The Complete Home Seller Checklist
Want to sell your house, but not sure where to start? You’re not alone. Preparing your house to sell is a big undertaking that can feel overwhelming at times. There is a lot more that goes into getting your house ready to sell than simply putting the “for sale” sign on the lawn and waiting for offers to roll in.
From calculating the worth of your home to preparing for a home inspection, IKO’s home seller’s checklist and timeline is sure to keep you on track and calm as you work through the steps to sell your home.
Table of Contents:
- Find the Right Real Estate Agent
- Realistically Calculate Your Home’s Worth
- Complete Any Major Necessary Repairs and Maintenance
- Declutter Interior Spaces
- Paint Interior Walls
- To Renovate or Not To Renovate …That Is the Question
- Deep Clean the Interior of Your Home
- Tidy Up Landscaping & Hardscaping
- Hire a Staging Company & Photographer
- Assess Your Roof’s Condition
- Look for Any Foundation Cracks
- Check for Wood Rot
- Window Condition
- Gutter Check
- Proper Drainage
- Give Your Utilities a Little Extra Attention
- Clean Appliances & Ensure Functionality
- Flush Toilets, Run Faucets & Check Fans
- Replace Lightbulbs & Faulty Door Handles
How To Get Your House Ready To Sell: Two to three Months Prior
Thinking of selling your home and actually selling your home are two very different things. While it may be tempting to list your home as quickly as possible (especially in a hot market), there are a lot of items we recommend checking off your home seller’s checklist prior to hitting the market.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
Selling a house can be very stressful for a homeowner, but having the right real estate agent to help you through the process can reduce those stress levels significantly. The process of selling your home will involve a lot of communication with your real estate agent, so be sure to select one that you get along with and trust.
Realistically Calculate Your Home’s Worth
This may seem obvious, but it is a really important step for a house seller! Look at listings of homes for sale that are comparable to yours in both age and condition. Consider the location of your home, as well as any upgrades that have (or haven’t) been completed. As you start thinking about selling your home, it will be helpful to understand these aspects of the market before selecting a listing price alongside your real estate agent.
Complete Any Major Necessary Repairs & Maintenance
Completing repairs and maintenance is one of the most important things to do before selling your home. Whether we like it or not, most home buyers take first impressions pretty seriously.
Missing roof shingles or cracked paint may make or break a sale for you, so take the time you need to properly prepare your home to sell. Here are some of the more significant repair and maintenance tasks we recommend completing prior to listing your home for sale.
Have Your Roof Cleaned
Roof maintenance and repairs are at the top of the home selling checklist for a reason: It is one of the first things potential buyers (and inspectors) will check out. Even if your roof is not in need of repair, you would be surprised to learn that a dirty roof may lead your potential buyers to think it needs to be replaced. A dirty roof can give off the impression that the home is run-down.
If you decide your roof could use a cleaning, a professional trained to work at heights should be hired to perform the work.
Repaint Your Home Exterior if Needed
Again, first impressions are everything when you are preparing your house to sell. This holds true with the roof and the exterior siding. If you have any chipped, cracked or worn paint, you may want to consider a fresh paint job before listing your home.
It will increase the curb appeal almost instantly! If you do decide to repaint the exterior as you prepare to sell your house, be sure to repair or replace any broken or missing siding as well.
Restain Your Deck if Needed
As you make your way through your home seller checklist, you may notice that your wooden deck has seen better days. If this is the case, and the weather conditions allow for it, consider sanding and applying a fresh coat of stain to give it a revived look.
Declutter Interior Spaces
Decluttering your home as you get ready to list will make it more attractive to potential buyers. Many house sellers will rent a storage unit in the months leading up to getting their home ready to list so they have a place to store personal items, valuables and other household items that take up precious space on countertops, in the bathrooms, the bedrooms and even the garage.
Paint Interior Walls
There is no better way to give a room a quick facelift than adding a fresh coat of paint! Walls see a lot of wear and tear, and personal color preferences do not always give off the best first impressions to potential home buyers. As part of your home seller checklist, consider replacing dark wall colors with fresh, neutral colors to brighten up your home.
To Renovate or Not To Renovate …That Is the Question
While you may want to apply a fresh coat of paint to interior walls to give it a bit of a facelift, completing extensive renovations prior to selling your home is a very personal decision. National average remodeling costs, and recuperating those costs, vary drastically based on the extent of the project. Kitchen and bathroom renovations can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000, and typically have a 55 to 70% return on investment. So, it really depends on your financial situation and the current condition of your home.
Home Selling Tips: 30 Days Prior
When you are getting your house ready to sell, a general rule of thumb is to try to make potential buyers wonder whether anyone is actually living in it during showings. We all have our personal tastes, but you will appeal to buyers more if they can picture themselves in the home. You can do this by removing personal collection items from shelves, family photos from walls, eclectic decorative items and furniture of a particular taste.
