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Your Real Estate Prep List for Selling Your Home

selling your home tips

Are you planning to sell your home? If so, make sure you check off our real estate prep list! We detail everything you need to do before you post that “For Sale” sign on your property.

So, you’ve made the leap and decided to sell your home.

Next comes the process of real estate prep, or getting your house in order and ready to present to the public.

You may have a million thoughts running through your head about things to be done. That’s normal and very understandable.

We want to help, so we’ve compiled a to-do list to prepare your home for sale.

If you’re ready to get started, let’s dive right in:

Real Estate Prep List

Unless you’re selling your home to an agency that says “We buy any house,” you’re going to need to prepare your house for sale.

We encourage you to go step-by-step and check off items as you go.

The list is organized into exterior and interior tasks, so you can think of each as its own separate project.

1. Adjust your mindset.

Up until this point, your house has been your home and it’s where you’ve created precious memories.

From here on, though, you need to separate yourself from those feelings and think of your house as a piece of property.

Try to look at your house from the perspective of your potential buyers. You want them to have a positive experience viewing your home, especially when they consider whether or not to extend an offer to buy.


Exterior Checklist: Preparing Your House for Sale

First and foremost, the curb appeal of your home must be superb.

Curb appeal is sometimes referred to as “frosting” by real estate professionals.

It refers to your home’s appearance when it’s viewed from the street.

Curb appeal has considerable influence on your success in selling your home. It is equally as important as staging your home’s interior and pricing it competitively.

The main objective is to create a great first impression on home buyers.

2. Landscaping

No “mow and blows” here. You’ll need to mow, trim the edges, and eliminate any weeds or clover patches.

After you’ve mowed your lawn, lower the mower setting 1/4″. Then give the lawn a cross-directional second pass. This will give your lawn a parquet cut that will really pop.

Go through your yard, pull all the weeds, and prune the bushes and plant some fresh flowers.

3. Clean Everything Outside

If your house looks messy outside, many buyers assume that’s what they can expect inside as well.

Consider renting a pressure washer to spray them down the driveway, sidewalks, and the exterior siding. Keep the garage door closed as home seekers can be easily distracted by your camping gear or your neon beer sign.

A coat of paint goes a long way. If it’s been several years since your home has been painted, consider a fresh coat of paint to really make it stand out.

Even if you don’t paint the whole house, you should paint faded window trim.


4. Complete Repairs

Home repairs can sometimes be a deal breaker, so address any potential problems like roof leaks, damaged stucco or siding or broken windows.

5. Create an Inviting Front Door Entrance

The most important component of your home’s curb appeal is the front entry. It should welcome home buyers and invite them to come in.

To give your entry that wow factor, apply a fresh coat of paint on the front door in a color that contrasts with the rest of the home.

If the house address numbers are old and faded, replace them so they’re visible from the curb. For the final touch, buy a new welcome mat that welcomes home seekers into your home.

Interior Checklist

Selling your home goes much more smoothly if you prepare your home for sale.

Homes that are properly staged generally sell faster and at a higher price than homes which are not staged.

In fact, staging homes for potential buyers is so important many people use a professional home stager.

Save your money. You can do this. With a little common sense, some elbow grease, and this real estate prep list, you can inspire buyers and sell your home fast.

6. Depersonalize

When a buyer enters your home, they immediately envision themselves living there. This helps them determine if the home meets their needs and desires.

As such, you should pack away personal and family pictures so home buyers can envision pictures of their own family there.

Get a head start on moving plans by packing any personal items such as pictures, refrigerator magnets, your kids’ trophies, and so on.

The idea is to be more understated in your decor, and let your home buyers fill in the blanks with their imagination.


7. Declutter

Homes show better when they have less stuff.

Buyers want to envision their own things in your home.

Clean up your home by renting a storage unit and packing away extra furniture, photos, and personal items.

The most useful thing you can do is throw away things you don’t use. You don’t want to pack up these things and move them to another house, so now is an excellent time to get rid of things you haven’t used in years.

Remove any furniture that is old or unsightly as well as pieces which block paths and walkways. Get rid of the extra leaves in your dining room table to make the room appear larger.

The goal is to simplify your living spaces and leave your buyers plenty of space to move about.

8. Clean Everything

Roll up your sleeves, put on some gloves, and get to work.

Remember this rhyme: From top to bottom, left to right, make every surface shine, make every room bright.

  • Vacuum and dust every day. Sweep and mop floors, wipe down counter tops and straighten up your living areas daily as well.
  • Wash both sides of the windows.
  • Kitchens are a focal point for many, so make yours spotless. Wipe down refrigerators and even clean the inside of the fridge (yes, nosy home shoppers have been known to take a gander there).
  • Polish the kitchen and bathroom faucets, and clean the mirror so there’s no spots or streaks.
  • Check the grout in your bathrooms and kitchen and lay new caulk on any countertops, tubs or sinks that need it.
  • Hang new towels in the bathroom, and scrub the toilet (and don’t forget to close the lid).

Finally, when you show the home, open the curtains and blinds and turn on the lights to create a warm and inviting feel.

9. Interior Maintenance and Repairs

Now is the time to take care of any repair you’ve been putting off.

Add some lubricating oil to squeaky door hinges and address any faucet leaks.

Fix any flooring issues like torn up carpet, and replace any cracked tiles.

10. Some Common Scents

When it comes to the scent of your home’s interior, a little common sense goes a long way.


Obviously, your home absolutely must be free of any bad odors. Hide the kitty litter and eliminate pet smells.

Air out the house with air fresheners and neutralizers. Flowers and candles are a great way to replace musky or foul odors with a pleasant scent.

The Bottom Line

Completing the tasks on this real estate prep list will have you ready to impress buyers and in the best position to receive a quality offer.

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