16 Things To Do Before Listing Your Home For Sale

Kyle Hiscock

Kyle Hiscock | Re/Max Realty Group

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16 Things To Do Before Selling Your Home
16 Things To Do Before Selling Your Home

If you’re getting ready to put your house on the market, then it’s time to consider making some changes. There are a few things to do before listing a home that will increase a homes resale value and also make it more attractive to potential buyers.

While you may not have to do all of these things, this article will provide a comprehensive list of things to do.  Completing these things before listing your home can not only make you more money but also can expedite the time it takes to sell your home!

1. Make Repairs

This is the best place to start. You probably have dozens of small things around the house that you’ve meant to repair but have never done. Stained ceilings, missing tile, broken windows and more can all be on this list.

Go through the house room by room and evaluate each one for repair needs. Some of these you may be able to fix on your own but it’s never a bad idea to get a contractor involved if you’re short on time.

Many of these deferred maintenance items can be a huge red flag for home buyers.  Many buyers will wonder, in addition to these items, what other things have you neglected to repair.

2. Finish Projects

As a homeowner, you probably have a few home improvement projects that are in the works. Now is the time to get them done.

Finish painting the guest room, install the ceiling fan you purchased a few months ago, and stain the board that’s up in the pantry. Once you finish with these projects or whatever you have that’s ongoing, it’s probably a good idea to avoid starting any additional projects unless your real estate agent has suggestions.

3. Create Curb Appeal

When potential buyers drive up to your house, you want them to fall in love within the first few minutes. A good first impression is invaluable so the outside area of the house is also important.

Make sure that you have a well-manicured lawn and you may want to consider working on your garden, shrubs, and any other areas that can be seen from the street. Once your lawn looks tidy, keep it that way until the house is sold.

Improving a homes curb appeal is a great way to make a great first impression on prospective home buyers, so don’t forget to complete this step before listing your home.

4. Declutter the House & Depersonalize

While you may like all of the items you have, buyers don’t want to see all your stuff. This is where you may want to organize the area and get ready for your move.

If you have items that you don’t want to donate or throw away, it may be worth renting a storage space. Leaving the house with minimal touches gives the house a fresh open appeal that buyers love.

It’s also good for you to get rid of unwanted items. If you’re selling your home, donating is always a good option. There are many furniture and clothes donation pick up services and drop off locations across the Country.

Your home also most likely has tons of personal touches. This may be attractive to you but it makes it harder for buyers to see themselves in your home.

Family photos or children’s artwork is probably precious to you but may be distracting. Take these items down and store them out of sight.

It might make you sad to move the items but they’ll be packed and ready for your new home where you can proudly display them.

5. Update the Paint

Although you may love your paint, it’s probably a good idea to freshen up the space and a new coat of paint is just a simple way to get there. Neutral colors work best. They don’t distract and they also allow buyers to imagine themselves living in the space.

Choose warm neutrals that will brighten up even dark rooms. You can paint on your own or hire professionals to do this for you. Whether you decide to hire a profession or DIY, it’s important you know how to select the correct paint type so the finished project looks fantastic.

6. Do a Deep Clean

Give Your Home A Deep Cleaning - 16 Pre-Listing Tasks Before Selling Your Home
Give Your Home A Deep Cleaning – 16 Pre-Listing Tasks Before Selling Your Home

Cleaning is an ongoing process that you’ll want to do whenever someone’s viewing the house. However, a deep clean before you list the property is a good idea.

Not only will it give your home a fresh look, it’s also good to have a really deep clean done periodically. You can do this yourself or hire a cleaning service. You’ll be paying a small amount for your house to get a lot more appealing to buyers.

7. Stage the Furniture

Although you probably like the layout of your home, it may not be appealing to buyers. When you’re getting ready to sell, it’s a good time to move your furniture and make the room look bigger.

Avoid having any furniture against the walls. You may even want to remove some furniture if the room looks crowded or full.

Think about the arrangements you’ve seen in model homes and use this as your guide. You don’t have to spend a fortune as there are ways to stage a home on a budget!

8. Buy Fresh Flowers and Plants

Greenery around the house is a great way to give your home a fresh look. Plant flowers in window boxes or buy potted plants to place around the home.

They’ll add color and life to the space without making any other changes. Make sure to keep them watered and trimmed for the best results. This is a sign that the house is being cared for so it’s a simple but effective step.

