With many contractors reporting that their schedules are backed up, it’s essential to take stock of the professionals you may need to hire — the earlier, the better. Refer to this list to keep track of "who I need to call again?"
Arrange for a dumpster rental if you have an excess amount of items to clear out.
Make plans to arrange for any of the following services you’ll need assistance with: landscaper, paint crew, window washer, carpet cleaning service, etc.
Hire a professional whole-home cleaning service. Schedule the service to come after you’ve decluttered and before the house is
You’ll need a real estate attorney to represent your interests. A real estate attorney may draft and review closing documents,
transfer property title, resolve legal barriers, and mediate contract disputes. You can usually arrange for this after your house goes on the market.
Repaint any rooms that are bold or non-neutral colors to light neutrals.
Get rid of most, if not all, personal photos and knick-knacks.
Remove any storage containers (replace them with baskets if needed).
Replace broken blinds and tattered curtains.
Declutter all rooms until the floors are completely clear and only essential furniture items are in view. Think the bed, the nightstands, and a lamp for bedrooms; a desk, a chair, and a lamp in the office. Simple is better.
Have the windows washed; hire professionals if your home is two stories.
Deep clean everything, including vents, fan blades, and ceiling corners.
Shampoo the carpets; hire a professional or rent a machine from the hardware store.
Create a system to quickly conceal or put away pet items such as food, water bowls, and litter
Take care of any lingering odors at the root cause, so the house smells neutral and fresh.
Clear everything from the countertops.
After clearing your counters, put one thing back (think a bowl of fruit or a vase).
Remove all magnets and notes from the fridge.
Remove area rugs from under the sink and in front of the fridge.
Replace colored or patterned towels with fluffy white ones.
Put away any throw rugs.
Remove all toiletries from countertop surfaces. Pare down to essentials in the shower/ tub and toss out any old soap bottles.
Add optional final touches: Roll up a few white towels and set them at the corner of your tub with a new package of spa soaps or bubble baths.
Trim back bushes, so they don’t touch exterior walls or block windows.
Prune tree limbs to frame your house and avoid blocking the view.
Add fresh pine straw or mulch to flower beds.
Remove debris, hoses, yard art, and other clutter from the yard.
Spruce up flower beds and place a couple of flower pots by the front door.
Make sure your front door hardware is in good shape; repaint the door if needed.
Sweep the entryway and remove debris from exterior light fixtures.
Power wash concrete.
Hose down exterior walls; exercise care if pressure washing.
Listing and marketing
Your house now looks amazing, and you’re ready to market it and invite buyers to check it out. In this checklist section, we’ll cover listing and promotion — much of which your agent will spearhead.
Fill out any listing-related forms requested by your real estate agent. This may include client intake paperwork and filling out your property's known features and details.
Provide two working front door keys to the agent; a good time to do this is at the photography session.
Review instructions from your agent on preparing for the home to be photographed and follow recommendations for the shoot.
Review drafts of the MLS listing provided by your agent for accuracy. Provide recommended changes to property description and details.
Gather available documentation related to the home, such as warranties and manuals.
Property listing is launched to the public.
Keep interior and exterior in showing condition while the house is marketed in additional ways, such as through open houses and broker-to-broker promotion.
Discuss buyer and buyer’s agent objections with your agent and make home presentation and marketing adjustments as needed. If necessary, negotiate an offer, provide a counteroffer, and sign the purchase agreement.
In this next section of our checklist, we address the main steps involved in closing the sale after the house goes under contract with a buyer.
Complete the home inspection within five days to a week of signing the purchase agreement.
Negotiate inspection items (if applicable).
Complete the home appraisal by a third-party independent appraiser (necessary if your buyer uses a mortgage).
Negotiate the appraisal results (if applicable).
Attorneys “fact check” documents for errors.
The closing attorney will clear title; resolve any title issues necessary to close.
Transfer ownership of your home to the buyer at settlement.
Funds are disbursed to the seller and other parties involved.
Review your settlement statement for a complete list of fees and credits for the sale.
Documents and paperwork
It will be handy to have all the documents we've mentioned in one place so you can keep them organized throughout the process.
Listing agreement (contract with your real estate agent)
Listing and marketing materials (printed for showings)
Purchase agreement (contract with a buyer, including the agreed price and terms of the deal)
Documentation of past upgrades (to provide to the appraiser and for tax purposes)
Warranties, manuals, and maintenance records (to pass on to the new owners)
Settlement statement (an itemized list of fees and credits summarizing the finances of the transaction)