23 Things You Should Do Before Selling Your House that Most Homeowners Forget

Small Projects and Repairs
Cleaning
Decoration and Design
By Contractors.com Team June 15, 2021

We all love the sanctuary, warmth, and security our homes provide. But at some point, it’s time to move on. Maybe you’ve found your next career, and it’s waiting for you on the other side of the country, or perhaps you just need a change of scenery — a change of pace, and a change of city. But before you can embark on your journey to a new home, there’s one big obstacle to clear: selling your house

Selling a house is a bit more complicated than just putting a “FOR SALE” sign in the front yard and seeing who bites. There are a whole bunch of little to-dos that need to be done first when preparing for open house, and some homeowners tend to forget them. Fortunately, the things you should do before selling your house are easy to do and very beneficial. Complete these 23 steps, and you’ll have the best chance of success during open house. This will also give you the best chance of getting the most value for your property.   

Pre- Open House Checklist

1. Remove Clutter

The quick pace of life means we often go blind to how our house can become cluttered, dirty, and unattractive to potential buyers. So as a first step towards freshening things up in your home, you’ll need to make some home improvements. Decluttering your home is one of the first things you should start with. This can be a difficult task at first, but there are many online resources and even professional organizers that can help you declutter. In general, you want to get rid of or effectively store the things you seldom or never use, and only keep the essential everyday items near at hand. 

The First Step In Preparing to Sell Your Home Is to Declutter Thoroughly

The First Step In Preparing to Sell Your Home Is to Declutter Thoroughly

2. Spring Cleaning

Once you’ve reduced clutter, it’s time to spruce things up with some spring cleaning. For this step, it’s recommended that you avoid shortcuts like certain cleaning myths that don’t actually work. The goal of spring cleaning is to make everything sparkle like it did on the first day you moved in. You can hire a professional cleaner to help you out, or do it yourself with some household cleaning products, some helping hands, and a checklist.

3. Make Your Windows and Doors Shine

Be sure to thoroughly clean your doors and windows, as well as any sliding patio doors you may have. You want to make sure you get rid of any fingerprints, clean out the window sills, and make the glass panes shine. Be sure to clean them on the outside as well as the inside. These openings are one of the most prominent details of any home, so if they’re dirty that will be noticeable. 

How to Prepare Your Home to Shine for Buyers

How to Prepare Your Home to Shine for Buyers

4. Don’t Forget Your Bathrooms

It’s no secret that this is the one part of your house that gets dirty the fastest. Be sure to give it a thorough cleaning so that it is free of stains and any unpleasant odors. Baking soda works wonders for both of those tasks, as does bleach.

5. Pay Special Attention to the Kitchen

This is a central part of everyday life in most homes, so it’s important to make it look good. Of course, you could go through a kitchen remodel, but you can also get the job done with just a few alterations. Just clean off your counters, take away appliances like toasters and coffee machines (since these tend to show signs of use), and make sure any stains or grease smudges are rubbed out.

The Ultimate Open House Checklist

The Ultimate Open House Checklist

6. Purge the Fridge

Be sure to also take some time to go through your fridge. Again, you’re going for a sort of hotel feel, so you don’t want yesterday’s leftovers, last week’s milk, or other neglected items sitting in your fridge. It should be empty save for some new products that you just got from the store. Be sure to remove anything personal like family pictures or magnets from family vacations. Again, this is all about allowing the buyer to see themselves living in this home. Be sure to fill your home with plenty of water and snacks for your guests so that everything feels even more inviting. 

7. Make Some Repairs

As the years go by, your house might get chipped walls, cracked baseboards, scratched counters, and other imperfections. So, be sure to touch up those details so that your house looks as pristine as possible. Come open house your minor home improvements will ensure that your house is in the best condition possible. 

Things to Do Before Selling Your Homes that Some Homeowners Forget

Things to Do Before Selling Your Homes that Some Homeowners Forget

8. Depersonalize

A visitor on open house day comes in and plays make-believe. They begin to try to imagine themselves and their family in this new space. The illusion is immediately broken by items that may be too specific to you and your family. This is also as much about security and safety as it is about attracting buyers. In essence, you want your house to be de-personalized, sort of like a hotel room. This will allow a buyer to see themselves living and working in this space. So, as cute as crayon drawings hanging on the fridge door is for everyone, it's going to break the illusion that your home is up for grabs.

