Preparing Your Home for Sale

An open house is almost like a pitch to a potential client or customer. Not only does everything need to be perfect, but you want to demonstrate convincing value that a buyer couldn't find elsewhere. This means fixing that barely noticeable chip on the stairway bannister, polishing the wood floors, scrubbing out the one water mark on your faucet, and in general creating a wholesome and welcoming atmosphere.

Here's our comprehensive checklist:

Outside appeal.

An attractive exterior is the key to bringing the most prospective buyers to your doorstep. Here are ways to improve the curb appeal of your home:

  • Keep the lawn trimmed and fertilized.
  • Keep snow and ice removed from driveways and sidewalks.
  • Shape up the shrubs. New decorative stones or woodchips may help, too.
  • Weed flower beds and add charm by potting flowers near the front door.
  • Add warmth with a seasonal door decoration.
  • Clean and straighten sagging rain gutters.
  • Remove oil stains from driveways and garage.
  • Repair stray or warped roofing shingles.
  • Advise sale associate on the best placement of the yard sign.


Begin with a thorough cleaning. Sort out the things you no longer want. Hold a garage sale and convert that stored cash into needed repairs.

  • Store or give away excess furniture that makes the room appear cramped.
  • Discard unwanted items from closets and kitchen.
  • Sweep the basement and garage floors.
  • Wash windows and screens.
  • Clean and arrange closets and cabinets; they will look bigger with less clutter.
  • Make your kitchen appliances shine.
  • Wash walls and woodwork.
  • Scrub soap film from tile and grout.
  • Clear off counters to make the kitchen look spacious and neat.


Decorating helps assure you will get top dollar for your home.

  • Give rooms needing paint a fresh coat, in a neutral color.
  • Re-stain or paint chipped woodwork.
  • Replace torn or soiled wallpaper, carpeting or draperies in a neutral shade.
  • Arrange your window treatments to allow maximum light into rooms.
  • Consider new light fixtures and mirrors to expand a room.
  • Add flowers to make your home more attractive.
  • Perk up a bathroom with a new shower curtain.


Minor flaws in your home suggest negligence to a buyer. Your repair list should include:

  • Fix leaky faucets and toilets.
  • Make sure closet and cabinet doors close easily.
  • Make sure the garage door is in working order.
  • Inspect the furnace, humidifier and water heater.
  • Touch up paint, repair plaster and putty nail holes.
  • Make sure your doorbell is working properly.
  • Polish or refinish badly scratched hardwood floors.

Open house and showing preparation.

Remember the importance of first impressions—they mean everything. Pretend you're a buyer seeing your home for the first time.

  • Remove clutter.
  • Make beds.
  • Turn on soft music and all lights; turn off the television.
  • Open windows to air out any stuffy rooms.
  • Bake bread or cookies; the aroma is pleasing. Avoid unpleasant cooking odors.
  • Leave the house during the open house. Let your Shorewest sales associate sell your home.

Documents needed.

There are several items we'll need to process your home listing and sale:

  • Paid tax bill.
  • Survey.
  • Title policy.
  • Real estate condition report.
  • Account numbers and name of mortgage holder.
  • Lien waivers.
  • Compliance-occupancy permit.
  • Any and all inspection reports.