Getting A Home Ready For Sale

Getting a home ready for sale is a lot easier if you maintain the home regularly. But, let’s be real – - there are very few homeowners I know that have their house in a show-ready state. Here’s a [long] list of things to do to help your house shine and beat out your competition.


  • Look at your home objectively, as if you were seeing it for the first time. If you were driving by, would you want to go in to see more?
  • Power-wash exterior surfaces including the roof, house and walkways. Pay particular attention to which section is north facing.
  • Check the exterior for any peeling paint and rot – repair and paint as needed.
  • Check masonry including walkways, stonewalls, the foundation, etc. and repair as needed.
  • Check the driveway for potholes and cracks. Fill and repair. Reseal the driveway if needed.
  • Look at your mailbox and see if it needs painting or replacing, and that it is upright and clean.
  • Check that your house numbers are visible and in good condition.
  • Consider if your front door needs to be repainted or sanded and stained. Consider a complimentary new color to enhance your curb appeal.
  • Add seasonal pots and planters to your main entryway and any other visible doorways from the street.
  • Make sure the entrance to the doors and all walkways are well lit in the event of an evening showing. Clean the light fixtures and add high wattage bulbs.
  • Buy a new exterior and interior doormat for all entrances. Not only will it make your doorways look great, it will also keep your interior clean.
  • Check your landscaping. Remove any dead or dying plants and any fallen branches or trees.
  • Add seasonal annuals or perennials to your gardens if listing in the spring or summer.
  • Cut back and trim any overgrown bushes.
  • Weed, edge and mulch garden beds.
  • Continue to fertilize and seed your yard while the house is on the market, and have it mowed regularly. Over-seed in the fall.
  • Remove any toys and garden tools from the yard.
  • If you have a pet, keep the yard scrupulously clean.
  • Look at your exterior door hardware to see if it needs polishing or replacing.
  • If you have a gate or fence, check it to ensure it is sturdy and doesn’t need painting or repair.
  • If you have a pool, consider “staging” it during showings with bright colored pillows, umbrellas and matching towels – even a tray with lemonade and plastic glasses.
  • Check all windows and screens. Repair as needed.
  • If any storms or screens are missing, make note of them so you can add that to the disclosure list you will be filling out. I usually say, “Screens where seen” on my listings.
  • If listing in the fall, have leaves removed from your property every two weeks.
  • Check any wood surfaces such as decking and pillars for rot and repair and paint or stain as needed.
  • Make sure all door hinges work properly and don’t squeak.
  • Check that your doorbell works or install one.
  • Check that your security system works properly and is monitored and that your system is up to code.
  • Check all gutters, downspouts (leaders) and drains for debris and make sure they are clean and draining properly.
  • In the garage: Clean out and throw out anything you don’t want or need. Store the rest neatly in containers that are clearly marked and make sure there is room for a car in the garage, even if you don’t use it for your own cars.
  • Look at the garage floor. Have any cracks filled and the floor painted if needed.
  • If listing in the fall or winter, close down your irrigation, drain and winterize exterior faucets.
  • Interior: Look at each room and see what furniture can be removed or placed differently for a better flow and layout.
  • Use rooms for their intended purpose while selling.
  • Have a floor to ceiling cleaning done by a professional company, if possible.
  • Have all windows and interior French doors cleaned.
  • Have all interior light fixtures cleaned and replace all bulbs with similar wattage and use brighter bulbs.
  • Check all interior spaces for any water infiltration and address as needed.
  • Check all walls and ceilings for cracks and holes. Repair as needed.
  • Paint interior spaces as needed. Use warm versus cool tones – they photograph much better.
  • Shampoo carpets if needed or replace.


Cleanliness is part of maintaining a house well, and all buyers want a well-maintained house. Once you complete all these tasks, you may not want to move because the house will look so good, but if you still do, now you’ll be ready.