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Sell Your Home Using This Checklist

After you purchase your first home, it’s probably a big sigh of relief knowing that you did okay. You’ve learned the ins and outs of the buying side and figured out everything you need to know about negotiation and mortgages. Even though that’s just scratching the surface. However, lots of Americans do come to a point in their life where they decide to sell their home. 

The sell side of real estate is a whole different learning process and it may feel frustrating. You’ve spent lots of time learning how to buy a home, just to do it all over again with selling! We’ve put together a checklist for selling your home, so you won’t forget some of the essentials. Let’s get into it.

Find a Top Real Estate Agent

So you’re selling your home and you’re asking yourself the question, “Should I do For Sale by Owner?” (FSBO). It’s a tricky question because doing it yourself may save you money that you would pay a real estate agent. However, reports done last year show that FSBO homes sell for less. FSBO may only be useful if you’re selling to somebody that you know. Otherwise, it’s better to use a real estate agent who’s an expert in your local area. 

Ask real estate agents questions and find out if they would be a good fit for you. Make sure they understand your price target and objective with selling the house. You can also ask them what their office hours are so your communication and schedule aligns with you. Finally, ask real estate agents if they have additional services that could help you add value to your home. Top real estate agents may offer home concierge services which could spare you headaches in the selling process.

Declutter Your Living Space

Selling your home means out with the old in with the new. Declutter your home by organizing items around and cleaning up. You’d be surprised how much roomier your home looks once you start decluttering. Once it’s time for staging your home, a tidy place keeps buyers interested. 

Eighty-two percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. By decluttering your living space just in time for staging events, it welcomes potential buyers into your home. 

Decluttering Tips

  • Wipe up dust with a damp rag
  • Tuck away bathroom items from the counter into medicine cabinets 
  • Organize books and magazines from the coffee table to shelves 
  • Store wardrobes and crowded closet clothes into the basement
  • Use under the bed space for clothes, shoes, and blankets 
  • Clear items on top of the fridge

Depersonalize Your Home

Once you’re all done with cleaning up the clutter, focus on depersonalizing your home! Buyers that visit your home want to see a neutral space. Think of your old home as a clean slate for staging. Home buyers envision themselves in your home and think about decoration ideas. 

Start by removing personalized items such as family photos and any loud objects in the house. Items that are deeply personal to you should be tucked away for now. You can redecorate once you settle into your new living space. 

Hunting prizes, religious decorations, and sports memorabilia are very personalized and won’t appeal to a broad market of buyers. Loud wallpaper, brightly painted walls (think bright pink), and too many fridge decorations take away from a neutral environment. Finally, replace personalized items and furniture with earthy ones such as ferns. Swap family photos, posters, and other wall decor with neutral artwork. 


Smell is emotive and could trigger thoughts and feelings about a potential living space. Think about the best possible smell that welcomes buyers into your home. Something warm, fresh, and subtle will do. Aromas are carefully curated in a place like Starbucks where it welcomes customers inside for an experience. While your home won’t be smelling strongly of coffee, the idea is to create a pleasant scent. Vanilla, honey, or lavender work wonders because they aren’t over the top aromas. 

Use baking soda for removing unpleasant old home smells with everything. You can use your stove too. Boil water with the right scent and let it fill your home with delight. Additionally, you can buy bottles of essential oils and combine them with plants for a natural scent. It’s an easy addition, but an important one for a first impression. 

Additional Tips for Your Checklist

While we covered some essentials for selling your home, there’s plenty of microtasks left. Here’s a few more minor adjustments you should make before selling or staging your home. 

  • Save your Valuables: Use a save for valuable items such as jewelry, family heirlooms, and precious art. Your home is completely open with strangers coming in. You can’t depend on a locked bedroom for your most valuable items.
  • Spotless Kitchen and Bathrooms: Wipe down everything before anybody steps foot in your home. Look for water stains, grease stains, and wipe down your appliances. Clean mirrors from any fingerprints too.
  • Check for Loose Bulbs and Door Handles: Even though these are minor, they still matter. A loose door handle gives the impression that something else will break too. Loose bulbs can break or make your lights flicker which is disruptive during staging.
  • Retouch Surfaces: Getting a fresh coat of paint is always beneficial. But if you’re not touch-up walls and cover scratch marks, scuffs, and dings. You can do easy touch-ups on walls, cabinets, and even doors. It takes away from the to-do list of the buyer.

Sell for Success with a Checklist

When you sell your home, don’t overwhelm yourself with endless tasks. Break up your objectives with a checklist so your selling process is that much smoother. It’s never easy living in a home you love and setting it up for sale. However, remember that it’s time to close ties with your home and open it up to a broad market of buyers. Hopefully this checklist gives you a good sense of what to expect and helps you sell your home!


Brian Burds

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