July 7th, 2023 at 11:00 am

Preparing for an open house can seem daunting if you don’t know where to begin, so we created a free, printable checklist for selling a home to get you started. It’s normal to have a lot of questions when selling your house, but this home selling checklist outlines an all-inclusive to-do list that will ease your stress as a home seller and make your home a place prospective buyers will be raving over.

The best way to get ready to sell your house is preparing ahead of time so you’re not left scrambling at the last minute to declutter and make your house look move-in ready to improve your home’s curb appeal. Last-minute home staging and showings are not ideal, but with open houses, you usually have a decent amount of time to get your space in pristine condition so that it is ready to sell, and will win over as many home buyers (and receive as many offers) as possible.

Selling your home is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming endeavor. One can even consider selling among the benefits of owning your own home. To ensure a smooth and successful selling process, staying organized and prepared every step of the way is crucial. In this comprehensive checklist, we’ll guide you through the essential tasks before listing your property, while it’s listed, and after accepting an offer and closing the deal.

What to Do Before Listing Your Property

Evaluate Your Home’s Condition

Research the Local Market

Stage Your Home for Success

Optimize the floor plan and furniture arrangement to maximize the flow and functionality of each room.

17 Expert Home Staging Tips to Ensure an Appealing Home

#1 Make sure your home is clean and organized

If there’s one sure-fire way to turn away prospective buyers, it’s to show a house full of clutter. You obviously want the house to be warm, inviting, and move-in ready for a potential buyer, not to look like a chore list waiting to happen. If you normally keep your house in clean, good condition, you will likely be able to complete this step in the home selling checklist yourself. If you’re on the messy side, it is a worthwhile idea to hire a professional cleaning service to get the job done and increase your home’s value.

Room by room, conduct a home inspection, and check to make sure everything is in its place. Make sure that your children’s toys are put away, a pet didn’t knock something over, or you forgot to put the laundry away.

After you de-clutter, it’s a no-brainer that your house needs to be clean, but don’t forget to do a detailed job and get those spots that are often overlooked, like dusting off the ceiling fans, brushing cobwebs off high-vaulted ceilings, or cleaning those neglected baseboards.

#2 Sweep pathways and patios

Remove dirt and debris from your driveway, walkways, patios, etc to add to your home’s curb appeal. Check your landscaping to make sure no trash has blown into your yard. Remove unsightly leaves or branches, and don’t forget to clean out your gutters and downspouts.

#3 Make your place look fresh and new

In order to have your place in tip-top shape by showing day, spruce up those broken or out-dated features that you’ve put off for too long. If your interior paint job is looking faded or dingy, a fresh coat of paint will really help spruce up the place.

Other fixes come down to the details. Make sure all the light switches work, and if not, replace the light bulbs. Make sure door hinges aren’t squeaky or rusted. Make sure that nothing is broken. Re-grout kitchen and bathroom tile if need-be and replace any cocking that has receded.

#4 Remove excess vehicles

If you have two or more cars, try to park them somewhere else during the open house. If you can’t, make sure they are in the garage so that they don’t diminish your home’s curb appeal or trouble a potential buyer.

#5 Close the garage door

Whether full or empty, your home will always look better with the garage doors closed. Give them a good scrub if dirt, dust, or scuff marks are noticeable on them.

#6 Remove pets from the premises

You love your pets, but not everyone is a dog or cat person. Potential buyers who have allergies or a fear of your pup will be uncomfortable when seeing your pets during the home staging, especially if your pets are enthusiastic about meeting new friends.

#7 Lock up or remove valuables

If you have a safe, store anything of value that might be in plain sight or in the spaces potential buyers will look (and they’ll look everywhere). Otherwise, keep them with you when you vacate your home.

#8 Agree on a plan with your real estate agent

One of the benefits of working with a real estate agent is coming up with a plan together. How will your agent access your home? Will they meet you at the house? Do they have a key? How will they let you know it’s OK to return home and at what time do they expect that to be? Get all the information before you leave because once you’re gone, you won’t want to distract your real estate agent from selling your home.

#9 Turn off sprinklers

Are your sprinklers on a timer? Turn them off so they don’t go off while your agent is showing the property.

#10 Mute your landline

If you have a landline phone, mute or turn down the ringer. If you have an answering machine, set it to silent.

#11 Turn TVs off

More likely than not, the TVs in your home are leaving when you do. Turn them off so buyers are not distracted by them and pay attention to the rest of the room instead. If you have a home theater, put on a family-friendly movie and set it to mute or use an attractive screensaver.

#12 Relax the mood

Play quiet, easy-listening music throughout the home. Add a vase of fresh flowers. Give your space a cozy, welcoming feel to help potential buyers envision themselves living in.

#13 Use air fresheners

Automatic air fresheners work best, but anything you have will work. Although candles are nice, you don’t want to leave them burning when so many people will be walking in and out, as it could be a liability.

#14 Turn on lights

Make sure both interiors and exteriors are well-lighted. Even if it’s a bright, sunny day and your home receives lots of natural light, clouds or unexpected rain can darken your home at any time, so it’s better to be prepared.

#15 Light a fire

If it’s cold outside, nothing is more welcoming than a warm fireplace. Make sure you let your agent know you will be lighting it if you leave before they arrive.

#16 Set the thermostat

If it’s exceptionally hot outside, it might be tempting to crank the air conditioning, but after attendees cool off, they might become too cold and leave quicker than they would have. Instead, set the thermostat to a comfortably cool temperature and have cold, refreshing drinks available. Ask your agent to offer one to each guest upon arrival.

#17 Bake some cookies

Not only will the aroma invite guests in, but you can also serve them to guests with their refreshing beverage. Avoid serving food or drinks that can be exceptionally messy. Stick to handheld foods like cookies and fruit, and light-colored liquids like water and lemonade.

While Your Home is Listed

Capture Attention with Compelling Marketing

Stay Informed and Connected

Negotiate and Accept Offers

After Accepting an Offer and Closing

Prepare for the Closing

Clear Out and Celebrate

In Conclusion

Selling a home involves numerous tasks and considerations. By following this comprehensive checklist, you’ll be well-prepared for every stage of the home selling process. Remember to collaborate closely with your trusted real estate agent, leverage the resources available to you, and stay organized throughout the journey. Here’s to a successful home sale and exciting new beginnings!

Download Our Open House Checklist for Sellers

Are you ready to sell? Find an agent today. They can give you the best tips about the best time to sell your house and what to do when it’s time to move.

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  • This ultimate open house checklist for sellers is a must-have resource! It covers all the essential details to ensure a successful and stress-free open house event. Thanks for sharing such valuable guidance!

  • Tristan Halo says:

    It is in point of fact a nice and helpful piece of infoI am happy that you just shared this helpful info with usPlease keep us informed like this Thanks for sharing

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