Sell Your Home

Overview of the Buying & Selling Process

Overview of the Buying & Selling Process Back To Top

Preparing Your Home Through The Eyes Of A Buyer

The effort put into repairing and cleaning your property is likely to be returned in a fast sale at an attractive price. As buyers approach your property the first time, impressions are formed quickly.

  • Paint house - this can do more for sales appeal than any other factor.
  • Yard - Remove all toys, garbage, garden tools and other items from view.
  • Lawn - Mow lawn and keep edged.
  • Garage - Close garage doors.
  • Color - Put colorful flowers in front of house.

Often, while waiting to be let in, the first thing a buyer looks at closely is the front door.

  • Put new paint on the front door.
  • Buy a new door mat.
  • Clean out the home and dispose of everything you are not going to move.
  • Ensure that there is plenty of lighting.
  • Sweep or vacuum floor.
  • Stack items neatly against walls.

The kitchen is often the most important room in the house. Make it bright and attractive.

  • Put a vase of fresh flowers on the table.
  • Replace curtains or clean existing ones.
  • Remove appliances from counters.
  • Create a pleasant fragrance in the kitchen (i.e. vanilla, cinnamon).

It is important that bathrooms are clean, bright and smell fresh.

  • Install a new shower curtain and replace worn throw rugs.
  • Polish all fixtures.
  • Open windows.
  • Hang bright, fresh towels.
  • Remove stains from toilets and bathtubs.
  • Use air freshener.
  • Display colorful soaps.

The living room

  • Clean out the fireplace and place logs in it.
  • Polish all woodwork.
  • Put big furniture in storage so rooms are not cluttered or crowded.
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Repair & Cleaning Checklist

Front Door:

  • Newly painted
  • Doorbell operating
  • Door brass polished
  • Hinges oiled

Exterior of House:

  • House recently painted
  • Gutters recently cleaned
  • Exterior lights operating
  • Missing shingles replaced
  • Moss removed from roof


  • Window trims painted
  • Windows operating freely
  • Cracked windowpanes replaced
  • Windows washed


  • Resurfaced
  • Potholes patched
  • Recently sealed


  • Wood stained or painted
  • Fencing secure


  • Lawn in good condition
  • Grass mowed
  • Edges trimmed

Dining Room:

  • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
  • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
  • Wallpaper secured
  • Woodwork repaired
  • Windows washed
  • Drapes/blinds open to view
  • Floor waxed/refinished
  • Carpets cleaned

Family Room:

  • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
  • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
  • Wallpaper secured
  • Woodwork repainted
  • Windows washed
  • Curtains/drapes/blinds cleaned
  • Windows operating freely
  • Drapes/blinds opened
  • Carpets cleaned
  • Hobby supplies put away


  • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
  • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
  • Wallpaper secured
  • Woodwork repaired
  • Windows washed
  • Curtains/drapes/blinds cleaned
  • Floor waxed/refinished
  • Carpets cleaned
  • Beds made
  • Laundry put away
  • Floor free from clutter


  • Dead branches pruned
  • Dead shrubs replaced
  • Overgrown shrubs pruned


  • Entry lights operating
  • Floors cleaned
  • Closet cleaned
  • Closet light operating

Living Room:

  • Recently painted
  • Cracks in ceiling/walls repaired
  • Leaks repaired & watermarks covered
  • Wallpaper secured
  • Woodwork repainted
  • Curtains/drapes/blinds cleaned
  • Drapes/blinds opened
  • Carpets cleaned
  • Furniture positioned to show space


  • Sink free of stains
  • No dripping faucets
  • Appliances in good working order
  • Walls, cabinets free of stains
  • Countertops cleared and cleaned
  • Pantry neatly arranged
  • Pantry hardware replaced
  • Refrigerator defrosted


  • Sink stains removed
  • Leaky faucets repaired
  • Grouting stains removed
  • All joints caulked
  • Missing tiles replaced
  • All fixtures operating
  • Floors cleaned
  • New shower curtain
  • All supplies stored
  • Guest towels
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Possible Work Orders

The following is a list of some possible work orders. The work orders must be completed prior to closing and the seller is responsible for having them done. Check with your local authorities for specific requirements.

The following conditions may require a work order:

  • Broken windows.
  • Debris in crawl space.
  • Dry rot or deteriorated wood.
  • Earth-wood contact.
  • Overgrown shrubbery.
  • Electrical not in working condition.
  • Gutters and downspouts blocked or missing.
  • A hot water tank without a 3/4" discharge line.
  • Inadequate foundation ventilation.
  • Inadequate attic ventilation.
  • Less than four feet of waterproof material around tub enclosures (tile, formica, etc.).
  • Less than 18" clearance between soil and floor joists under entire house.
  • Peeling or missing paint.
  • Plumbing not in working condition.
  • Single oil or gas space heaters to heat entire house.
  • Water damage inside home.

You might have to:

  • Paint the exterior and interior if in bad condition.
  • Hook up to public water or sewer if available.
  • Get county certification if home is on septic or well.
  • Remove unused oil tanks or fill with cement-slurry or polyurethane foam.

Other items to remember:

  • Inspectors will need access to the attic.
  • Leased equipment can't be included in sale (i.e. hot water tank, alarm system, etc.)
  • All assessments must be paid.
  • Joint maintenance agreements will be required for common road easements for maintenance on home where property line is within 3 of structure.

* Check with local authorities for specific requirements.

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What To Do While Your House Is Being Shown

Before Your House Is Shown:

  • Tag or remove items not included in sale (i.e. water conditioner, chandeliers, plants, drapes).
  • Open shades and curtains to let in light.
  • Turn on enough lights so home is well-lit during showing.
  • At night, turn on porch light and outdoor lighting.
  • Tidy all the rooms. Neatness makes a room easier to view.
  • Clean dirty dishes in the sink and put away any dishes on counter.
  • Put away items in the yard such as bicycles, gardening tools and skateboards.
  • If fall or winter, light a fire in the fireplace.

While Your House Is Being Shown:

  • When possible, leave while the property is shown. If not, remain in an area not being shown by the sales associate.
  • Let the real estate expert show your house. Answer questions candidly when asked, but avoid questioning potential buyers.
  • Refer inquiries about seeing your house to your Realtor to take advantage of the agent's professional skills in selling your home.
  • Don't mention items you wish to dispose of unless asked.
  • It is best to be away when your agent is holding an open house.
  • Keep pets outdoors or in one area.
  • Keep children quiet and in one area.
  • Keep radio, stereo or TV on low volume.
  • Keep money and other valuable items out of sight.
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