Preparing Your Home For Sale

In order to maximize the eventual sale price, make an effort to view your house through the eyes of a prospective purchaser. Use the following checklist to help in your preparations.

First Impression

  • Making a good first impression is as important when selling your home as when meeting a business associate. It’s called “Curb Appeal”. And it’s what draws a potential buyer out of their car and into your home.

Living Areas

  • Fix all cracks, nail pops, and visible seams in the plaster.
  • Check ceilings for leak stains. Fix the cause of the damage and repaint the ceiling.
  • Use conventional white and neutrals if redecorating (this would also include any carpet replacement and painting).
  • Clean out fireplace, stack logs inside the fireplace to make it look inviting.
  • Wash all windows, repair broken glass and windows that stick.
  • Replace all burned out light bulbs, use higher wattage bulbs.
  • Make sure all light switches work.
  • Clean all floors and fix any creaking boards or stair treads.
  • Clean all window treatments.
  • Straighten out closets, get rid of clutter to make them appear larger. Fix squeaking doors with oil, spray room deodorizer to eliminate musty smells.
  • Fix doors that stick by rubbing a block of paraffin was against the edge. Rub the tracks of the sticking doors with candle wax.
  • Remove as many personal items from the rooms as is possible. Living areas will appear larger and buyers will be looking at the house rather than your possessions.
  • Repair and/or replace broken tiles or worn linoleum.
  • Keep rooms clean and beds made.


  • Repair dripping faucets.
  • Display fresh towels, guest towels and soaps.
  • Remove stains from toilets, sinks and bathtubs.
  • Keep mirrors and all chrome shining.
  • Unclog sink and bath drains so water drains quickly.
  • Keep a solid room deodorizer in the bath area.
  • Replace old caulking around the tubs.
  • Repair and/or replace broken tiles or worn linoleum.

Basement, Attic and Garage

  • Dispose of all objects you will not be taking with you when you move and box all others neatly to make areas look spacious.
  • Make sure all the basement stairs are well lit.
  • Paint ceilings and walls of basement in a light color if they are gloomy.
  • Repair cracks in the basement or garage floor with ready-mix concrete.
  • Vacuum garage and basement floors and rafters.
  • If your basement is damp, use a dehumidifier.


  • Make the room bright and attractive.
  • Scrub the ventilating hood of the stove.
  • Clean all kitchen appliances.
  • Store all counter-top appliances in cabinets to make the counter space look larger. Clean counters well.
  • Put down new flooring if the current linoleum is worn or cracked. Replace any broken tiles.
  • Leave a delicious smell in the kitchen – potpourri, cinnamon-apple, etc.


  • Paint or touch-up exterior siding and/or trim.
  • Repair gutters and eaves.
  • Pick up any litter.
  • Polish your front door handle and other hardware.
  • Paint or stain your front door if needed.
  • Consider hanging a pretty wreath or floral swag.
  • Keep all sidewalks, porches and walkways swept.
  • Buy a new front door mat in neutral tones.
  • Clean and polish light fixtures.


  • Prune overgrown trees and bushes.
  • Pull weeds and dead or diseased plants.
  • Mow your lawn to make it look green and healthy.
  • Consider planting flowers along walkways or in pots along your walkway to bring some color to the landscaping.
  • Spread mulch or beauty bark around trees, shrubs and flowers to give a clean, well-kept look.
  • Less is more! Just as you would inside your house, make sure your front yard does not look cluttered. Move cars into the garage & out of the driveway whenever possible. Keep the kid’s bikes, toys & other play equipment out of sight. To minimize distractions, keep lawn & garden ornaments to a minimum. This will allow buyers to picture themselves enjoying the yard.