21 Important Things to Do Before Selling Your Home

21 Important Things to Do Before Selling Your Home

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Selling a home can be one of the most stressful life events that you face. If you watch the latest DIY show, you might think staging a home to sell requires a lot of money, professionals, ripping down a wall or two and bringing in all new flooring, furniture and décor.

It doesn’t have to be like that!

Last month I shared 9 quick and easy ways to add curb appeal to your home. You really want to grab buyers’ attention right from the street! Once they are inside your home, though, you are going to want to seal the deal!

There are things to do before selling your home that require little effort and hardly any budget. I am excited to share 21 of those things with you today. Follow these simple home staging tips (most of which are totally free and can be done in one afternoon) to have your home ready to show and sell to all of those potential buyers.

You don’t need a professional stager (even though that would be nice!) or have a lot of money to stage your home perfectly for a potential buyer. Let me show you how to DIY it!

21 Things to Do Before Selling Your Home

1. Declutter!

Decluttering is always going to go on top of my list. We all have too much stuff! Our closets are full, we have things under our beds and counters are cluttered. Go through everything. Donate anything you haven’t used in a year. Family heirlooms, pictures, keepsakes and memorabilia can be stored away for a while. Give things away to family and friends. Have a garage sale. You want your home to look as spacious as possible. The fewer things you have inside, the bigger your home will look and feel. Consider renting a storage unit to store some of the items you don’t need every day.

This guide is a great starting point for any decluttering project: How to Declutter Your Life

2. Banish the dust bunnies!

Dust everywhere dust collects. I’m short. Sometimes I forget about the high places (shelves, mantels, etc.). Don’t let yourself forget those high places! Pay attention to the corners of rooms. Knock the spider webs down with a broom. Ceiling fans love to collect dust. Invest in an extra long ceiling fan duster. Make sure the fan blades are dust free. Blinds are another item that love to collect dust! Make sure you clean those as well.

3. Make your home smell good!

Funky smells are the first thing a potential buyer may notice while house hunting. Scents can be a deal breaker, even subconsciously! Deep cleaning your home can do wonders. I also like to up the odds. I used plug-in wax warmers, air freshener sprays or even candles while showing my home. I’ve heard of sellers baking a dozen cookies before a showing. Whatever you do, make sure your home smells good!

4. Clean glass windows and doors.

Windows and doors bring light in and can be a huge plus to a potential buyer. Make sure all your windows are clean (even the window sills, which can collect dirt and dust!). Before a showing, quickly clean the high traffic areas in your home like the back door. We always have fingerprints on our back patio door. Clean those off!

5. Open your blinds.

This is a tip from our realtor. When you leave your home for showing, open the blinds. Open blinds will bring light in, and having the blinds open will make your rooms and home appear larger. Try it! It works!

6. Paint trim and door frames.

Trim and door frames take a huge beating. Especially if you have kiddos! Buy a gallon of trim paint and invest a Saturday afternoon touching up all the trim and door frames in your entire house. You will be amazed at the difference. Paint will make everything look clean and brand new.

Related: How to Touch Up Paint Like an Expert Before Selling Your Home

7. Wash down light switches and door handles.

Hands are dirty. Ha! Look around your home. You’ll find some fingerprints and smudges somewhere. I promise! They especially love to hang out around light switches and door knobs. Use a damp rag and a little bit of cleaner to clean all these areas. Our grungiest light switches were by the garage door, the sink disposal and in the bathrooms. Ick! You’ll want to clean those off!

8. Straighten the pantry.

Pantries sell homes. Make yours appear roomier by straightening the shelves, organizing and grouping like items, organizing with bins, throwing out expired food, sweeping and mopping the floor, wiping down the shelves and repainting and lining the shelves with fresh liner, if needed. Refill the cereal and snack tubs. If you are using the floor for extra storage, clear it. You want this space to appear as large as possible to have the buyer dreaming about how much room they’ll have!

