Checklist: 5 Steps to a Resale-Ready Home

By HomeAdvisor

Updated October 20, 2016

Home Sale Checklist

If you’re selling your home, you’re probably hoping to sell it as quickly as possible — and to get top dollar for it too. Usually, it takes a little prep work to make that happen. Use this checklist to ensure that you’ve taken every step necessary to ready your home for resale. As they say in the realty business: The best-prepped homes yield the best returns!

  1. Cut the Clutter: Clutter makes it hard for potential buyers to envision themselves in your home, and it also detracts from some of your home’s best selling points — its square footage and storage space. Clear shelves, countertops, closets, garage space and storage areas prior to showing your home. Also, remove any bulky or distressed furniture and simplify any over-furnished areas. Be ruthless. Donate your infrequently used items or hold a yard sale. And, if necessary, keep overflow items in a storage area or a friend’s garage until you’ve sold your home.
  1. Perform Small Repairs: Now is the time to make the small repairs you’ve been putting off. Fix leaky faucets and broken appliances, repair holes in drywall, apply touch-up paint where needed, and attend to any creaky doors or stairs. If you’re pressed for time, hire a handyman. A good handyman should be able to perform any small repairs necessary to prepare your home for market, and it will cost less to hire a handyman than it will cost to hire multiple specialists for multiple small projects. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, the average national cost to hire a handyman is $387.
  1. Do a Deep Clean: Dirty homes send buyers running, so clean your house deeply and thoroughly before you sell. In addition to performing your usual cleaning routine, vacuum in hard-to-reach places, dust ceiling fans and light fixtures, and wash the walls and windowsills. If you haven’t done so recently, consider having your carpets, windows/window treatments, and kitchen and bathroom grout professionally cleaned. Potential buyers will absolutely take notice of your immaculate home. In fact, a number of buyers have put “clean” at the top of their wish lists.
  1. Kick Up the Curb Appeal: Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see. So, it’s important to do what you can to make a good first impression. Clear junk and clutter from the yard, remove faded or broken lawn furniture, and ensure that walkways and driveways are weed-free and clean. Touch up exterior paint, repair broken screen doors, and replace missing light fixtures or bulbs as necessary. Finally, spruce up your lawn and landscape; and use potted plants and flowers, seasonal wreaths, and other tasteful accessories to welcome your guests at the door.
  1. Stay On Top of Maintenance: It’s crucial that you stay on top of home maintenance once you’ve listed and started showing your home. Vacuum and dust daily, keep laundry and clutter out of sight, and be on the lookout for problems and unexpected repairs. If you don’t have time to stay on top of the cleaning, consider hiring a cleaning service. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, most maid services charge $25 and $35 per hour — money well spent when it helps to sell your home.

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