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Checklist: Preparing Your Home For Sale

Listing a home for sale can feel daunting to many. Generally speaking, most sellers need about a month to get their homes “show ready.”  Here is our checklist for getting your house ready to list.

Prepare Your Home For Sale Checklist

The Yard

  • Make sure your lawn is manicured and the yard is fresh and tidy.
    • Keep the lawn mowed.
    • Trim shrubbery, bushes, and trees and have debris hauled away. Hedges should be within 12 inches of the home and should not be blocking the windows. Additionally, trim back any large bushes that are blocking the front of the home. Ligustrum bushes are notorious for growing large and can obstruct the best views of the home. Landscapers around Florida tend to shape them like giant mushrooms, and honestly, they can look really ugly.
    • Have your lawn and bushes fertilized.
    • Make sure the yard is well edged.
    • Remove weeds from beds, as well as between pavers and in any concrete.
    • Clean up rock and mulch beds making sure the ground is covered. It’s usually a good idea to mulch just prior to photos and listing.

Decks, Patios, Driveways, Porches, and Fences

  • Power wash driveway and hardscape.
  • Consider replacing cracked pavers, particularly if they are uneven enough to create a trip hazard.
  • Remove driveway stains. Ask at the hardware store for best products to remove driveway stains.
  • Replace or repair broken fencing.
  • Wash outdoor furniture and make the placement look intentional.
  • Hide hoses, any outdoor equipment as well as pool toys.
Curb appeal is important when selling a home!

Home Exterior

  • Inspect all gutters, downspouts, siding, windows sashes, trim or shutters. Replace any fogged or broken windows. If you don’t have all of your screens, consider taking the others down and just storing.
  • Clean gutters and paint if they are rusty.
  • Inspect the roof for missing or damaged shingles and flashing. Make any necessary repairs. Be sure to blow debris off of the roof. Looks bad in aerials.
  • Clean and touch up paint on the little things: How does your mailbox look? Do you have numbers on your house?
  • Consider a light power wash of the exterior of the home. Spiderwebs and mildew indicate an unkempt home.

Front Porch

Make sure the front porch is welcoming! This is the buyer’s first impression.

  • Paint the front door and trim.
  • Sweep and clean the porch area.
  • Put out a new doormat.
  • Install potted plants with annuals on the front porch.
  • Install high wattage bulbs to make porch area brighter.
  • Clean glass on porch lights and remove bug remains.

Home Interior

It may sound like common sense, but be sure to clean the entire home!

  • Remove any and all pet odors. For some this may mean getting rid of certain pieces of furniture or rugs.
  • Wash windows and look for any water intrusion around the interior and address.
  • Curtains, drapes and blinds should be dusted.
  • Clean carpets. If there are pet stains or odors, you really should replace the carpet.
  • Clean and wax wood floors.
  • Vinyl, concrete and ceramic floors may need to be steam cleaned, particularly if you have white grout.
  • Clean, paint or replace all vent covers.
  • Clean, polish, paint/stain wood trim in the home.
  • Clean all lamp shades.
  • If walls are dingy, you may want to repaint. White, greige and off-white are the most appealing colors to most buyers.
  • Repair damages to walls & ceilings. Includes holes, cracks, & water stains.
  • All light bulbs should be working. Look around for burned out light bulbs and replace.

Kitchen and Baths

  • Thoroughly clean all counter tops, appliances, mirrors, ovens, sinks, toilets, tub, and shower walls.
  • Put away the small appliances to open up counter space. Clear off vanity counter tops and store all personal care items neatly.
    • Blender, canisters, coffee maker, etc.
  • Clean ventilating hood and exhaust fans.
  • Remove rust stains from sinks and bathtubs.
  • New knobs on drawers and cabinets can make a difference at a small expense.
  • Clean and organize drawers, cabinets, and linen closets. Buyers often open kitchen drawers and cabinets to see how well they operate. No fun to see crumbs in a drawer or messy fingerprints on cabinets.
  • Clean all tile grout and caulk. (Clorox Bleach Pen and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser).
  • Re-caulk areas that can not be cleaned. This will get flagged in an inspection report!

Make House Light and Bright!

  • Replace bulbs with high wattage bulbs.
  • The brighter the better!

Clean out Closets

Make them appear larger! This is a wonderful time to purge and donate.

  • Remove things you don’t wear and “out of season” clothing from closets.
  • Leave only a few items on the floor of closets.
  • Add extra hangers.
  • Organize your shoes on racks. Discard those you never wear!
  • Neatly arrange boxes, purses and storage baskets on closet shelves.

Don’t Forget the Little Things

  • Tighten loose doorknobs.
  • Fix any leaky faucets.
  • Turn off all audio surveillance.
  • Make sure your doors and cabinets aren’t squeaky.
  • Arrange furniture to give an open feel. Remove any unnecessary or oversized furniture.
  • Make sure all switches and outlets are clean and working properly.
  • Are your windows operational? This will be flagged in an inspection if they aren’t.
  • Hide all medicine.

Heating and Cooling

  • Clean fireplaces.
  • Replace AC filters. Have the system serviced and cleaned if necessary, particularly if the duct work looks dirty.
  • Examine the water heater. Is there any water in the pan? Any visible rust?

Garage, Attic and Storage Closets

  • Purge, purge, purge. If you don’t plan to move it, go ahead and get rid of it!
  • Arrange these areas so they look neat.
  • If the garage is super dirty, consider painting it.
  • Remove stains and dirt from the floor. You can even paint the garage floor grey to make it look fresher.
  • Organize yard tools and equipment.
  • Wipe garage windows and any outdoor utility equipment to get rid of spider webs and bugs.

Use common sense to prepare your home to sell.  While it does take time to prepare your home, at the end of the day, it will make for a much smoother sales process. You certainly don’t need to do everything on this list, but use it as a guide.

We have a list of vendors for almost everything on this list if you want to hire some of this out. Give us a call at 904-314-5188 for more information.

Once you have completed the list above, take a look at the house from a street view.  Do you see anything that could be changed or fixed that would help sell this home?  If not, then you are ready!

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