65+ Things to Do Before You List and Show Your Home

sale pending

If you’re thinking about selling your home, know that a lot of work is in your future.

That is, if you take the job seriously and desire top dollar for your property.

It’s true about first impressions, especially when it comes to real estate. You only get one chance, so don’t mess it up!

When serious buyers tour your home, they look at every last detail.

Even though some visitors may miss things others see, there’s a good chance they’ll collectively notice most flaws.

That means you need to make a strong effort to go over everything with a fine-tooth comb to give your home the best shot of selling at asking or above.

Here’s Your DIY Home Staging To-Do List

1. Buy fresh flowers for bedrooms and dining room, entryway, outdoors
2. Clean the carpets and all floors (professionally if necessary)
3. Clean the windows AND blinds by hand
4. Wipe down all mirrors and fixtures
5. Get rid of any and all hair
6. Clean the fridge and de-clutter, remove smelly food
7. Clean the microwave
8. Avoid cooking anything stinky the week before showing, wipe down oven/stove
9. Clean the toilets, bathtubs, showers until spotless
10. Caulk the tubs/showers to give them a fresh, clean look
11. Empty the garbage bins and keep them empty (clean bins if necessary)
12. Mow the lawn if necessary
13. Lay new sod if needed
14. Remove weeds and dead vegetation
15. Remove any junk outside the house
16. Pick up leaves, trim trees and bushes
17. Hose down the driveway, deck, other outside surfaces
18. Put away children’s toys (they aren’t cute to outsiders)
19. Plant something new (veggies, even if you don’t have a green thumb)
20. Clean the pool and spa
21. Get rid of old furniture (both inside and outside)
22. Clean out the garage, dispose of household hazardous waste properly
23. Get rid of any pests, but don’t leave traps/poison out
24. Organize closets, drawers, pantries
25. Wipe down interior of pantries, drawers if visibly dirty
26. Put away embarrassing items (including toiletries)
27. Put valuables and personal information (bills, etc.) in a safe place out of view
28. Open windows to air the place out, keep them open if there’s a nice breeze
29. Touch up any areas that need paint several weeks in advance
30. If a fixture is missing (cabinet knob, sink stopper), replace it because little things matter and add up
31. Fix any water leaks or drips
32. Mind the molding for paint chips, cracks, etc.
33. Hire a handyman to fix any minor defects
34. Dust top to bottom
35. WD-40 for squeaky doors
36. Get a new doormat
37. Paint your door a new color
38. Use graphite for keyholes that stick
39. Make sure doors close properly, otherwise make sure hinges are tight
40. Resolve any sticky windows, clean the frames
41. Make sure ALL light switches and lights work
42. Clean out light covers (of bugs and debris) if necessary
43. Make sure ALL appliances work
44. Run the A/C if it’s hot, the heater if it’s cold
45. Remove any signs of a pet’s presence if possible
46. De-clutter everywhere (less is more…SPACE) and donate items to charity. This will also make your subsequent move easier!
47. Bring attention to desirable features and vice versa
48. Fix any glaring problems (patch holes in walls, cracks)
49. Clean dirt and fingerprints around light switches
50. Add cheap gadgets like Nest and upgraded light switches to modernize without making major changes
51. Replace shower curtains and bath mats
52. Wipe down all surfaces with appropriate cleaners
53. Use air fresheners discreetly
54. If you smoke inside, try to stop for a month or two before you sell and air it out
55. Rearrange furniture if a different style works better for staging
56. Flip couch cushions, fluff pillows
57. Do laundry, make the beds up impeccably
58. Politely ask neighbors to clean up if there’s anything egregious
59. Let neighbors know you’ll be showing your home so they’re on best behavior
60. If you live in a condo, clean common areas yourself, point out defects to HOA well before showing to get fixed
61. Hire a real estate agent with extensive local knowledge of the area
62. Make sure agent has excellent understanding of YOUR home, ask them every question a potential buyer might ask
63. Take high quality images of your property
64. List your home on the right day
65. Make sure all lights are on and blinds are open to create light and bright atmosphere
66. Offer light refreshments to guests during open house

Read more: How to make your listing a hot home.

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