Preparing Your Home For Market

Preparing your home for market means more than appealing to buyers. Home inspectors pay close attention and their approval is necessary to encourage potential buyers to make an offer. Repairs may require a bit of work on your part, but it will be worth it in the end to give home inspectors and potential buyers the best impression. Not only that, but showing you can take good care of a house goes a long way with buyers. Each person looks at different features to decide if it’s the right choice. So give them plenty of reasons to pick your home! Use the helpful checklists below to make sure your home is ready for the market so you get the best price in your time frame.

Preparing Your Home


  • Mow the lawn, and trim trees and shrubs away from the house.
  • Remove dead plants, flowers & shrubs.
  • Put away tools, garbage cans, hoses, toys & building materials.
  • Remove window screens while selling your home & keep windows clean.
  • Check for broken roof shingles and clean out gutters.
  • Seal or resurface the driveway.
  • Clear patios and decks of planters, flower pots, charcoal & barbecues.
  • Dress up front yard shrubs & lamp posts with fresh mulch.
  • Repaint or refinish trim around windows and doors.


  • Clean all light fixtures and replace with bright bulbs in the light fixtures.
  • Turn on all the lights before a buyer arrives to show there is nothing to hide.
  • Roll up and remove small rugs.
  • Fill the house with a fresh scent. Heat vanilla on the stove or bake a batch of cookies.
  • Spotlessly clean woodwork & carpeting.
  • Clear window ledges of all objects to give a nice glimpse inside & out.
  • Repaint walls in a neutral color such as antique white.


  • Discard worn furniture & move extras to a storage area.
    Visit a model home to get decorating ideas.
  • Clear away all magazines, books & other objects from furniture.
  • Take down pictures that hide walls. Patch nail holes & paint.
  • Add lamps & lighting in dark area.
  • Open the curtains.
  • Set out some fresh flowers.


This is 2nd most important-to-be appealing room.

  • Define areas by furniture arrangement. Keep it simple.
  • Be sure clothes are hung up.
  • Store off-season clothing elsewhere.
  • Clean out closets enough for buyers to get a good idea of storage size.
  • Make sure nothing is left under beds; add bed skirts for a cleaner look.


  • Clean the stove, oven, range hood and countertops.
  • Repair drippy faucets and squeaks or binds in cabinet drawers.
  • Make sure cabinet hardware is also cleaned.
  • Discard old food & leftovers from the refrigerator.
  • Remove messages, pictures, and magnets from the refrigerator.
  • Clear small appliances, dish drainer and cookware from the countertop.
  • Wipe down cabinets and clear out items under the sink.


  • Clean fireplace & remove any items in front of it.
  • Replace carpet if it has a loud color.
  • Remove magazines, books, video games, toys and other clutter.
  • Create an easy going, relaxed atmosphere.
  • Dust and simplify shelves; remove family photos.


  • Remove any unnecessary items from the vanity, tub, etc.
  • The fixtures, tile & shower curtain should be immaculate.
  • Caulk & grout tile. Bleach discolored grout.
  • Remove any wallpaper that is not “conservative."
  • Decorate with towels.
  • Check bath vents are working properly.
  • Make sure all fixtures work properly and fix leaks.


  • Clean or replace HVAC filter. Clean air returns.
  • Test all smoke detectors.
  • Clean chimney, fireplace or woodstove.
  • Remove any wallpaper that is not “conservative."
  • Decorate with towels.
  • Make sure all windows, doors, and cabinets open easily without squeaks; replace rusty hinges.
  • Check ventilation in the attic, basement, and crawlspace; update if necessary.