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Home Seller's Checklist: Prepare and Stage your Home

Updated on September 18, 2014

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Exterior Checklist

  1. Mow and edge the lawn, trim shrubs/trees
  2. Clean up the front entryway- paint front door, put new mat down.
  3. Paint, fix or replace a damaged mailbox.
  4. Replace or repair any damaged screens or cracked windows
  5. Keep steps and walkways free of hazards
  6. Make sure the Doorbell works!!
  7. Exterior lights should be working normally
  8. Check brick/stone/stucco for cracks and gaps-fill and repair - around windows, corners and at garage or fireplace are common places for issues.
  9. Clean and organize the garage- buyers will be looking here too.
  10. Flowerbeds neat and clean with fresh plants and free of tools and hoses.

Interior Checklist

1. Working light bulbs in every room. Especially if you have a tall ceiling with lights that are difficult to change-otherwise you're showing them a reason they don't want that room.

2. Tighten up or replace any loose knobs on doors or cabinets.

3. Shampoo and clean floors thoroughly-if they are badly stained consider replacing.

4. New paint on the wall!! Neutral colors, semi-gloss or other NON flat paint makes a HUGE difference.

5. Check all faucets for leaks-fix them now.

6. Toilet seats should be firmly attached and neat looking-buy new ones if they don't shine up like new

7. Shower curtains should be clean and free of mold or mildew-get new ones at the dollar store if needed.

8. Consider the room arrangement-When you enter room find the focal point if there is clutter there...thin out and re-arrange.

9. Keep washer/dryer area neat and clean. No piles of laundry or overflowing baskets.

10. Keep items on the kitchen counter to a minimum.

Keep bath counters unclutted
Keep bath counters unclutted
Clean shower curtains
Clean shower curtains
Well maintained Yard
Well maintained Yard
Kitchen needs a pop of color and clean counters
Kitchen needs a pop of color and clean counters

Staging tips

  • Keep it neat and clean- a messy/dirty home draws attention to every flaw.
  • Color: Walls and major colors in the house should be neutral colors but small items that add a pop of color and draw the buyer's attention to a specific area are recommended. Example, a red dish towel on the clean/shiny oven door.
  • Let in the light! Natural light helps sell your house, open the blinds, curtains or other window dressing to let the light pour into the room.
  • SMELLS-bad smells will kill a deal just as fast as overwhelming air fresheners. Address anything causing a bad smell and don't overkill with others. If you have a scented wax burner use gentle scents like apple pie, cinnamon, pumpkin, or vanilla and have it on a timer with 15 min breaks every two hours.
  • HIDE the trash can- even if you normally keep the trash can out in the kitchen, other people don't. Place it where it isn't out drawing attention.
  • New Towels: Pick out some attractive hand towels for your bathrooms
  • Beds-beds need to be made neatly
  • Lights- If you're home just before a showing, run through and turn on every light in the house. It's very welcoming to walk into the house with all the lights on. If you're not home hopefully every agent that shows it will do this anyway...but the better you can set the stage the more successful it will go.


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