Getting Ready For Market

Need A Hand?

Prior to listing your home, certain preparatory steps should be taken. Treat potential buyers as special
guests by getting your home in top condition before you list it. These are probably the most important
guests you will ever have. Make some effort now, and you will be rewarded with higher bids and a quick
sale. While these suggestions may be very valuable you should always consult with a licensed
professional Realtor prior to marketing any property.


Before a potential buyer even stops his car, he will notice the landscaping. Pay as much attention to
your yard and garden as you do to your home interior.Fertilize, mow, and trim the lawn.

  • Cut back overgrown shrubbery. Weed flowerbeds and replace dead plants.
  • Some people will go so far as to spend a little to enhance the landscaping with extra shrubs and
    flowerbeds. This is one of the most ‘bang-for-your-buck’ simple improvements that you can make to a home when you put it on the market.
  • If your home has any special outside features, such as a pool, spa, water feature, gazebo, deck, or
    such, make sure that they are looking their best and not littered or unkempt.
  • If you have outdoor lighting, check all of the bulbs and make sure that they are working. If you have a designed yard with nice lighting, you may want to show it off.
  • Make necessary repairs on fences and gates, and paint or stain the fence if necessary.
  • Clean up grease or oil spots on the driveway.
  • Be aware that the lender will probably require that any septic system or sewer hookup be inspected (at your cost), and any problems fixed before the house can be financed.
  • If you have a horse property with special features for horses, you almost certainly will sell to a horse
    owner, so make sure that these horse-related improvements are in good repair.

Siding, Trim & Roof

  • If there is any doubt at all (and there usually is, even with newer homes), pay for a pest inspection of
    your house BEFORE listing your house. Minor termite, ant, or rot problems should be fixed, so that
    your house can be sold with a clean pest report. If major problems exist, and you opt not to fix them
    (selling ‘as is’), the price will be seriously reduced and it is doubtful that a lender would loan against it.
  • If the exterior needs painting, do it. In some cases this will make a very dramatic improvement to the
    outside appearance of your house. Make sure that the trim looks sharp and sets off the house.
  • You should know if there have been any leaks in the roof. You will be required to disclose any of these.Very likely the lender will not lend against the house unless any roof problems are fixed. Even if there is no known major problem, give a quick visual inspection to the roof and patch or repair any small trouble spots that are found.
  • Any problems with mold or water damage will have to be disclosed. Make sure that any such problem has been properly fixed.
  • Make sure that gutters and downspouts are in place and clean. These are usually fairly simple matters.
  • Remove tree branches and leaves from the roof.

Front Entry

  • This is the entrance to your home and it needs to look good. Make sure that the front porch area is
    clean and uncluttered.
  • Repaint the front door.
  • Add welcoming touches like a wreath on the door, a welcome mat, or even flowers.

Your Home’s Interior

  • If your house is a fixer and it has any major structural issues, such as foundation problems and the
    like, consult with your real estate agent to see if you need a professional inspection of some of this
    before listing the house.
  • Do not let scruffy walls or woodwork reduce the appeal of your home. A little prep and a coat of fresh paint can make a big difference in some interior rooms.Creating the right atmosphere can welcome potential buyers into your home. 
  • Make your closets and storage areas look bigger by getting rid of items you are not using and by
    keeping them well organized.
  • Remove any excess furniture in your rooms to show off your floor plan to its best advantage.

Doors and Windows

  • Keep windows clean; make them sparkle. If screens are damaged, replace them. If outdoor trees and
    bushes interfere with lighting or a view, prune them.
  • Open the curtains to show off how cheerful your home can be. Turn on lights to make it feel warm and inviting.
  • Lube any squeaky door hinges.
  • Make sure all door and window locks work properly.
  • Replace broken glass.

Floors and Carpets

  • Make the floors shine; replace any damaged flooring or baseboards.
  • Steam-clean or shampoo carpets. Secure any loose carpet.

Kitchens and Bathrooms 

  • The kitchen and the master bath are the two most important rooms in a house for most people.
    Neglect them at your peril. Consider a little decoration here and make these rooms sparkle!
  • Make sure that your cabinet doors and drawers do not stick or have loose knobs or hinge problems.
  • Polish the cabinets and fixtures in the kitchen.
  • Keep counters and sinks clean and organized.
  • Use special cleaning products to remove stains from counters, toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and showers.
  • Hang clean fresh towels.
  • Add flowers or candles to make these rooms more appealing.

Closets and Storage Areas

  • Do your pre-moving clean up and throw out or store unnecessary items.
  • For sliding doors that may stick, rub the tracks with paraffin or candle wax.


  • Bedrooms are usually private areas in your home. It is important that potential buyers are welcome in
    your bedrooms and that they appear neat, tidy, and inviting.
  • Arrange furniture to allow a spacious atmosphere.
  • Make beds every day, and make a point of fluffing up the pillows.
  • Walls should be clean. Touch up the paint and remove any peeling wallpaper.

Living Areas

  • If you have a fireplace, clean up that area.
  • Dust counter tops and tabletops.
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs. Use brighter bulbs.

Garage, Shop or Studio
Some people have strong feelings about their workshop. If your home has a shop or studio space,
make sure that it is appealing by being neat and touched up. 

  • Items should be neatly stored in shelving or wall units. Dispose of everything you aren’t going to
  • Make sure the garage door opens freely and the automatic door opener is working.
  • Consider moving excess or over-size items to mini-storage.

When Your House is Being Shown

  • Provide an unobstructed view of your home from the street. Park your cars in the garage or on the
  • Keep drapes and blinds open to let in light. This also makes rooms appear larger.
  • Have your home well lighted during showings.
  • Welcome potential buyers into your home by making sure that children’s toys, paper work, other
    clutter or personal items are stored away while your home is being shown.
  • Keep any TV, radio, or stereo turned off or way down.
  • Make your home smell “homey.” Some scented furniture polish, baking cookies or bread, or fresh
    flowers can really change the mood in a home.
  • Take pets outdoors when your house is being shown.
  • Take your family away if your agent is holding an open house.
  • Refer direct inquiries you receive about seeing your house to your agent to take advantage of his
    professional skills in selling your home.
  • Let the real estate agent show your house, and don’t tag along. You might even take a walk during the showing.
  • Answer questions candidly when asked, but don’t offer answers to unasked questions.
  • Your real estate agent is an experienced professional who will be able to view your home objectively
    and make suggestions that will improve the appearance of your home and its salability. Take
    advantage of that expertise and reap the rewards. If you are interested in a detailed analysis of your
    home and its current market value, check out our Full Service Marketing Program.