Start With a Plan

Preparing your home for sale need not be expensive or painful. If you start with a plan, you can organize what needs to be done, and figure out how much time and money you will need to get the job done.

Your plan should be built with advice from your real estate professional, who has the experience to know what improvements will maximize your home’s attractiveness to potential buyers. Your real estate professional will show you how to see your home through the eyes of the buyer. You must be able to step back and see it as a “house for sale”. Once you set your plan, put it in writing in the form of a “to do” checklist. Pay attention to details, inside and outside. Small touches will pay big dividends at the time of purchase.

Maximize Curb Appeal

Be aware of the first impression your home makes. Positive first impressions often create immediate sales. Look at your home critically and catalog all the repairs and cleaning that need to be done before your home is to be shown. Using your checklist, repair the things that are in need of repair. Buyers tend to think repairs cost more than they really do. If you think it is too much trouble to fix, the buyer will probably feel the same way. Be sure the paint, gutters, gardens and roof are in good shape. Inside, be sure the heating system, plumbing, walls and ceilings are in proper condition

Getting Ready to Show

There are three major areas to focus on in preparing a house for showing: cleaning, uncluttering and neutralizing. A clean home gives the impression of a well cared for home. Be sure the home smells as good as it looks. Give extra attention to bathrooms, pet and children’s areas. A thorough professional cleaning is a good idea. Then, be sure that all living areas are kept clean and neat at all times. Uncluttering creates the impression of large, neat rooms. Put unnecessary items into storage. You want to make buyers feel as comfortable as possible in your home. Neutralizing allows others to picture the home without distraction. A fresh coat of neutral-colored paint, neutral draperies and decor will let buyers focus on their positive impressions. They will spend less time thinking about the things they will have to change.

Show Your Home at its Best

Every showing should be preceded by your detailed inspection. Put out fresh flowers. Identify jobs that need to be done before each showing. Importantly, plan to be away from the home while it is being shown.

If you follow all of these steps, you can be confident that you have done everything possible to assure that your home is attractive and appealing to prospective buyers. You will realize the maximum price potential in the sale.


______ Mow, trim, weed, pick up lawn and garden areas

______ Wash windows, inside and out

______ Repair windows and screens

______ Repair and repaint as needed


______ Check condition of furnace and water heater

______ Fix leaky faucets

______ Repair wall cracks and paint as needed

______ Clean, organize garage and attic

______ Neutralize decor

______ Unclutter kitchen and bathrooms

______ Clean and wax floors

______ Straighten closets

______ Clean and polish sinks, mirrors and all surfaces

______ Rearrange furniture for openness

______ Arrange pictures

______ Add plants


______ Unclutter countertops

______ Open shades and draperies

______ Put out fresh flowers

______ Spot check cleaning

______ Clear driveways and walk areas

______ Plan activities while you are away

______ Empty wastebaskets and garbage cans.