34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (2023)

    Home Topics Cleaning

    34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (1)Nick GerhardtUpdated: Feb. 03, 2023

      Prepare your house and your family by knowing the things to do when selling a house. It'll help sell your house quicker and improve with resale value.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (2)Family Handyman

      Make Repairs

      Now is the time to fix all of those nagging things that you just lived with. Inside the house, look for things like stained ceilings, missing tile, broken windows and doors, heavily scratched floors and other signs of neglect. Outside, look for broken or missing shingles, patio pavers and tuckpointing. If you have a deck, check for cracks in floor boards and loose railings. Make a list of everything you see and then decide which things you’re going to tackle. A real estate agent can be very helpful in determining what needs to be done and what doesn’t.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (3)Family Handyman

      Finish Projects

      Every homeowner has at least a couple ongoing projects that never seem to get finished. Now is the time to finish painting the guest room, install the ceiling fan you bought last summer and stain that beadboard you put up in the pantry. If painting is on your list, this collection of tips will help you finish the task with a lot less mess.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (4)Family Handyman

      Create Curb Appeal

      It's important that your home makes a good first impression. When potential buyers drive up to your home, you want them to think, "Wow! I could live here!"To make sure buyers want to see the inside of your home, make sure the outside is well-kept, tidy and inviting. It's important to touch-up or completely repaint trim., keep the grass cut, edge along sidewalks and paths, maintain flowers and shrubs and keep the yard tidy. You never know when curious buyers will drive by.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (5)


      Resist the urge to roll your eyes at this one. It is imperative that your home looks livable. Potential buyers may not be able to see past your clutter. Think of it this way—don't move things you no longer want or need. Make decisions now and your house will sell faster and your move will be easier.It's no secret that getting started is the hardest part of decluttering. Take one room, or even part of one room, at a time and dive in. Recycle or shred paper. Donate books, toys, clothing and duplicate household items. If you're getting frustrated and you can't deal with one more stack of papers or shoebox of old photos, put them in a plastic tub, label the tub and stack it somewhere out of the way. A stack of tubs doesn't look like clutter. For completely out-of-the-way plastic tub storage, check out this simple rack for storing tubs overhead in your garage.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (6)varandah/Shutterstock

      Declutter Some More!

      Don't overlook items on display on your shelves, tables and countertops and inside buffets and other glass-door or open-shelf cabinets. You probably don't even notice what's there, but too much clutter on and in everything can distract a buyer.A good rule of thumb is 'Reduce by 50 percent.' In other words, if you have 10 things on a shelf, put away (or get rid of) five. If there are a dozen mugs on display in the kitchen, lose six.One more thing: If you have a lot of personal items on display, it can make it harder for potential buyer's to imagine themselves living there. If you display items of a political or religious nature that could be off-putting to others, consider putting them in storage until you can proudly display them again in your new home.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (7)Family Handyman

      Think Neutrals

      If you decide to do some interior painting, stick to neutral colors. You've heard it before, but it's the truth. Neutrals don't distract and they allow potential buyers to imagine their things in your home.For help on painting, check these ideas.

      (Video) 4 Things You Must Do Before Selling Your Home | SoldByJacob Vlog #34


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (8)Family Handyman


      This may be the most important step you take toward getting your home ready to sell. For a home to live up to the "move-in condition" description, it has to be clean.If you already keep a clean house, simply keep up the good work, checking to make sure you don't overlook little-used closets and other nooks and crannies that aren't part of your weekly routine. This needs to be a deep cleaning.For the rest of us, it's time to get serious. Start at the top (the attic or second-story rooms) and work your way down. Clean ceiling light fixtures first, scrub walls and woodwork and finish with floors. As you work your way from top to bottom, don't leave one area until it is completely clean and then move on. Don't drag dirt from one area back into the place you just cleaned.Finally, don't underestimate the power of clean windows. Buyers won't walk in and think, "Wow, clean windows!" But, freshly cleaned windows look great from the outside and with the lights on, they sparkle on the inside. And with this method, window cleaning is not all that bad.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (9)Family Handyman

