
  • Clear off counter surfaces: Clear everything off the kitchen and bathroom counters, the mantel and book shelves.  Less is more!  Show off your space not your stuff.  
  • Un-personality your home: You may love the paintings and wall decor, but selling time is neutral time.  Look at model homes in new construction neighborhoods, copy what they do, decorate to enhance the features of the house, not to show your personality.  Keep personal photos to a minim.  You want potential buyers to picture themselves living in the house, not to feel like creepy peeping Tom's looking into your life!
  • Fix obvious issues that need repair:  If you noticed the cracked drywall, buyers will too, take care of it before listing. If the kitchen faucet drips, take care of it, and make sure the hard water deposits the drip left are cleaned up, too.  The ripped screen on the slider to the patio… get it, time to replace it.
  • Freshen up with paint: A coat of neutral color paint will make your house shine.  You may love the red kitchen, but you will want that kitchen to appeal to the masses. Some rooms may just need a touch up, but remember, if you paint the filled nail holes where your wall art was, those small circles will look like polka dots if you don't paint the entire wall.   Light neutral colors will make the rooms look large and bright, too.
  • Caulk it: A fresh clean line of white caulk will make your bathroom shower look fresh and bright, watch a couple of YouTube videos on how to apply it like a pro.
  • Update outdated or unsightly fixtures:  If your home is over 10 years old and you haven't updated the light fixtures or faucets, you can easily update that outdated look relatively inexpensively. Changing the towel racks and adding a frame to the mirror in your bathroom can update the look for not too much money.
  • Replace or clean the outlet and light switch covers: With a flat blade screw driver you can remove the covers and run them through the dishwasher, if the screw heads look scraped and warn, you may want to spend a couple dollars and replace them, if not, clean is the way go. The outlets and switches will look great!
  • Replace warn carpet: If the carpets are old and warn, stained or threadbare you will get more money for the house if you spend the money now and replace the carpet.  You don't have to spend money on top of the line replacement carpeting, new carpet and new pad will make the house smell clean and new, and will show the features of the room off.  If your carpets are relatively new, have them PROFESSIONALLY cleaned.  
  • Replace your light bulbs: Replace the bulbs in your light fixtures to the brightest available. Nothing will make your home show better than great lighting.  Florescent bulbs that take time to warm up may take too long for a buyer to get the real feel for your home.   a
  • Clean the shades/curtains:  The dust can collect and dull the luster of the natural light, give the curtains a good vacuuming, if they still look dull, have them cleaned or consider a trip to IKEA or Target.  
  • Pack up clothes and accessories: If your closets are jammed with clothes, pack away the ones you don’t need and put them in storage. The roomier you can make your closets look the better!
  • Oil squeaky doors and hinges: Go around the house and oil any squeaky doors and hinges.  Squeaky hinges can make a house feel old.

There are also quite a few things you can do outside the home to make sure that it has great curb appeal.



  • ​​Clean your windows:  Make sure to clean your windows so that they look clean from inside and out, and let plenty of light in.
  • Wash the house down: If you’ve got siding on your house, give it a good cleaning so that it looks fresh and new. Spraying it down with the hose may be all you need, if it's been awhile, a powerwash may be the answer.
  • Clean the moss off  the roof and walkways:   If your patio and sidewalks have moss on them, you could have a slip hazard, take care of it before the first buyer comes by.  There are products you can treat your roof with as well, most are available at hardware stores, or calling a roofing company could be a safer way to go.
  • Paint the house and/or trim: If your house paint is peeling and is looking worn, you may want to consider painting the house. At a minimum painting the trim can be a good idea.
  • Trim the bushes back: If you’ve got big overgrown bushes in front of the house you may want to consider cutting them back a bit.  If bushes or undergrowth gets too out of control, it can hide the house and make it feel out of repair.
  • Plant flowers and other plants: Consider planting a few bright colored, inexpensive flowers and plants, or get a planter to put in front of the house.   
  • Fresh barkdust: Put down a few fresh bags barkdust in the beds to define the yard and landscaping.  The result shows that you maintain things, including the landscaping.
  • Clean the AC unit condenser:  Make sure to clear debris out of your AC unit condenser coils, and hose it down to make it clean, if it has been awhile since you have had the unit serviced, consider a preventative maintenance visit from your local HVAC company.
  • Make the home’s entry inviting: Spruce up the home’s porch, front door and entry way make your home's first impression on a potential buyer.  Make sure it is a good one! 
  • Clean, clean, clean: Your home needs to shine from top to bottom.  Remember that there are multiple definitions for a clean house.  You will need to meet the pickiest buyer's definition of clean.  Before you list, you may want to consider hiring a professional cleaning team to come in and give your home the once over.  The corners, trim, and surfaces may need a good one time deep clean before that For Sale sign goes up in the yard.

When it comes down to it, if you spend a few dollars to fix, clean and de-clutter your house before you place on the market, your home will sell for more money in less time.


Selling your home can be quite the undertaking, but if you put in the time, do your research and do what it takes to make the sale, you could end up with thousands more in your pocket because of your hard work.

When you are ready to list, call us, let us show you how you may get even more money in your pocket by hiring our team.  It doesn't cost you more to go first class.  

Denice Neddo    360-607-4226                 Christina Waterhouse   (206) 495-5015

Posted on October 19, 2015 at 2:51 pm
Denice Neddo | Category: Uncategorized

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