Checklist to Get your Home Ready for the Real Estate Market

checklist before selling a home

Preparing your home for the real estate market is an involved process and a checklist can help. Licensed since 2003, I’ve overseen more than 2,000 home sales and believe this checklist will help you get ready. Keep reading after this home checklist for important home preparation advice.

Our home preparations checklist is divided between exterior and interior tasks and tasks we recommend are completed right before the photographer arrives, to ensure the home puts its best foot forward before displaying on thousands of real estate websites.

Home Preparations Checklist
✔ DoneEXTERIORDo this right
before photos.
Yard mowedX
All plants cut away from siding, roofX
Windows WashedX
Gutters cleanedX
Powerwash siding, driveway, sidewalkX
Fresh layer of bark chips, gravel X
Remove vehicles, trailers from lot. X
Test deck, fence, and siding for soft boards or damage
Grind down or remove any tripping hazards
Paint or stain any exposed wood
Roof cleaned (de-mossed)
Put away any rugs if you have really nice flooring or if the rugs are too darkX
Leave nothing on the floor that isn’t furniture or a desired rugX
Final declutter, leave no more than three decorations per horizontal surface.X
Final wipedown after deep clean is already completedX
Leave all the lights on before the photographer arrivesX
Open all shades, blinds, pull back curtains before photographer arrivesX
Remove all signs of pets – toys, beds, bowlsX
Remove all signs of portable fans, a/c units, and heatersX
Remove all items too personal, such as family photos, awards
Deep clean, don’t forget to wipe off glass light fixtures, clean ceiling cobwebs
Remove calendars and clocks from view (doesn’t look good in photos)
Change out all dead or missing lightbulbs
Initial declutter, remove all excess furniture then decorations

1. Know when the best time of the year to sell is.

The real estate market is a market, meaning it has ebbs and flows and never stops moving. Each year there is an overall market trend (either up or down, favoring a home buyer or seller) and within that overall annual trend there also always exists a significant seasonal high and low. Choosing the right month to sell within a given year can have a dramatic effect on your overall experience. Seasonal trends are so important we write a report on this every year. To give a quick summary, in our greater real estate market the best time to sell a home is March through June and the second best time of the year to sell a home is late Sept. through early November. But each year we can break it down to the best month of the year to sell and the worst.

2. Work on the (before photographer) checklist above. Finish any obvious repairs.

3. Interview a top real estate agent and get their advice on your home.

If you’re considering selling your home in the next 12 months, we’d love to come out and take a look. Honestly, I don’t mind coming out even up to a year in advance. I’m happy to come out early because I can help with forecasting the local real estate market and can give advice on any necessary prep or remodeling work before selling a home. Every home is unique and every seller’s needs are unique. Ideally, if I can meet with the seller in person and tour their home with them, I can give the best possible advice. Not all sellers agents are the same, they do not offer the same marketing efforts nor do they charge the same amount in commission. You can check out our services and commission rates before we check out your home. I’d love to schedule with you today.

August 9, 2021

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

4% max to sell a home in Portland and SW Washington.
4.25% max to sell a home in Salem and Bend.
Over 2,000 homes sold.