Portland Home Sellers’ Checklist 2020 – Get Ready

home sellers get ready checklist

Good news for Portland home sellers: Your home could go from “listed” to sold in just 42 days this summer — that was the average number of days on market in June 2020. Proactive home sellers can move their home quickly by getting organized, completing as many tasks as possible before the home goes on the market. To help you get there, we’ve compiled our top real estate agent tips for getting your home cleaned up, fixed up and staged to sell.

STOP! Before you do anything else: 

  • Shop around for a real estate agent. Having agent representation is critical in Portland’s hot real estate market, but you don’t want to work with just anyone. Before you sign the listing agreement, ask them these five questions
  • Read through the listing agreement. We know there are a lot of documents coming at you as you prepare your home for sale, but this one is important. It spells out the terms of the relationship between you and your real estate agent. It’s perfectly ok to negotiate the expiration date of the agreement, as well as the commission rate you’re being charged. 
  • Get the required Home Energy Score Report. This in-person home assessment is only a pre-listing requirement in the City of Portland. However, homeowners around the metro area are also getting the report so that buyers can comparison-shop homes by energy efficiency. Read more about the Home Energy Score and how it impacts your home sale here. It is required for most homes (not all).

Other Portland Home Tests to Consider

Portland home shoppers are saavy and health-conscious, and they may request tests on everything from oil tanks to radon. If you can think of a reason that one of these tests might be requested, it may be a good idea to just get it done before you list your home. For example, if there was once a flood and there are still visible signs of water damage somewhere (usually the basement), you might want to show the results of a mold spore test indicating that your home doesn’t have out-of-control mold growing in the walls.

Talk to your real estate agent about which tests your home should have before it is listed on the Portland real estate market. And check out the following articles in  our Portland Home Hazards blog series:

Cleaning and Decluttering Checklist

It may be tempting to sell your home “as-is”, but the simple act of cleaning and decluttering can add 3-5% to the final sales price of your home, according to Consumer Reports. That’s up to $21,000 on a median-priced Portland home (in 2020)!

Getting rid of unnecessary items will make packing and moving easier, simplify the process of repairing and repainting the home, and give buyers a sense of “Ahhhh,” instead of “Oh, no!” when they walk into your home. Simply put, buyers want to be able to see themselves in your home — whether they are looking at pictures online or touring in-person. 

  1. Start with the garage. See our Portland Recycling Guide to find out where to give away unneeded clothing, electronics, building materials, and more!
  2. Declutter countertops. Stashing or getting rid of items that hang out on the counter will make your home appear more spacious. Start with the kitchen counter, then move into the bathroom, living room shelves, and anywhere else you have open, horizontal space.
  3. Clear the porch, patio and outside spaces. Curb appeal is huge in real estate, and Portland is a great place for indoor-outdoor living! However, buyers should do the imagining here, unhindered by the sight of grills, porch couches and kids’ toys. Check out our Portland Spring Cleaning article for more tips. 
  4. Time to deep clean. No shame in hiring a maid service — just get it done! Pay special attention to windows, floors and walls, especially if you’re not planning on repainting. 

Portland Home Staging Checklist

According to the National Association of Realtors, 83% of buyer’s agents say staging helps buyers visualize themselves in the home. And that’s exactly what your goal should be — staging is not about showing off your best furniture or ultra-hip tastes, but letting the items in the room bring the room to life. 

  1. Consult your sellers’ agent. We have sold hundreds of homes in Portland and can provide staging tips to get you started. We offer free interior design consultation (in addition to our own advice) for every home seller.
  2. Declutter (again). Time to take a second look and see what you missed on the first round of decluttering. The ideally staged home is minimalistic and involves just the basic furniture, art, and floor coverings necessary to bring the room together. 
  3. Create focal points. Each room should have one, whether it’s a window, an off-colored wall, fireplace, work of art, or potted plant. This provides a “purpose” for the room and helps buyers picture themselves there. 
  4. Use light to your advantage. When a home is under-lit, photography is difficult and spaces appear smaller. But harsh, overhead lighting is not the solution, either. Bring in floor and table lamps, make sure window shades can be easily pulled back when it’s time to show the home, and be sure your room’s focal point involves light somehow. 

Home Repairs Before Listing?

Not all home sellers have the time or resources to fix up their home before selling it. But a weekend spent repainting or touching up interior elements of the home could have big payoffs in reducing the time spent on the market and boosting curb appeal. We wrote a whole article on the essential repairs that sellers should make to their home, but to summarize, here are some items that should be high on your priority list:

  1. Safety concerns. Maybe you know about the protruding nail in the hallway or the loose porch board, but buyers and their agents don’t! Take care of these and any other safety concerns before moving on to home improvements. It’s also a good idea to take a walk outside and fill any cracks in walkways and patios. 
  2. Unfinished home repair projects. Add trim, patch holes, or do what it takes to give your home a completely finished look. 
  3. Small problems. Wiggly drawer pulls, loose molding, dripping faucets — these can set off red flags for home buyers, even if they don’t affect the overall condition of the home. It’s all about perception!
  4. Repainting selected rooms. Some home sellers choose to repaint their entire home, but others can get away with hitting some key areas. Start by repainting the kitchen and the bathroom, choosing a neutral shade of white or grey. Then repaint any brightly colored rooms in a similar neutral shade. (If you’re not sure, ask us first!)
  5. Repaint the front door. A freshly painted front door welcomes buyers and creates a confident start to a home tour, and a Zillow study found that the color you choose can make a big difference in sales price. Check out our list of Top 5 Front Door Colors to Sell Your Home in 2020.

Thinking about selling your home? Talk to our top 1% Portland seller’s agents today, we’ll be happy to walk you through the process and share our strategy to sell your home for top value.

August 3, 2020

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.