Prepare your house to sell

After you've made basic repairs, the task of selling your home boils down to making the house as clean, clutter-free, and inviting as possible. Now's the time to make cosmetic improvements: Paint a dingy room, rearrange furniture, hang up artwork, or freshen your front entrance with flowers.

Make sure your agent has plenty of brochures and business cards available to set out on the entry table or on the kitchen counter. The hard part will be keeping up appearances as long as your house is for sale. Go through this checklist at least every other day to make sure that your home is tidy.

Front entrance

  • Clean doors and windows
  • Sweep sidewalk
  • Polish doorknob
  • Shake out doormat
  • Water container flowers (replace if necessary)
  • Clean doors and windows
  • Keep the lawn and landscaping trimmed

Entryway

  • Clean doors and windows
  • Mop floor, shake out rug, vacuum carpeting
  • Water container flowers or plants
  • Dust shelves or entry table
  • Tidy up closet

Living room, family room

  • Stow away newspapers, magazines, books, games, toys, and videos
  • Straighten out coffee table, bookshelves, and other areas
  • Mop floor or vacuum rugs
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture; wipe down leather or vinyl
  • Dust surfaces (including TV screen)
  • Sweep fireplace
  • Wipe down ceiling fan blades
  • Water houseplants

Kitchen

  • Mop or vacuum floor
  • Clean appliances
  • Wipe countertops, cabinets
  • Clean sink
  • Stow away kitchen sponge and dish towels
  • Open windows or run fan to remove cooking odors

Bathrooms

  • Wipe wet shower stalls and bathtubs
  • Mop floors
  • Put out fresh towels
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Clean sinks, mirrors and faucets
  • Stow away laundry

Bedrooms

  • Make beds
  • Mop floors or vacuum rugs
  • Stow away shoes, laundry, clothes, books or toys
  • Open curtains or shades
  • Tidy up closet

Home office

  • Straighten out desk and bookshelves
  • Stow away files
  • Mop floor or vacuum rugs
  • Dust surfaces, including computer screen
  • Polish cabinets and woodwork

Basement

  • Clear clutter blocking access to furnace, electrical box or laundry room
  • Sweep stairs