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5 To-Dos Before Listing Your Home for Sale

Selling a house is a process. And though it’s tempting to list the home and start marketing it to buyers straight away, that’s probably not the best way to ensure a fast sale that maximizes your investment.

The truth is successfully selling a house takes some prep work, and the more work you put in, the more profits you make.

Are you planning to list your house in the near future? Then make these five important preparations first.

1. Clean, de-clutter, and de-personalize

Buyers won’t be interested in a house they can’t fully see, or that seems like it needs a ton of extra cleaning and work. That’s where you come in. To make sure you’re giving shoppers the blankest, most appealing slate possible, you’ll want to do a solid deep clean and a good de-cluttering.

Empty the cabinets and closets, donate or sell anything you no longer use, and consider removing any items and furniture you don’t immediately need. A storage pod can be helpful here.

While you’re at it, take some time to de-personalize your home, too. That means removing any personal photos and artwork, taking down any customized or taste-specific decor, and trying to remove yourself (and your family members) from the home as much as possible.

Seeing these items in the home can make it hard for buyers to visualize themselves on the property and turn them off from bidding.

2. Repaint (or at least touch it up)

You don’t have to repaint every inch of the wall or ceiling, but you need to touch up any visible scuffs and scrapes. But if you have super bold or bright colors? Those need to go. You might be partial to the lime green kitchen, but the chance of other buyers being into it, too? Those are slim — and it will probably hurt your chances at selling the property.

You want to stick to white, beige, or some other neutral hue on the walls for the most part. These look clean and bright, and they also offer buyers a blank slate to decorate and put their personal touch on.

3. Remove any signs (or smells) of pets

We all love our furry friends, but they also come with hair, odors, and many times, scratched up walls, doors, and carpets. These are all things that can make your home less appealing and hurt your chance at a sale.

Fortunately, they’re not permanent. You can paint over any scratches or scuffs, steam clean the floors, and invest in a robotic vacuum to keep hair from accumulating. You might even want to find alternative housing for your pet while your home’s on the market.

4. Make any necessary repairs and fixes

Your eventual buyer will no doubt get a home inspection, and when they do? They’ll find any defective items you might have tried to hide. To keep this from derailing your sale, go ahead and address any known issues upfront — before ever listing the property.

You might even consider a pre-listing inspection to help identify any problems early on.

5. Tend to the home’s exterior

Finally, don’t forget to brush up your curb appeal. Power wash the driveway and siding, repaint your shutters and front door, and plant some flowers in the garden. You’ll also want to make sure the lawn is neat and tidy, and consider redoing your address numbers, mailbox, and other exterior elements.

It’s these little touches that can make all the difference to a hopeful homebuyer.

Consult your agent, too

There may be property- and market-specific tasks you should tend to, too, so be sure to ask your agent for recommendations. They’ll know what buyers prefer in your area, as well as what repairs and updates you should make before putting the home on the market.