Getting a House Ready to Sell: The Essential Checklist (Printable)

March 17, 2022

Getting a house ready to sell requires a certain amount of planning and hard work. Before photos are taken and the house is listed, there’s an entire checklist of things that should be done—from decluttering to staging furniture. Lucky for you, our team of luxury real estate professionals has been through this process countless times, and we’ve assembled a checklist of essential items to complete before listing your home for sale. Follow these steps if you want to get your home ready to sell for the highest price in the shortest amount of time possible.

1. Depersonalize 

You might love all the personal touches you’ve added to your home, but that doesn’t mean buyers will. Having these things on display can be distracting; buyers tend to spend too much time looking at the stuff and not the house. Whether it’s a wall of family pictures or a room dedicated to your favorite sports team, it’s important to remove all those little traces of “you” from the home. Depersonalizing your property also helps potential buyers to visualize their own family living there. Just remember—you’re moving anyway, so you might as well pack it all up. Before you know it, you’ll be unpacking all your favorite things in your new home. 


Consider removing:

  • Personal hobbies
  • Collectibles
  • Sports logos
  • Movie memorabilia
  • Religious symbols
  • Souvenirs
  • Dated accessories
  • Family photos
  • Political affiliations


2. Declutter

When you’re getting ready to sell a home, less is truly more. Clean out those closets, pantries, and bookshelves, and clear off the countertops. Whether you pack everything up, sell it, or give it away, you need to remove as much clutter as possible. The house should look big, open, and clean for showings.


Commonly-cluttered areas to check:

  • Kitchen counters
  • Shelves
  • Bathroom vanities
  • Laundry room
  • Pantry


3. Empty Storage Areas

If your home has a lot of storage space, that’s great. Buyers really love that. However, it’s still important to empty the storage spaces out so buyers can see them. If every drawer they open is overflowing, they may feel that there’s not enough storage.


Pack up the following and move it to a storage facility:

  • Overstuffed drawers
  • Closets
  • Overhead garage storage
  • Above-cabinet storage


4. Change the Furniture Layout

There’s a big difference between “living condition” and “selling condition.” You might need that extra couch in the family room for your particular living situation, but you’re not the one buying your property. Buyers like to see open space, and they should be able to walk through the home effortlessly. Maximizing the appeal of your furniture layout may require the help of a professional home stager, or at least a real estate agent who knows what they’re doing. 


When in doubt, there are a few best practices to follow:

  • Move couches that create visual barriers
  • Maximize walkability between areas
  • Remove furniture to create large, open spaces
  • Put away pet and baby gates


5. Make Repairs and Touch-ups

If a buyer walks into your home and they see a sink dripping, or perhaps some cracks in the paint, they will immediately wonder what else is wrong with the house. This situation needs to be avoided at all costs. If you know of any issues that need to be addressed, take care of them ahead of time. 


Recommended repairs and touch-ups:

  • Get a roof inspection
  • Repair all plumbing and electrical problems
  • Replace all burned-out light bulbs
  • Change air filters
  • Make sure all smoke detectors have fresh batteries 
  • Where paint touch-up is needed, consider repainting the whole wall


6. Deep Clean Everything

Generally, you might pay $100 to $150 for a house cleaner to come and clean your house. That’s fantastic for a quick clean, but to get an actual deep clean might cost $500, $1000, or potentially more. The difference between these two services is like going to a drive-through carwash versus getting your car detailed, and when you’re preparing your home for sale, what you need is the detail. The cleaners should make your home feel as fresh and clean as possible. In particular, the kitchen and all the bathrooms should be immaculate.


Go beyond a quick clean:

  • Remove residue from all wood cabinets, doors, and drawer fronts
  • Eliminate odors 
  • Get the floor tile and grout cleaned
  • Get the carpets shampooed
  • Get the windows washed (inside and out)
  • Clean all garbage and recycling receptacles (If possible, do not keep them in the garage unless professionally cleaned by a rubbish bin cleaning service)


Deep cleaning checklist (kitchen):

  • Refrigerator
  • Ovens
  • Stove/hood
  • Dishwasher
  • Microwave
  • Sink
  • Countertops
  • Backsplash


Deep cleaning checklist (whole home):

  • Window sills
  • Shutters
  • Showers
  • Bathtubs
  • Mirrors
  • Baseboards
  • Ceiling fans
  • Light fixtures
  • Stairways


7. Make the Exterior Pop

First impressions matter. That’s why it’s crucial for the exterior of your home to look just as good as the interior. Buyers should be greeted by freshly trimmed landscaping, a power-washed pathway, and clean exterior walls. 

It’s common for homeowners to come and go through their garage, so they don’t often take a glimpse at their front door. But when a buyer shows up with their real estate agent, they might wait at the door for a minute or more for someone to let them in. If their gaze wanders to cobwebs, dead bushes, or a big stain on the doorstep, that’s not the warm welcome you want to offer. Go outside, take a look for yourself, and be really critical of the front yard, the entry, and the porch. Everything should pop. 


To leave a great first impression, do the following (if necessary):

  • Repaint the front door
  • Replace the lock hardware
  • Remove dead tree limbs, bushes, and flowers
  • Clear walkways of overhanging plants
  • Cut tree limbs that are touching your house
  • Weed the garden
  • Remove/clean any broken/dirty statues
  • Fix dead spots in your lawn
  • Replace burned-out landscape lights
  • Remove solar screens from the windows and store them in the garage (they tend to make the interior too dark)
  • Get the driveway/decking power-washed
  • Power-wash all exterior stucco
  • Acid-wash oil stains in the driveway and garage
  • Treat yourself to a new welcome mat


8. Get Personalized Help

All of the recommendations listed above are designed to help you sell your home for the highest price in the shortest amount of time possible. However, every property has different staging needs. If you happen to be selling a guard-gated home in Las Vegas, Summerlin, or Henderson, we’re here to help with your unique situation.

At the Rob Jensen Company, we offer all our clients a free home staging consultation where we come to the client’s house and create a tailored list of recommendations. The earlier you get this consultation done, the better. We often meet with sellers who have tried their best to paint or make other changes to get the house ready. Unfortunately, these well-intentioned sellers don’t always make the best choices.

Before you do the hard work of preparing your house for sale, it’s beneficial to get professional advice. Call us today at 702-605-7482, and we’d be happy to lend you our expertise.


Download the Printable “Getting a House Ready to Sell: The Essential Checklist” PDF



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The newsletter that gets you inside the gates.

Be the first to learn about new listings, open houses, price reductions, and investment opportunities. And get the inside track with our expert real estate advice, podcasts, the Rob’s Report, and more.