← Home Ownership

The Ultimate Checklist for Selling Your Home

There are two sure-fire ways to tell Spring has arrived: nature in full bloom and “open house” signs on every street corner. Those signs also mark the arrival of the busiest selling season for residential real estate. If you are thinking of selling your home, you’ll want to do some thorough maintenance and Spring cleaning to ensure you get the most money for your home.

How to Sell Your Home for Top Dollar

1. Deep Clean and De-Clutter Your Home

Buyers want to see a clean home that is as spacious as possible. You will get the greatest return on your investment in any market by ticking off these tasks:

  • Clean all windows, coverings, screens and windowsills.
  • Clean and organize all kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Trust me, buyers will open them.
  • Eliminate signs of pets and make sure there are no odors lingering.
  • Clean and organize all closets. Buyers will open these too.
  • Remove appliances from kitchen counters.
  • Organize books shelves and built-ins cabinets.
  • Polish all interior woodwork. Quick tip: you can use olive oil and vinegar to fix scratches.
  • Clean all trim work

2. Make Your Front Door Look Fabulous

When attempting to sell your home, first impressions can make all the difference. Your front door will be a big part of setting the mood for a potential buyer. If your door is in decent shape, a new coat of paint and some new hardware will make it look even more inviting.

Preparing to sell your home takes a little time and effort, but it's worth it.

3. Heighten the Curb Appeal of Your Home

Curb appeal refers to the attractiveness of a home when viewed from the street, including the landscaping, front entrance and condition of the paint or siding. It isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money when preparing to sell your home. Here are a few easy things you can do:

  • If there is a porch, make sure all the woodwork has been freshly re-stained or painted. Peeling paint or rotten wood doesn’t give a great first impression of a home or its condition.
  • Power-wash the house and eaves
  • Less is more – make sure there is no debris anywhere
  • Mow, trim and mulch the lawn so it looks fresh
  • Add colorful plants and flowers near the door
  • Invest in a new door mat
  • If there is furniture out front, make sure it's in good condition and has new cushions

4. Don't Forget the Floor Show

Replace or clean all carpets in your home. If the carpet is in good condition, a thorough cleaning should be fine. However, if there are stains that can’t be removed or places where the carpet is stretched out or frayed, it should be replaced. If you have hardwood floors, make sure they are cleaned and polished.

5. Make Sure the Exterior has a Spiffy Coat

Painting the exterior of your home is a big job that you might not want to tackle when preparing to sell your home. Good news: you may not have to!

  • Try power-washing the exterior first as it is much less labor intensive and less costly than painting.
  • Check the trim for any areas that might need repairing. Quick Tip: Bondo, a filler available in most home improvement stores,  is awesome for small patch jobs.
  • If the house does need painting, this might be the right time to hire a professional. Exterior painting is much more complicated than interior painting.

6. Interior Paint Needs to Look Good, Too

Painting the interior isn’t quite as daunting as painting the exterior, but it’s still a big job. Once again, there are other options.

  • Before you decide to paint the walls give them a good washing first. Quick Tip: Using a magic eraser can do wonders.
  • If a paint job is needed, make sure to use a neutral color such as soft gray, warm white or latte.
  • Repair all nail holes and eliminate any stains
  • Paint any trip work a complimentary color.

Preparing to sell your home takes some time, effort and money, although most tasks on this list can be accomplished with relatively little expense. Just remember, when selling your home, the added value you gain is well worth the effort and expense.

If you are thinking about selling your home, check out homegain.com. The site has a handy tool to help you quickly evaluate what needs to be done prior to putting your home on the market and will also estimate the return on investment you can expect for your area.


About the Author
Diana Hill

With over 30 years of experience, Diana brings a wealth of real estate knowledge and expertise with her timely and insightful articles, videos and webinars.

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