The Home Pre-Sale Checklist: Preparing to Move

 Before selling your house, use this checklist to help you prepare.

Key takeaways

  • A checklist for selling your home should fit your circumstances. Use the list here as a template. While most items will apply to most homeowners, you may need to add or subtract items based on your circumstances.

  • Consider paying for a pre-sale inspection before listing your house. This will key you to any necessary problems, and give you time to address them before the house goes on the market.

  • The keyword is “declutter.” As you prepare your home for the market, declutter every room, surface, drawer and closet. Buyers want to envision themselves in your space and can’t do that if your stuff is in the way.

Make a Checklist

The real estate market is very volitile right now. The Federal Reserve says it's going to stick to its plan of hiking interest rates until inflation can be brought under control.

The combination of limited supply and increased demand had caused homes earlier this year to sell at tens of thousands of dollars above the asking price. Some potential buyers have had to submit dozens of offers before locking down a new home.

It's not like there are zero homes for sale. You may be in a situation where it's a great time to sell. And you’ll have to prepare your house for it. A comprehensive checklist can help you get the most bang for your buck.

Check this list before you sell.

Prepare for your move thoroughly

Although organized by timeline, you may move from category to category as needed with this checklist.

Hiring professionals

The continuing supply chain issues have affected contractors, plumbers and electricians. If your house needs any updates or renovations, these professionals should be at the top of your list to schedule.

Other professional services to consider:

  • Trash disposal. You may want to rent a dumpster if you expect to conduct renovations or if you have many items to discard.

  • Beautification services. Contract out landscaping, painting, window washing and carpet cleaning.

  • Home inspection: Though optional, a pre-listing home inspection will identify any necessary repairs and prevent surprises during a closing inspection.

  • Real estate attorney: These are optional depending on the state you live in, but they can draft and review formal documents, research and resolve title issues, and assist with contract disputes. When making significant financial changes in your life, like buying and selling a home, it can be smart to consult a qualified attorney.

Before you list

Before officially putting your house on the market, you’ll need to conduct a top-down review of every room in your house.

Potential buyers will view your home much more critically than their own homes. Even if a potential buyer doesn’t dust their home every week, they’ll notice anything you haven’t dusted.

WATCH: Tips For Moving House Without the Stress

Maintaining that “on display” level of cleanliness can be tiresome, but putting more work in on the front end can reduce stress.

Declutter every room. Buyers will look into every nook and cranny during an open house or showing. Clean everything! From kitchen shelves, drawers, and countertops to closets, tables and windows, expect a buyer to look through all areas. This is a good time to donate unwanted items and to pack away things you want to keep.

Depersonalize every room. Potential buyers want to envision themselves in your home. They can’t do that if your family’s pictures and keepsakes line the halls. Take down any photos, unique or bold artwork, and anything else that would prevent buyers from seeing the house as a blank canvas for themselves.

Complete handyman tasks. Check cabinetry for loose handles. Replace any burned-out lightbulbs, rid the walls and baseboards of scuff marks, and complete any other small repairs.

Repaint the walls. For any rooms with accent or unique colors, consider repainting with neutral tones. As with depersonalizing your space, neutral colors help buyers see the house as their own space.

Clean, clean, clean. Deep clean all kitchen appliances, vents and fan blades, ceiling corners, carpets and hardwood floors, and anything else that attracts dust.

Conduct a smell test. Eliminate any unpleasant odors.

Spruce up the bathrooms. Declutter countertops by removing all toiletries. Store any unused shower items. Replace old towels with fluffy ones in neutral tones.

Sweep the kitchen. Clear the countertops and remove all items from the refrigerator. Put away any food and food storage bins to reduce clutter.

Putting your house on the market

Now that your home is ready for potential buyers, it’s time to list it for sale. You may consider selling yourself or working with a realtor. When working with a realtor, keep the following in mind.

  • Research. Find a realtor who specializes in your current neighborhood or the one you hope to move into. Different realtors have different strengths, so find one right for you.

  • Get an appraisal. Realtors may perform a comparative market analysis or point you to an appraiser. Either way, these tools will help you set a realistic sale price for your home.

  • Complete all paperwork. Hiring a realtor comes with a contract. You’ll also need to complete a set of disclosures to document all known materiel defects. Your realtor may have you complete an intake form for the property’s listing.

  • Photograph and stage the home. While staging may be optional, you’ll definitely need high-quality photographs and videos to accompany the online listing. Your realtor will likely schedule this; you may want to be there when the professionals come to photograph and stage.

Once your move is winding to its last weeks, transfer your major utilities to your new home.

Consider a home equity agreement from Unlock Technologies

Homeowners decide to sell for various reasons. Maybe it’s time to upsize or downsize, or you need to relocate for work. Perhaps you need access to the cash from selling. If that’s the case, you may not need to sell. A home equity agreement (HEA) from Unlock Technologies allows you to tap into your home equity without having to sell. Our home equity specialists are ready to walk you through the process.

Contact us today to get started.

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