      Rearrange Your Furniture

      Your furniture is arranged the way it best suits you and your family. When you're staging your home to sell, you'll need to use your furniture as marketing tools to help create inviting vignettes.Avoid having furniture lined up along the walls. Pull the sofa away from the wall and pull chairs close to create a conversation area. Also, you may need to remove some furniture so it's easy for people to walk around in the rooms. If you've toured model homes and had the feeling you could move right in and live there, that's what you're going for. Be sure to use best lifting practices as well.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (10)Family Handyman

      Buy Fresh Flowers and Plants

      If the weather allows, plant flowers in pots, window boxes or right in the ground to add color and pump up the curb appeal. Pay close attention to the plants, keeping them watered and trimmed.Inside the house, fresh flowers in vases add color, life and the feeling that you, as the home seller, are putting your best foot forward. It may not matter to some buyers but others will appreciate this detail and take it as a sign that your home has been well cared for. If you grow vegetables indoors or want to, here’s how to get those seedlings to sprout.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (11)Family Handyman

      Create a Welcoming Entryway

      If your apartment doesn't have a proper entryway, create your own. Use a padded bench and hang some hooks for coats, or build a simple entryway storage and organizer to keep clutter at bay.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (12)Michael Pettigrew/Shutterstock

      Choose Low-Maintenance Materials

      If you're doing some last-minute upgrades to sell your home, such as replacing flooring or countertops, choose low-maintenance materials. Many potential buyers don't want to spend a lot of time with cleaning and maintenance. Also, make sure your yard is low-maintenance so buyers aren't intimidated by potential upkeep.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (13)OndroM/Shutterstock

      Remove Personal Items

      If you have a lot of family photos on the wall or several pieces of your child's artwork on the refrigerator door, you should take them down and store them out of sight. This will help buyers see the home as a clean slate they could make their own. It might be sad to take those personal items down but itwill help you sell your home in the meantime.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (14)AndjeiV/Shutterstock

      Upgrade Lighting

      If your lamps and other light fixtures are outdated, consider replacing them with modern ones. Buyers don't want to feel like they're taking a step back in time with outdated fixtures. This is an easy fix that will help sell your home.Learn How to Install Elegant Cove Lighting.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (15)Africa Studio/Shutterstock

      Fix Pet Issues

      Did Fido leave a stain on the living room carpet? Does the basement smell like a cat's litter box? Address these issues before potential buyers visit the home. Pet smells are serious turn offs when trying to sell your home.Here are 14 Cleaning Tips Every Dog or Cat Owner Should Know.

      (Video) Ep 34. Hawaii Home selling tip: Stage your home, improve chances of getting more offers from buyers


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (16)Oleksandr Berezko/Shutterstock

      Update Paint

      Since not everyone has the same color preference, apply fresh coats of neutral-colored paint on the walls. Follow these 10 Interior House Painting Tips and Painting Techniques for the Perfect Paint Job.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (17)Family Handyman

      Wash the Exterior

      If your house has siding, carefully use a pressure washer to clean the exterior. Also, make sure the windows are clean and the gutters are clearbefore you try to sell your home.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (18)SpeedKingz/Shutterstock

      Get a Home Inspection

      Before trying to sell your home, hire a home inspector. While buyers usually have the home inspected, have an inspection prior to putting the home on the market. This will make you aware of any potential issues that may come up during the sale.Learn 12 Tips for Getting the Most out of a Home Inspection.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (19)ESB Professional/Shutterstock

      Brag About Walkability

      Write out positives about your home's neighborhood and leave the list for potential buyers. Tout your home's walkability, nearby businesses such as grocery stores and restaurants, parks and proximity to public transit. Each point on the walkability score can increase a home's price by an average of $3,250, according to Redfin.com.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (20)goodluz/Shutterstock

      Add Tech

      Adding a smart thermostat or fixtures that can be controlled by a smart phone are attractive upgrades to younger buyers.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (21)GRSI/Shutterstock

      Fix Fencing

      A fence adds value to your property. If your wood or chain-link fence needs a little TLC, be sure to take care of any repairs before trying to sell your home.Follow these tips to renew wooden fences.

