A first impression creates a lasting impression, and can make a huge difference in how well a property fares on the market.

Sellers who prepare their homes—inside and out—before they put them on the market are the ones who have quicker sales and receive top dollar. It is estimated that more than half of all houses are sold before the buyers even get out of their vehicle.

At a minimum, everything a potential buyer might notice about a home and yard should be in working order and well maintained.


  • Replace burned-out light bulbs
  • Keep lawn mowed, watered, and raked
  • Trim shrubs, weed the garden, and plant flowers
  • Clean windows (inside and out)
  • Store toys and equipment out of sight
  • Paint or touch up house
  • Repair damaged trim and cracked panes of glass
  • Clean out gutters
  • Stack firewood neatly
  • Park extra cars away from the home
  • Sweep or shovel front walkway
  • Replace broken doorbells and fountains
  • Clean windows and siding
  • Replace missing shingles


  • Depersonalize your home by removing photographs, etc.
  • Remove unnecessary furniture and clutter
  • Repaint rooms in neutral tones
  • Fix leaky faucets, squeaky doors, and broken appliances
  • Clean carpets, windows, and cabinets
  • Entryways, bathrooms, and kitchen should shine
  • Remove cobwebs and dust
  • Organize closets and attics
  • Replace furnace filter
  • Empty trash, recycle bin, and litter box

☞ Planning Ahead

Sellers often have months to prepare their home for sale. With this in mind, you may have more options available. This extra time allows improvement expenses to be spread out and time for more elaborate plans. Whether the listing period is a week or six months, you will maximize your home’s marketability by investing in a few well-chosen improvements.