Getting your Home Ready for Listing

“Respondents ranked cleanliness (51%) as more important than scents/odors (22%), style of decor (13%), furnishings (6%), and the home’s architecture (1%) as to what makes the most positive impact on a potential home buyer.” - Brian Sansoli VP for SDA

“The main reason to clean is that buyers will pay more for a house that they feel has been well maintained.” - Dian Hymer Author of The Completed Home Buyer’s Guide

“A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.” - National Association of Realtors

“The No. 1 Step you can take, according to a recent survey of 500 real estate agents, is cleaning the place from top to bottom. Cleaning has ranked as the top home improvement suggested by realty professionals ever since HomeGain began asking the question in 2003. In the latest survey, the agents said, spending $400 on cleaning is likely to gain sellers $2,000 more at closing. That's a 400% return on investment.” - HomeGain poll

Our goal is that your home sells fast. The faster it sells, the less work you will have to put into appealing to multiple buyers. It is best to do a thorough cleaning before your first showing and our hope is that will be the only time you have to clean. Here is our advice room by room on how to prepare to list your home. 

The Outdoors

  • Pick up after your pets.

  • Hose down or wipe outdoor furniture.

  • Sweep deck and patio areas to get rid of all cobwebs.

  • Wipe down the exterior of the front door and outdoor lighting.

  • Pressure wash house and patios.

  • Trim low-lying tree branches & overgrown shrubs.

  • Trim back any shrubs that block access to electrical panels or crawl space access in preparation for the home inspector.

  • Blow off driveway & sidewalks of any debris or leaves.

  • Consider hiring a landscaper if yard feels bare or overgrown.

  • Keep porches and patios clear of any clutter (empty flower pots, old newspapers, toys)  



When placing decorative items, keep it simple & add a variety of texture & height. Use groups of odd numbers like the 3 lanterns pictured above, all varying in height. With artwork, go for one large statement piece versus a collection of small pieces. 


Even with surfaces that you use everyday, limit the items that are visible. Keep it to only things that are also appealing to the eye. Such as storing your makeup brushes in a pretty vase or glass and keeping all perfumes & everyday jewelry on a tray in order to define the space. 


By using an outdoor rug along with comfortable pillows & cushions. The front porch has the feeling of an additional living space. This makes the house feel larger than it is. 


The Entire house

  • Remove or replace built-in items that you are not wanting to be included in the sale of the home. This way buyers don't expect to keep what you don't want included in the sale, such as light fixtures or bathroom mirrors.

  • Paint any loud colored rooms a neutral color.

  • Address any doors that creak, or drawers that jam.

  • Dust vents and ceiling fan blades.

  • Wipe down walls, baseboards, and trim work.

  • Clean windows & window sills.

  • Clean all lamps and light fixtures.

  • Wash all trash cans inside and out.

  • Remove all signs of pets. (beds, food, toys, litter boxes, etc.) This is another big source of smell. 

  • Remove all unnecessary clutter (mail, magazines, etc.)

  • Trash or donate items you don’t need anymore. This will help the packing process when you are ready to move and make your home feel bigger



  • Shine sink & scrub drain area (this can be a source of odors) Use a lemon wedge in garbage disposals or rub around drain area of sink to produce shine and a fresh smell.

  • Make sure all dishes are clean and put away.  

  • Clean stove top, burners, drip pans and hood from all built up grease and food.

  • Clear countertops of all clutter and wipe clean daily. 

  • Wipe down all appliances and cabinet/drawer faces.

  • Clean refrigerator inside and out and vacuum vent. (this can be another source of odor)

  • Go through and clear out expired food in your pantry. Consolidate and straighten items. Again, you want each space to feel larger and organization is what does the trick.


Clear counters give the impression there is plenty of counter space to work with. When appliances such as toasters and blenders clutter the counters, your kitchen looks smaller than it actually is.


  • Make your bed

  • Put away laundry

  • Keep nightstand clear of clutter (1-3 items only) 

  • Rotate clean bedding and sheets. You want to keep the room smelling fresh and clean. 

  • Organize your closet. Even closets are important when showing your home. Buyers like to open closet doors to see the size of the storage space and if it is overflowing with unfolded clothing, it gives the impression that there is not ample storage in the home. Go ahead & get a jump start on your packing & pack away out of season clothing to create more space in your closet.






  • Hide away personal items. No one needs to see what face wash or toothpaste you use.

  • Empty wastebaskets.

  • Neatly fold all towels. If towels are displayed, make them all the same color. 

  • Deodorize and sanitize toilet area (replace seat if necessary)

  • Remove mold and stains from the shower head, curtain, and tub-surround.

If you have any additional questions or would like specific advice on exactly how to do this in your own home please just ask.  I, Melody would be happy to come to your home and give input on design basics, paint colors, or furniture layout that will maximize the appeal of your home.