      (Video) Attract Customers Like a Magnet: Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Business+Brand (Masterclass 5/5)


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (22)forestpath/Shutterstock

      Roof Repairs

      Few things turn away buyers more quickly than a leaky roof, so address roof repairs before trying to sell your home. If your roof needs serious work, be ready to negotiate a lower price with buyers.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (23)Family Handyman

      Fix Cracks

      Fix any cracks in the driveway, walkway or patio.And this will help increase your home's curb appeal and will surely help you sell your home.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (24)Family Handyman

      Remove Wallpaper

      If you have wallpaper or a mural in your home, get rid of it. Then, give those walls a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color before attempting to sell your home.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (25)Family Handyman

      Update Hardware

      If the knobs or handles on your kitchen cupboards or drawers are outdated, update them. It's a cheap upgrade that will give your home a more modern look and will help sell your home.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (26)Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

      Clean Fabrics

      Clean or wash cushion covers, duvet covers and pillow cases to ensure furnishings look tidy and well-kept. To make your home look more cozy, add a few decorative pillows. If fabric-covered furniture is outdated, remove it or cover it with a neutral-color slipcover.How to Clean Furniture and Fight Odors Without Chemical Cleaners.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (27)ben bryant/Shutterstock

      Eliminate Pet Smells

      Every once in awhile pets get into something they shouldn’t and lumber inside bringing a nasty smell indoors. One way to get rid of those bad smells is AtmosKlear. It can be spritzed directly on the pet!

      AtmosKlear has no smell of its own. It doesn’t leave your room (or pet) smelling like flowers, cinnamon or incense. What the odorless formula does is eliminate, not cover up, smells. The formula is an oxidizer. It must contact the odor source in order to work. From pets to tobacco to general household odors to smelly carpet in your car, this stuff works great. It’s biodegradable, nontoxic and, according to the manufacturer, creates no problems for people sensitive to chemical air fresheners.

      Bonus tip: Spritz AtmosKlear onto your furnace filter and turn on the furnace fan. You’ll freshen the whole house.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (28)

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      Organize Closets

      Messy, packed closets read: There's not enough storage in this home. Weed-out closets by 50 percent, and make sure what's left is clean and organized in stacks or bins. Buyers will open closet doors and kitchen cupboards; make sure they don't see a big mess! Check out these 11 ideas to transform your closets.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (29)Sklep Spozywczy/Shutterstock

      Simple Decor

      It’s a good idea to keep the decor simple when selling a home. Sellers want to allow potential buyers to imagine the possibilities of a house. Distracting decor will turn buyers off from the thought of trying to picture how they can decorate a room.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (30)Family Handyman

      Luxuriate the Bathroom

      The bathroom can be a highlight of a house and when putting a home on the market, sellers should make it shine. A soaking tub can be the perfect place to unwind for a potential buyer. Make a bathroom feel like a spa.


      Prepare the Paperwork

      Obviously the better prepared a seller is for a home sale, the easier it will go. That being said, don’t forget to have all the paperwork for the house organized and ready to go. Some of the paperwork that a seller will need includes: deed, homeowners insurance information, loan information, property tax statements, appliance warranties, title report, purchase agreement and any other information regarding the property.

      See what goes into property taxes other than your money. It isn’t all for government and schools.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (32)


      Creating curb appeal is one thing but try extending that idea to landscaping, too. Well-manicured landscaping will impress. Check out how athletic tape can make landscaping a ton easier.


      34 Important Things to do When Planning to Sell Your Home (33)Africa Studio/Shutterstock

      Plan Out Activities for Kids

      Selling a house with kids requires a little extra planning because you’ll need activities for them while you’re out of the house. Find some quick getaway places like the library or a park while you have a viewing of the house. Just make sure you get enough notice ahead of time before a viewing.

