Preparing for Sale

Learn About Real Estate - Selling Real Estate

Preparing your home for sale is an important part of selling. Let us guide you through the preparation process to ensure best results.

From cleaning to gardening, there is a lot you can do to prepare your home to sell. The video above is a valuable tool if you want to make your home as appealing to buyers as possible. Make use of the list below when preparing your home for listing! Crane Realtors® has the knowledge needed to assist Sellers to understand what they should do to prepare their home for sale.

Click here to download and print this checklist!

☐ Curb Appeal
Step out of your home, walk to the street, and look at your home. What do you notice? Look at the landscaping; is it manicured? Do you need mulch? Do the doors and shutters need to be painted? How is the mailbox holding up? Are there weeds growing over the curb? Do your gutters leak and leave stains on your home?

☐ Mitigate Steep Drop-offs
Steep drop-offs from patio and other areas may be flagged upon inspection and potentially appraisal if financed with a FHA or VA loan.

☐ Gutter Drainage
Inspect gutter downspout. If necessary, extend downspout to adequately migrate water away from foundation. Ensure water flows away from foundation.

☐ Trip Hazards
Mark up any trip hazards around and inside the property to prevent falls/tripping. Ensure your Homeowners insurance is active.

☐ Vinyl Siding
If areas of your siding have growth or staining use a cleaning solution available at your local hardware stores. It will attach to a typical hose fitting; allowing you to spray the siding as needed.

☐ Dryer Vent
Inspect dryer vent from exterior of home. If necessary, clean out the dryer vent if it can be done without damaging the line.

☐ Pressure Wash Concrete
Pressure wash dingy and dirty sidewalks, porches, driveways, etc as needed weather permitting, seal afterwards.

☐ Window Caulk
Inspect caulking around windows from outside. If necessary, re-caulk around windows in professional manner.

☐ Clean Windows and Mirrors
Clean all interior and exterior sides of windows, bathroom mirrors, bedroom mirrors, light fixture housings, cabinet windows, and any other glass fixtures.

☐ Gutters and Roof
Buildup of leaves and sticks can overhang from gutters and effect the look of a home, along with disrupting the path for water to travel. Remove debris in a safe manner.

☐ Clean Doors & Jambs
For sliding doors, clean where the door glides on the floor. Clean fingerprints from all doors, frames, and switch plates.

☐ Lawn Care
Edge around driveway, concrete pads, foundation, and separation areas (such as bricks separating garden from yard).

☐ AC Unit
Consider having a HVAC contractor service and clean the interior and exterior units. Clean radiator fins, remove debris from inside AC unit housing, and insure exterior line is properly wrapped as needed. Request technician write on invoice "HVAC is functioning properly as designed".

☐ Exterior Door Seal
Doors that are improperly insulated from the outside elements can be remedied by replacing damaged seals along the door. It is good to additionally check the garage door seal if applicable.

☐ Boxes Packed
Locate an area in your home or garage that can store the boxes that you pack in preparation for listing. Make sure that you label your boxes well. Be sure to keep your boxes from prohibiting an inspector from seeing important areas in your home including panel boxes, accessing mechanical rooms, and at least 2-3 feet off the perimeter walls; so one can navigate around the perimeter of the room the boxes are stored in. It is important for home and pest inspectors to have unobstructed access to these walls.

☐ Dust Surfaces
It is important to dust and clean baseboards, air conditioning vents and returns, fan blades on ceiling fans, blinds, top of door frames, light fixtures, window ledges and sills, tops of appliances and refrigerator, mechanical room and furnace area including the top of the water heater.

☐ Declutter Closets
Remove any non-essential items in the closets. Pack in preparation for move. Organize closets for a neat and tidy appearance. Buyers will emotionally attach to your home when presented in an orderly fashion. Keep water heater and HVAC area clear of items; keep this location clean. The area will need to be accessible during inspections.

☐ Kitchen
Run your oven through the cleaning cycle then clean the oven interior afterwards. Clean stovetop and burners thoroughly. Clean fingerprints off refrigerator, remove decorations and magnets. Microwaves should be cleaned inside, cabinets should be meticulously cleaned (be sure to use the proper solutions for your cabinetry material & finish) and hand towels should look orderly. Clean out under sink. Microwave light should be replaced if necessary.

☐ Bathroom Shower
Ensure caulking and grout in and around tub is in good condition. If not, re-caulk the top of the shower where the water has splashed and caused damage, touch up paint as needed. Clean between tiles and remove all mold/mildew. Store any and all soaps, shampoos, and anything else found in the shower.

☐ Odors + Pets
Ideally during showings and inspections, animals should be (preferred) out of the home or crated. If a crated animal consistently barks during showings it may dissuade a purchaser from offering on your home because of the negative experience. Additionally buyers may be turned away by allergy issues and odors from pets. If you are a smoker it would be advised to smoke on the exterior of the home so the smells will subside on the interior.

☐ Gather Documentation
Gather all receipts for services performed on your home, collect all permits for renovations, warranties, improvement docs, termite treatments, service documentation, documents of value pertaining to your home.

☐ Valuables/Firearms
In preparation for listings, remove or secure any valuables or firearms. Be aware that buyers are eager to open closet doors and plan their storage needs. Would be advised to lock any of these items into a safe and obscure the visibility of the safe if at all possible. Another option would be to relocate these items to a trusted family members home, take them with you, or store in a safety deposit box.

Light Bulbs
Ensure all light bulbs in attached fixtures, interior/exterior are functioning and match if fixture has multiple bulbs.

☐ Clean Floors Thoroughly
Hardwood floor cleaning solutions are in-expensive, and an easy way to freshen up a home. Carpet cleaning services can cost a few hundred dollars, but can make a big impact to a prospective buyer.

☐ Final Preparations for Showing
Make beds, put down toilet seats, clean sinks, store trash cans in garage, store lawn tools, and if windows cant be opened, or switches should not be switched, use sticky notes or tape to ensure nobody uses them.