You’ve made the decision to sell your home. Now, it’s time to get to work.

It takes a lot to get your home show-ready and keep it that way until closing day, especially with kids in the house. But countless families do it every year, and you can too!

Use this checklist to prepare your home for sale and keep it looking great through moving day.

Before Listing Your Home

Homes that look better, sell better. By cleaning and staging your home before listing, you ensure a great first impression for buyers viewing your home in person or online.

  • Declutter: Empty bookshelves, cabinets, closets, garages, and playrooms of everything you can live without. Decluttering makes your home look spacious and simplifies upkeep while your home is for sale.
  • Organize: Organize what’s left so your home looks tidy and is easy to clean. Pay special attention to kids’ areas, which are prone to messes. You may want to buy storage totes or baskets where you can quickly hide toys so you spend less time worrying about kids’ messes.
  • Deep clean: This checklist covers everything you need to clean. Include a professional carpet cleaning to eliminate stains and odors.
  • Protect: If your children are young, protect your newly cleaned home from major messes by laying area rugs in high-traffic areas and using slipcovers on furniture. Choose materials that are easily removed before showings.
  • Repair: Make minor repairs around the house, like filling gouges in baseboards and tightening loose door knobs, but talk to your agent before investing in major repairs like a new roof.
  • Stage: Rearrange furniture and get rid of furniture that’s old, tattered, or taking up too much space. Remove family portraits and other personal decorations. If the home looks bare, use throw pillows, framed prints, and other inexpensive decorations to add interest.

Weekly Upkeep for Sellers

Once the major projects are complete, you’re ready to list! However, your work isn’t done. In order to make a positive first impression on each and every buyer, you need to perform weekly cleaning and upkeep.

  • Kitchens: Wash dishes, sanitize countertops, and sweep floors daily. Wash stovetops, wipe down appliance controls, and mop floors once or twice weekly. Avoid odors by throwing away expired food promptly and emptying the trash more often.
  • Living and play areas: Put away shoes, throw blankets, and toys as soon as they’re done being used. Store remotes, chargers, and other electronics in a drawer or basket. Vacuum once or twice per week, or more for high-traffic areas.
  • Bathrooms: Wipe down countertops and mirrors daily and squeegee showers and bathtubs after use. Clean toilets, showers, sinks, and floors weekly.
  • Bedrooms: Make beds and clean clutter off dressers and nightstands daily. Keep clothing off of the floor; if clothes tend to pile up, buy a second hamper for clean clothes waiting to be put away.

What to Clean Before Showings

If you’ve done everything right, cleaning up before a last-minute showing is easy. When your agent calls saying a buyer wants to see your home in 30 minutes, there are only a few things left to do.

  • Tidy up: Wipe down tables and countertops, store countertop appliances in cupboards, and shut toilet lids and closet doors. Do a last-minute check for toys and clutter and toss anything you find into storage bins.
  • Banish odors: Empty trash cans and litter boxes, then do a quick sweep for other odors. Use a subtle air freshener or open windows to clear out lingering smells.
  • Brighten: Open curtains or blinds and turn on the lights throughout the home, including exterior lights. If you have a bowl of fresh fruit or a vase of flowers to put out, do that now.

Once everything is done, all there’s left to do is pack up the family and head out. You can confidently leave your showing in the hands of your agent knowing that you’ve done everything possible to make a great impression on buyers. With luck, all your hard work will pay off and your showing will end in an offer to buy!

posted by Eric Rothman

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