      You’ll need to remove a lot of things prior to a showing but get ahead of the game with these incredible toy storage ideas.


      Research Agents

      It’s never a bad idea to get a second opinion when trying to find a real estate agent. Many people work with the same agent they did on an earlier deal or use someone recommended by a friend or relative. Make sure to talk to others who have worked with an agent, you might be surprised what you find.

      Make sure you avoid doing things like adding a sunroom when selling a house, it could cost you.

      Originally Published: March 20, 2021


      What are the most important things to do before selling your home? ›

      The following 10 steps are a way to get a good head start on preparing to sell your home.
      • Welcome buyers. Make your front door visible and accessible to buyers. ...
      • Make it sparkle. ...
      • Start packing. ...
      • Paint wisely. ...
      • Fix the small stuff. ...
      • Update lighting. ...
      • Frame windows. ...
      • Set the table.
      Feb 5, 2020

      What should you not do before selling your house? ›

      10 Things Not to Do When Selling a House
      1. Neglecting Repairs. ...
      2. Overpricing Your Home. ...
      3. Failing to Stage Your Home. ...
      4. Kicking Curb Appeal to the Curb. ...
      5. Shying Away From Showings. ...
      6. Overlooking the Clutter. ...
      7. Leaving Too Many Personal Items Out. ...
      8. Ignoring Obnoxious Odors.
      Sep 2, 2022

      What actions are recommended when planning to sell your home? ›

      How To Sell Your House: 10 Steps
      • Hire A Listing Agent.
      • Decide On A List Price.
      • Understand How Long It Will Take To Sell.
      • Renovate, Repair And Stage The Home.
      • List The Home.
      • Market Online And Offline.
      • Settle On A Final Offer.
      • Anticipate The Costs Of Selling.

      What makes a house unsellable? ›

      Factors that make a home unsellable "are the ones that cannot be changed: location, low ceilings, difficult floor plan that cannot be easily modified, poor architecture," Robin Kencel of The Robin Kencel Group at Compass in Connecticut, who sells homes between $500,000 and $28 million, told Business Insider.

      How to stage your home to sell for top dollar? ›

      Staging Your Home to Sell for Top Dollar
      1. Clean & Declutter Your Home. Photo via @sharon_arny_interior_design. ...
      2. Remove Personal Items. ...
      3. Furnish Empty Spaces. ...
      4. Let in Natural Light. ...
      5. Hire a Professional Photographer. ...
      6. Choose the Right Paint Color for Your Walls. ...
      7. Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal. ...
      8. Upgrade Carpets & Floors.
      Oct 28, 2022

      Why you should declutter your home before selling? ›

      Why You Should Declutter Before Listing Your Home
      • It will make your home appear larger. Having less stuff in a space will make your home look bigger. ...
      • Help potential buyers imagine themselves living there. ...
      • You'll get better offers. ...
      • It will help make your move easier.
      May 14, 2022

      What not to say to your real estate agent? ›

      • You Won't Settle for a Lower Price.
      • Only Bring Me Serious Offers.
      • Don't Show My Home Unless I'm Available.
      • You Have All the Time in the World to Sell.
      • You are Selling the Home Because of a Divorce.
      • You Have to Sell Because of Financial Problems.
      • You Are Moving Because of a Serious Illness.

      What not to say when selling your house? ›

      Sellers should never discuss things like price, why they are selling, problems with the home, other offers, or closing with buyers. Anything said to a buyer's agent should be considered said to the buyer and may be used during negotiations.

      What should sellers leave for buyers? ›

      This means window treatments (think: hardware, curtains, shutters and blinds), bathroom mirrors, shelving, door hardware, kitchen hardware and light fixtures. Unless you made an exception for these items in your contract, make sure to leave these home features behind for the new owners.

      What makes a house easier to sell? ›

      One of the most effective ways to sell your home fast is to price it competitively. If you price it too high, you detract prospective buyers out price out potential bidders. In addition, it make take longer to settle the negotiation process if prospective buyers want your price to come down.