9. Use Low Maintenance Materials

If you’re doing any upgrades to your home such as replacing the flooring or the counters, look for materials that are low-maintenance. Buyers don’t want to spend hours a day cleaning their floors so no-fuss is the way to go.

A real estate agent can give you an idea what trends home buyers are looking for so that you can make a good decision.  Materials that don’t need much upkeep are best so keep this in mind when you’re doing these upgrades.

10. Upgrade the Lighting

If your fixtures and lamps are outdated, then it’s an easy and cheap upgrade to add value to a home that’s well worth the cost. Buyers don’t want to feel as though they’re taking a step back with outdated fixtures.

Lighting replacement is a fairly inexpensive change to make and you may want to consider installing extra lighting for rooms that are small and dark. This will make them appear more open and accessible without any other upgrades.

11. Fix Pet Problems

Fix Pet "Problems" Around The House - 16 Things To Do Before Listing Your Home For Sale!
Fix Pet “Problems” Around The House – 16 Things To Do Before Listing Your Home For Sale!

Are you selling a home with pets? Pets are great companions but they also leave marks on our houses. If there are any areas that they’ve affected, consider fixing or replacing those items.

The rug that’s been chewed, for example, should be removed entirely. Buyers may love pets but they don’t want to see how yours has affected the house.

Pet odors are also a turnoff so make sure that you can’t smell your pets anywhere in the house.

12. Wash the Exterior

Every home probably needs a little TLC on the outside as well as the inside. If your house has siding, use a pressure washer to clean off the siding.

Also make sure that the windows are clean and the gutters are clear before trying to sell the house. If you’re not comfortable with these areas, a professional can do these tasks in just a few hours and your home will look fresh and new from the outside.

13. Get a Home Inspection

Buyers are most likely going to have a home inspection when they purchase the house. A buyer may suggest you fix some items if they perform an inspection, so one of the top benefits of a pre-listing home inspection is that you can make repairs before a buyer completes their inspection.

A home inspector will look at your property and give you a list of any and all items that may be damaged or deficient. This is a great way to determine your problem areas and you don’t have to fix everything.

Look at the repairs that may be worth performing or that the home inspector recommends resolving.

14. Add Smart Home Technology

Although this may depend on your area, many younger buyers want homes that are smarter. Adding a smart thermostat or fixtures that can be controlled by a smart phone are attractive upgrades.

Depending on who is primarily buying in your area, these simple upgrades may give you home more appeal. Do some research to determine if this is a smart choice for you to make.

15. Fix or Install Fencing

This may not be necessary for your property but a fence is going to add value to the property. If you already have a fence, take a look at it and take care of any repairs.

A broken or damaged fence is going to be a turn off for buyers but repairs tend to be fairly simple. If you have a wooden fence, it may need some work as well to look fresh and new.

16. Address Roof Repairs

You’ll probably have an idea about the condition of your roof when you have a home inspection. However, a damaged roof can be a huge deterrent for sellers so you don’t want to leave this until the last minute.

If your roof has any leaks, missing shingles, or similar problems, have this addressed early.

If the roof needs to be replaced entirely, you may want to do this as well before listing the house on the market. If you need to replace a roof before listing your home for sale, make sure you explore all your roof choices for your home.

Final Thoughts On Things To Do Before Listing Your Home

Now that you know what to do, you’ll be in a much better shape to get your house ready to sell. By completing these things, your home will have greater appeal to buyers and ultimately lead to more money in your pocket!

If you’re short on time, prioritize the big items and then talk to an agent about what other upgrades or changes you should make. Most of these items are easy and fairly inexpensive but they can make a big difference in your home sale.


About the author: The above article on “16 Things To Do Before Listing Your Home For Sale” was written by Kyle Hiscock, a Top Pittsford NY Realtor with RE/MAX Realty Group.

Since being launched in 2013, Kyle has published more than 150 quality, in-depth, and unique real estate related articles on the Rochester Real Estate Blog pertaining to topics varying from home selling to mortgages and everything in between!  In addition to quality real estate related content, there are also many quality articles pertaining to the Greater Rochester NY area.

The Rochester Real Estate Blog has been recognized by many reputable websites as one of the best real estate blogs to visit and follow!  In addition to being recognized as one of the best real estate blogs, Kyle has been recognized as one of the top Realtors on social media by several organizations and websites.


About Rochester’s Real Estate Blog: Rochester’s Real Estate Blog is owned and operated by Kyle Hiscock of the Hiscock Sold Team at RE/MAX Realty Group.  With over 40 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

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