Deep Clean the Interior of Your Home
If you’re getting your home ready to sell, make sure that it is pretty much immaculate! When you think you’re done cleaning, clean some more! From the floors to the kitchen cupboard doors, all the way to the grout in your shower tiles. A clean, odor-free home (we’re looking at you, pet owners!) will give off the best possible impression to potential buyers.
This is a home seller checklist item you definitely do not want to skimp on. If it feels like too much to take on by yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning service to make regular visits to your home while it is on the market.
Tidy Up Landscaping & Hardscaping
Well-cared-for landscaping and hardscaping will help increase the curb appeal of your home. Weed and sweep all walkways and patios, and trim back unruly shrubs. Ensure that any trees near your home do not touch or extend beyond the roofline, tidy up garden beds, add a fresh layer of mulch and keep your lawn freshly mowed.
Hire a Staging Company & Photographer
When you are preparing to sell your home, you may be tempted to skip this last step prior to listing. Staging and hiring a professional photographer may seem like unnecessary expenses, but they will really help you and your home stand out from the rest of the market.
Professional photographers know how to get the best angles and generally know how to present your home in its best possible light. Also, a professional staging company will help to ensure the interior of your home looks as modern and welcoming as possible.
Home Inspection Checklist for Sellers
Most home inspections happen after the house seller has found a buyer and received a conditional offer. With that said, completing your own preliminary inspection before even listing your home may save you a few headaches. This home inspection checklist for sellers will help you prepare prior to listing your house.
Exterior Home Inspection Checklist for Sellers
One of the first things an inspector will do is inspect the condition of your roof. If you have any missing shingles or damage to flashing or fascia, be sure to have those issues repaired prior to a home inspection.
Many house sellers also wonder if replacing their roof altogether will increase the value of their home. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2022 Cost vs. Value Report, the average cost to replace a roof with asphalt shingles is $31,535. You can expect a new shingled roof to add nearly $20,000 to the value of your home though ($18,780 to be precise).
Considering a metal roof instead? The average cost, according to the annual report, is $51,436 with a $28,196 return on investment (the value you can expect it to add to your home). From a purely numbers perspective, if you know you are going to sell your house and decide to replace the roof prior to listing your home, an asphalt shingle roof will provide a better return on your investment. Metal roofs may last longer than some asphalt shingle roofs, but, as you can see, the initial investment is significantly higher than asphalt shingles.
So, should you get your roof repaired or replaced prior to selling? That depends on several factors including the level of damage and local laws. If you’re not sure, consider having a professional roofer come to your home to assess the situation or speak to a lawyer to clarify local requirements.
Home inspectors will typically look for foundation cracks, leaks, settling or sinking foundations, or bowed walls during an inspection. The cost to repair these issues varies widely and is specific to the level of damage. If you note any foundation cracks that are wider than one-eighth of an inch, be sure to have a professional check them out prior to listing your home.
Wood Rot (windows frames, door frames, fence, deck, etc.)
If you note any rot in wooden window frames, door frames, fencing or deck boards, be sure to repair or replace them prior to listing your home for sale. While they may seem like surface issues, they are prospective problems that a home inspector is likely to note.
Having your gutters cleaned by a professional on a regular basis (at least twice a year) is a great practice to get into as a homeowner in general, but if you haven’t had it done in a while, completing this task as part of your home seller checklist is a good idea! Inspectors may take note of damaged or clogged gutters.
If you have any standing water during any kind of heavy precipitation, you may want to have a professional assess the grading on your property as you are getting your house ready to sell.
Interior Home Inspection Checklist for Sellers
Give Your Utilities a Little Extra Attention
Utilities, like your roof, are something that potential buyers may scrutinize because they can be expensive to fix or replace. At a minimum, make sure that you replace your furnace filter and AC filter, check the temperature of your water heater and make sure that your electrical panel is labeled correctly.
Clean Appliances & Ensure Functionality
Been meaning to replace that stove burner and clean the oven for ages? If you are thinking of selling your home, now is the time! Something as simple as a faulty burner may make potential buyers request to have the appliances replaced prior to purchase.
Flush Toilets, Run Faucets & Check Fans
Home inspectors will keep an eye out for things like water pressure in showers and sinks, and ensure that all toilets function properly. Also, they will likely run your bathroom fans and ceiling fans.
Replace Lightbulbs & Faulty Door Handles
A wiggly door handle or missing lightbulb may seem like something small, but it is the little things that make both home inspectors and potential buyers wonder about the bigger aspects of your home. Some simple and affordable fixes can make a world of difference when selling a house!
Tips for Selling Your Home: A Wrap-up
As you can tell by this home seller’s checklist, there are a lot of moving pieces that go into preparing to sell your home. With that said, the most important home selling tip to remember is not to get overwhelmed. If you give yourself enough time prior to putting your home on the market, and you have a plan, you can ensure that all of the items on this home selling checklist are completed without too much stress.