The Ultimate ‘Before You List’ Checklist for First-Time Sellers

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It is a known fact that homes with great curb appeal and homes that are clean, well maintained, and have pleasing decor sell faster and for more money than homes that don’t measure up. Looking at your home now you may have trouble envisioning your house meeting those high standards. However, if you just work your way through this checklist to be certain you are presenting your home in its best possible light.


Curb Appeal is extremely important for most home buyers. Invest time into taking care of some outdoor tasks to give your home a great impression on the buyer before they even walk into the door. One of the landscaping tasks that might make the biggest difference is your grass. Ensure it is manicured by filling in patches and remove weeds. Accent the beautiful lawn with freshly trimmed trees and bushes. Perhaps you could even add more greenery around your house with bushes, flowers or small trees.

Replace old Windows and Doors

Adding to the curb appeal of your house is your entryway. Our front doors take a beating in their lifetime from a variety of causes. Check out your front door for dings and chipped paint. If the damage is more than 5 small blemishes you should consider getting a new front door. Holes in screen doors or fault locks should also be replaced. Windows require the same inspection as they may have developed leaks where air is escaping causing drafts which are unpleasant for buyers. Making this investment into new windows and doors can raise the houses selling point substantially.


A fresh coat of paint can make just about anything look cleaner, and newer. The walls and ceilings collect more dirt than you may realize and can make our walls look dingy. This layer of dirt can be seen when you remove photos that have been hanging for years or move furniture and see what color the walls used to be behind it. It is a good idea to paint your walls a neutral color that will appeal to a wide range of buyers. Browns and Creams are great options throughout the living areas with perhaps a splash of blue or green in the kitchen to add variance.

Update Fixtures

Sinks, appliances and other fixtures should sparkle! They should also be in good working order. Fix any faucet leaks and replace any damaged appliance knobs as you come across them. Replacing that old knob may add new life to your appliances and other fixtures in your house. In the kitchen your outdated cabinets could look refreshed with new hardware. The big-box home stores have a great selection of affordable cabinet knobs so for a small amount of money you can add an ‘updated’ look to your tired old cabinets.


When a potential buyer comes to view your home, it is very likely you may still be living there. While this is not a problem, these people do not want to see all of your belongings throughout your house. They want to see the full potential of how much space is available and imagine their belongings in it. Hosting a yard sale is a great way to get rid of your unnecessary items while also getting some cash to put back into prepping the house for sale. Once you reduce the number of items, neatly organize what remains in your closets, basement or other storage areas to appear tidy to viewers.

Get the House Cleaned

A house that appears to be clean and well maintained will sell much better than a house that was shown with stains on the carpets or kids crayon marks on the walls. Invest in a cleaning service to deep clean your home including the outside. Be sure they, or you, pay special attention to your kitchen and bathrooms. These are the dirtiest places in our homes and are home to plenty of stains and soap scum. A potential buyer will be very thankful to walk into a fresh smelling bathroom with glistening sinks and tub as opposed to a toilet with cat hair around the base and a shower head coated in lime scale.

Furnish for the Buyer

Ultimately potential buyers are going to want to imagine your house as their own. Make this easier for them by ‘staging’ your home. Some fresh fruit in a bowl on the kitchen counter or some casually thrown blankets on the loveseat- just a few homey touches are all you need. Avoid using personal belongings in your viewings to present the house as a neutral ground. Many new home buyers are looking for open spaces with lots of natural light. Be sure to remove unnecessary furniture pieces and open the blinds before you show the house. Remember to keep colors warm and inviting and avoid over decorating. Less is more in most situations.

Eliminate bad odors

When you enter a new environment each one your senses attempt to make sense of it- smell included. Living in your home for so long you may have become accustomed to your home’s natural scent. However, this scent may not be appealing to others. If you have pets hide the pet beds and litter boxes and spray air neutralizer throughout your home. Getting your carpets professionally cleaned will assist in removing smells in living areas while deep cleaning the bathrooms and basement can remove unpleasant scents there. When showing the home, you can go a step further and fill it with inviting smells by putting out fresh flowers and baking a batch of cookies.

If you have ever sold a home, share your experience, and any other ‘before you list’ tasks that will help sellers get the most value out of their home.



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