The TOP 10 things to do BEFORE you list your home

If you are thinking of selling your home in the next few months, follow the TOP 10 things to do BEFORE you have a sign in your yard.

I am sure you have heard by now that the real estate market has heated up. It should not come as a surprise that there is a lot of pent up demand by buyers that want to move. Inventory is very low and homes are selling quickly. 

But beware, this does NOT mean you do not have to properly prepare your home for sale before listing it. We all want the BEST sales price for our home in the shortest amount of time. You will attain these goals by following these 10 steps.

1) Contact an experienced real estate agent in your market area and ask for their advice BEFORE painting, replacing flooring and lighting. 

So many times sellers could make better decisions when updating their home. Remember, when you want to sell, it is more about what the greatest number of buyers will like vs. choosing what you like. Neutral does NOT mean all white walls. There are many ‘neutral’ paint colors available that add warmth vs. making your home look ‘vanilla’.

2) Select a target date when you want to have your home on the market and work backwards from this date. How long will it take to paint, update, clean out the garage, basement, closets, etc.? Be realistic. Preparation typically takes longer than you think. 

3) Get rid of the things you are not using and no longer need. If you haven’t used something in the past 2 years, it needs to go! We all hold on to things we ‘think we might need’ but in most cases, we never use everything we store. It is really ‘freeing to get rid of the clutter in a home. It adds calmness to your mind. Trust me, I have purged my own home of things I do NOT need. (And by the way, if you don’t want these things, most likely, your kids don’t want them either.)  🙂

4) Organize, organize, organize. I cannot say this enough. Organize closets, cabinets, the basement, garage, and yes, even the refrigerator. I have had a seller  that labeled the shelves in her linen closet and pantry. Buyers were so impressed! They interpreted the great organization to how well the sellers took care of their home. A great idea for closets is to organize clothes by shirts, pants, dresses, then by length and color. Remember to remove empty hangers in-between clothing. 

5) Clean everything. A house can never be too clean. Seriously, so many people are so busy today they do not even notice the dust on the blinds, on the woodwork, on top of the cabinets and furniture, BUT, the buyers notice! Clean out under the bathroom and kitchen sinks. Bathrooms and the kitchen are the most personal rooms in a home so they need to really shine. Pay attention to the shower and bathtub. If they need to be re-caulked, then have this done. It makes a HUGE difference. 

6) Clean the unfinished portion of your basement and the garage. Vacuum cobwebs, clean the furnace and hot water heater. Replace your furnace filter. If you have a crawl space in the basement. de-clutter and move items away from the walls. Pest inspectors need to check these areas when doing the pest inspection. Don’t forget to clean the basement windows. Sweep or wash the garage floor. 

7) Windows and doors – clean and paint the front door if necessary. The weather is getting warmer so you should be able to add a fresh coat of paint where necessary. New paint makes a BIG difference. (Most painters say you can paint outside once the temperature reaches 55 degrees.) If your exterior trim has paint that is peeling, sand and paint it. If you have torn screens, get them repaired. Window seals broken, get these repaired. Clean the exterior light fixtures. New front door fixtures make a HUGE difference.

8) Drive up to your house and pretend you are the buyers. Trust me, the buyers have a mental picture of your home’s maintenance before even entering the front door. I have never seen a unkept exterior of a house where the inside is clean and tidy. Rake the leaves, spruce up the beds with fresh mulch, trim bushes, edge beds, and clean the gutters. Make sure your downspouts are connected to the drains in the ground. This may seem minor but it is critical to removing water from around the house.

9) Replace burned out lightbulbs inside and outside of your home. This seems like common sense but I see lighting that needs replaced all the time. Don’t forget to clean the switch plate covers to lights in your home. These often look bad from fingerprints.

10) Make sure your home is rid of any odors. When you live in your home, you can not detect smells. Ask a neighbor, friend or Realtor to come over and ask them if they notice any odors. This is so important!


I welcome your comments or questions!



379 W. Olentangy Street, Powell Ohio 43065  |  Contact Jeanne  |  614.832.6165

© 2014 JEANNE COUSINO REAL ESTATE | Web Design by Parente Design