      What damages houses the most? ›

      Top Five Dangers to Your House
      • Danger #1: Water Damage. Many people think of damage from hurricanes and heavy rains when they think of water damage. ...
      • Danger #2: Weather-Related Roof/Flashing Damage. ...
      • Danger #3: Frozen Pipe Damage. ...
      • Danger #4: Theft.

      What brings down the value of a house? ›

      Changes in the real estate market can lower the value of your home. Natural disasters and climate change can lower your property value because the property is a greater risk to purchase. Foreclosures in your neighborhood can also drive down property value.

      Do empty homes sell faster? ›

      The bottom line: An occupied home will typically sell faster and for a higher price than a vacant house. But, if you have no choice and must sell a vacant home, talk to your REALTOR® for tips and ideas on how to properly stage the home for a successful sale.

      What not to do when staging a house? ›

      Staging Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home
      1. Starting without a plan. ...
      2. Listing a home before it's ready. ...
      3. Not taking professional photos. ...
      4. Neglecting simple home improvements. ...
      5. Making major renovations. ...
      6. Not removing or replacing dated décor. ...
      7. Hanging pictures too high or too low. ...
      8. Using non-neutral colors.

      Which home improvements make you the most money when you sell? ›

      • #2 Landscaping. Average return at resale: 100 percent. ...
      • #3 Minor Kitchen Remodel. Average return at resale: 98.5 percent. ...
      • #4 - Exterior Improvements. (Vinyl Siding, Paint, Updated Front Entry) ...
      • #5 Attic Bedroom Conversion. ...
      • #7 Major Kitchen Remodel. ...
      • #9 Basement Remodel. ...
      • #10 Replacement Windows. ...
      • #13 Living Room Updates - Decor.
      Apr 22, 2020

      What is the most important room when selling a house? ›

      The kitchen is by far the most important room in the house for a buyer. A well-apointed kitchen dramatically increases the value of your home. As you build your new home to meet your personal interests and needs for your kitchen, you should consider these items in your kitchen design: Modern appliances.

      What should you not declutter your house with? ›

      But for most people, the most effective strategy to minimize possessions is to start easy and work your way up to decluttering harder areas and harder spaces.
      10 Things NOT to Declutter First
      • Photos. ...
      • Sentimental ltems. ...
      • Paper. ...
      • The Garage. ...
      • Kids' Toys. ...
      • Your Partner's Stuff. ...
      • Drawers. ...
      • Your Collections.

      What is the first thing to declutter? ›

      First, make your bed. It's hard to feel any progress decluttering a bedroom while an unmade bed stares you in the face. Start with your nightstands. Remove anything on them that doesn't belong there, and put it in your put-away bin.

      What do real estate agents struggle with the most? ›

      Most real estate agents fail in their first year, according to research. Three common mistakes that agents make is inadequate prospecting, failing to market properties in ways that lead to fast sales, and not following up with clients.

      Does a house show better empty or furnished? ›

      If done nicely, a furnished house looks far better than an empty house. It can attract potential buyers and convince them to prefer your property over other houses for sale in the locality. The more aesthetically appealing the interior of the house, the faster will be the sales process.

      Should I tell my realtor my max price? ›

      Real estate agents don't need, or expect, you to disclose everything about your money. That said, they must understand your overall situation to help guide you to a home that's within your budget.

      What are the most important selling points of a house? ›

      Know the two hot spots

      The rooms buyers most closely inspect (and judge) in a house are the kitchen and master bath. These are the interior spaces where the most value can be added during a sale, so they need to look their best.

      What factors affect the selling price of a home? ›

      8 critical factors that influence a home's value
      • Neighborhood comps. ...
      • Location. ...
      • Home size and usable space. ...
      • Age and condition. ...
      • Upgrades and updates. ...
      • The local market. ...
      • Economic indicators. ...
      • Interest rates.


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