9. Organize your cabinets. Get rid of excess dishes, cups and plastic ware.

While you are in your kitchen, organize and purge the inside of your cabinets. Donate dishes you don’t use. If you have a set of mixed and matched plastic lids and bowls like I did, get rid of them! Organize pan lids and like items in bins. Wipe down the inside of your cabinets with a damp rag. Replace the shelf liner. Organize that junk drawer. Clean out and organize under the sink.

10. Replace all burnt out light bulbs.

This is a great job for your teenagers. Every light bulb in the entire house (inside and out!) needs to be checked. Replace any burnt out ones with fresh bulbs.

11. Turn on lights.

This goes along with the light bulb tip! When you leave your home for a showing, turn on your outside lights (even in the daytime). It makes your home feel more welcoming and bright when the lights are on. Inside my home, I always tried to have one light on in each room, either the big light or a lamp. You’ll want your home to appear welcoming and easy to show.

12. Be the “cool” home.

I always turned on all the ceiling fans before I left for a showing, and I lowered the air conditioning just a little bit. You don’t want your house to the “hot” house. A little bit cooler is always better than being a tad hot.

13. Double check the bathrooms before you leave for showings.

The last rooms I check before leaving for a showing are the bathrooms! I have kids, so this is a must. Ha! Be sure the toilet is flushed (had to be said!) and close all the toilet lids. Make sure you have a fresh toilet paper roll in your bathroom. It just makes it look better to be fully stocked. Make sure the bathroom garbage cans are empty. I keep some new bags in the bottom of my bathroom trash cans to make it easy to change out.

14. Declutter and paint your garage.

Declutter the garage before showing your home. A crammed garage can be a huge turn-off. This is where renting a storage unit would come in handy as well. I have painted every wall in my current home at least three times (some more!), but I had honestly never even thought about painting my garage. Our realtor suggested it, and it has made a huge difference. I actually enjoy going in my garage again. It really looks amazing! A clean, organized and freshly painted garage could be a huge selling point.

15. Take out the trash!

This might seem simple, but don’t forget to take out the trash before a showing. I actually kept our kitchen trash can in our garage while our home was for sale. Yes, it’s a little bit inconvenient, but it did keep the stinky trash out of the house. It was right by the back door as I left. It was easy to grab and throw away in our big trash can on the way out.

16. Keep your hampers empty.

Trust me! No one wants to see your dirty clothes. We kept our hampers empty by putting all the dirty clothes in the washing machine. Each night I would sort them. Wash one color load and one white load and put them away. I wish I were always so on top of the laundry.

17. Have a clean sink.

Dirty dishes are the same as dirty clothes. No one wants to see those either! To make sure I always had a clean sink, I would empty the dishwasher in the morning. Throughout the day, every time we used a dish we would rinse it right then and put it in the dishwasher. I didn’t have to worry about doing a load of dishes last minute. It was always done. Another tip is to dry your sink out using a damp towel when you are finished rinsing dishes. Your sink will shine and hopefully impress a potential buyer.

18. No pets allowed on showing days.

I know we love our dog, but not everyone is an animal lover. I always loaded up our puppy and took him with us when we had a showing. Yes, it’s another inconvenience, but potential buyers will be able to look at your home in peace, and you won’t have to worry about your pet sneaking out when the front door or back gate is opened. And honestly, your home will smell better without animals hanging around (see tip #3).

19. Vacuum and sweep.

Clean floors are a must. Be sure to vacuum carpets and rugs. Sweep underneath tables and underneath furniture.

20. Refresh furniture.

If you have furniture that is old and beaten up, refresh it! Our kitchen table chairs and bench has taken a beating over the years. I spent two days spray painting them with a fresh coat of paint. They looked brand new. It freshened up my whole kitchen and made it look 100% better. I also repainted our entryway bench. Paint is amazing! Don’t be afraid to use it!

21. Add fresh flowers.

Last, but not least, add fresh flowers to your home. It will not only make your home smell amazing, but it will also make your home look and feel great, too.

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