Selling Your Home: Pre-Listing Checklist

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This is an oldie but good about selling your home and it still applies now! So, if you've got plans to put your home on the market anytime soon, you'll definitely want to take a peek at this trusty checklist.

Is selling your home on the to do list this year? Don’t overlook the importance of a pre-listing checklist! Before putting your property on the market, ensure you’ve covered all bases. From decluttering and staging to addressing any necessary repairs, a thorough checklist can streamline the selling process and maximize your home’s appeal. Consider curb appeal enhancements, deep cleaning, and organizing documents for potential buyers. By completing this checklist, you’ll present your home in its best light, attracting more interested buyers and potentially securing a higher sale price. Don’t underestimate the power of preparation when it comes to selling your home!”

While some of the items on the checklist involve spending money, many do not.  If money is tight, start saving, and focus on knocking out the sweat equity items on the list.  I know it’s really pointless to start cleaning six months in advance, LOL, but you can start organizing, cleaning out, and making a yard sale pile so the cleaning is a little easier when the time comes.  Doing so before selling your home serves two purposes.  First, you get rid of stuff you no longer use or need, while making a little extra spending money.  Second, it allows buyers to see how much space is actually available to them.  Now, you may be thinking this list is a little over the top, but hear me out.

Garage – If you’re using it for storage, neatly stack boxes starting in one corner (the furthest away from the garage door to the house) and work your way down one wall, then out into the garage.  You want buyers to be able to determine if they’re cars (or stuff) will fit when they move it.

Cabinets & Drawers – Buyers open doors and drawers to cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms and showing off the neatness will make an impression.  Whether it’s towels, cups, or your makeup drawer, make sure it’s wiped out and everything is placed neatly.

Refrigerator – This is my pet peeve.  Buyers will open a fridge, especially if it passes with the sale, and it if there are spilled drinks, food crumbs, or dog hair sitting in there, it will gross buyers out!  And, if your food is just thrown in there, it isn’t doing you any favors.  It takes 5 minutes to wipe it out and neatly organize your food or drinks or salad dressings or whatever.  Again, most sellers overlook this, so when a buyer sees that yours is nice and neat, it will make a big impressions!

Pantry – If you have it, show it off!  Kitchen storage is such a hot commodity that a pantry is super attractive, but if a buyer opens it up and cannot see how much additional storage they’re actually getting with your house, it becomes just another kitchen.  Go through it and send all those canned goods you thought you would eat but haven’t (and won’t), to the food bank.  Miracle Hill will even pick it up for you!!

Shelving & Bookshelves – This really goes hand in hand with decluttering.   You want to show off the built-in features that other homes may not have, but you cannot do that if it is covered with your kids’ arts and crafts or old magazines you’ll never read again.  Pack up the arts and crafts for the next house and throw the magazines away so buyers see these great features!

You probably know to do a lot of items on the cleaning and organizing list, but the miscellaneous list can make or break a sale.

If It’s Broke, Fix It – Whether it’s replacing a door knob that won’t turn or the garage door motor that hasn’t worked in years or the garbage disposal, make the repair!  If you’re okay with not getting the most out of your house, then don’t do it, but if you’re like most people selling their home, it’s important to make as much as you can on the sale.  If you aren’t sure about an expensive repair, ask your Realtor.

Freshen Up the Landscaping – You’ve heard it a million times and it’s true.  Curb appeal is super important when selling your home.  Many times buyers will drive by your home before schedule an appointment for their Realtor to show it to them.  If they don’t like what they see from the road, they may not enter the door.  So trim up the shrubs & trees, pull weeds in the flower beds, cut the grass, weed eat, lay down some mulch and call it a day.  You don’t have to go crazy on spending money, but make it look neat and clean.

Give the Mailbox a Makeover – Not many people pay much attention to mailboxes unless they are really bad or really good.  Go the extra mile and make sure yours is really good.  It’s a fairly inexpensive way to show buyers you went above and beyond to make your house as good as possible for them.

Cosmetic Updates & Replacements – Just because it’s not broken, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fix it.  This is a good place to stop and talk to your Realtor before making any changes, but in general, there are some things you can do to help your house stand up to the competition.  You know that kitchens and bathrooms bring the most return.  If they are outdated, making even minor changes can only help.  Flooring is another big cosmetic item.  If the carpet is bad, go ahead and replace it before sticking a sign in your yard.  Very few people want to tackle these types of changes once they’re in the house.

On the non-cosmetic, but very essential side of things.  The #1 and #2 question I get many times when showing homes is “how old is the roof and the heating and air?”.  They are important and if one or both of yours are at the end of their typical lifespan, my recommendation is to replace them.  I know they are big expenses, but if yours are new and the one down the street is original, all other things being equal, my money is on your house selling first.

selling your home

While there are some ideas on here that involve spending money, many of them do not and if your cash is tight, focus on the ones that only require sweat equity!  Anyone can do a quick, average clean job and throw some paint on a wall, but doing that will not help you to stand out among the competition.

Remember, you want to get the MOST MONEY for your house and the only way to do that is to make it the BEST HOUSE ON THE MARKET!  And the only way to do that, is to keep in mind that the “devil is in the details.”  You don’t want to overlook anything that may keep someone from wanting to pay top dollar.  If you don’t remember anything else I tell you about selling your house, remember that:

You Only Get One Chance to Make a First Impression!

If I can help answer any questions to help you get your home ready to sell in 2020, EMAIL ME!  I love this stuff, so I am very happy to help where I can.  If you’re house is ready and you’re ready for some staging help, check out these STAGING BLOG POSTS.

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