Depersonalizing Your Home Shouldn't Necessarily Rid It of Style

Depersonalizing Your Home Shouldn't Necessarily Rid It of Style

9. Remove Valuables

Beyond depersonalizing, you also want to keep anything valuable or sensitive away from prying eyes. So, stow valuables, as well as any documents containing sensitive information, away and out of sight. As you depersonalize and collect special items, you may find yourself needing to hide a significant amount of stuff. If you don't have enough disappearing cabinets at home, consider asking friends or family who live nearest to borrow some clutter space in their homes for the weekend. 

10. Increase Your Curb Appeal

Of course, none of this interior work will be as appreciated if the exterior of your house has been neglected. After all, a buyer must be drawn to your house by its inviting appearance. So mow the lawn, revamp your front entrance, and invest in some elegant exterior lighting so your house appears more inviting. Simple measures like these can even increase your home’s value.

Curb Appeal Has the Potential to Make It Or Break It for Many Buyers

Curb Appeal Has the Potential to Make It Or Break It for Many Buyers

11. Revamp Your Deck

Unfortunately, some homeowners choose to neglect their wooden decks, even though it’s an easy DIY home improvement project. If an open house guest sees a dilapidated deck they’ll begin to wonder what else has been neglected by the previous owner. Within just a day you can restore a wooden deck to its former glory with just a pressure washer and some elbow grease.  

Home Staging

Now that your home is all kitted out to maximize curb appeal, there are a few extra things you need to do in the hours before your open house to complete your home staging efforts.  

12. Add Some Biophilic Touches

Now that everything has been cleaned up and cleared away, it’s time to add some color and vibrancy. You don’t want your blank spaces to be too barren. The whole point is to give your house an inviting feel, so add some fresh flowers or plants on tables. 

Secret Touches to Make Your Home As Welcoming as Possible When Staging

Secret Touches to Make Your Home As Welcoming as Possible When Staging

13. Turn On All The Lights In Your Home

When staging a house, you never want to give the impression that you are hiding something. For that reason, keep all the lights on in your home so that guests feel free to explore every corner of the home. After all, you want your guests to notice all the work you’ve put into making the house spic and span. If you have any lights that are burnt out, have the bulbs replaced.  

14. Open Your Windows

In that same vein, open your windows if the open house is during the daytime. This will let in lots of fresh and plenty of natural light, both of which are great for home staging because they will make your place feel airy and warm. 

Important Items to Tick off Before Opening Your House for Sale

Important Items to Tick off Before Opening Your House for Sale

15. Secure Dangerous Items

If you have swords, horns, or other potentially hazardous items on display, and furthermore, if you keep firearms, be sure that they are inaccessible. Especially in the case of decor, many may not consider these potentially dangerous items as a cause for concern. But with so many people coming in and out of your home, it’s best if there are a few hazards out in the open as possible. It’s safer and will give you peace of mind. 

16. Store Your Toiletries

Take your toothpaste, bars of soap, lotions, etc., and put them up in your medicine cabinet or somewhere else out of sight. This is part of depersonalizing the space since nobody wants to look at somebody else’s hygiene items. Also, be sure to have some liquid hand soap so that your open house guests don’t have to use the family soap bar.

17. Organize Toys

It’s safe to say your kids won’t be happy if you “declutter” (throw away) their toys, so, instead, organize them thoroughly. This is actually a great opportunity to get your kids involved in selling your house, and will also help make it look even more presentable for the open house. You can get your kids to store their toys in cubbies and to put bigger toys in neat rows. Try to convince your kids to donate some of their toys to charity, which is always better than throwing them away. 

Don't Forget to Organize Your Kid's Toys Before Open House

Don't Forget to Organize Your Kid's Toys Before Open House

18. Clear Some Walkways

This is another small home improvement that makes a big difference. When it comes to home staging, making sure your home is as open as possible is important. Ideally, you want all the hallways and passageways to be absolutely clear so that guests can roam freely while they explore. That means that any furniture that could potentially get in the way should be removed at least temporarily and you should also consider elevating any floor decor you may have. 

19. Take Out the Trash (and keep it out)

It’s better to keep your trash cans out of sight to add to the aura of elegance you’re trying to create. If you don’t have any place to hide trash cans, just be sure that they are empty save for a newly put garbage bag.  

20. Empty Your Clothes Hampers

As with your toiletries, it's better if your guests don’t see masses of unorganized dirty laundry overflowing from hampers. Even if they’re not overflowing, making sure they’re empty in time for the open house will help maintain fresh and clean air in every room. Since you presumably will still need to use your laundry room during open house days, be sure to keep dirty clothes hampers out of sight. As for clothes fresh from the washer and dryer, organize and store them in neat little hampers until you can put them away in your closet.  

Things to Remember to Do Before Open House

Things to Remember to Do Before Open House

21. Keep Pets Out

Even if he has his own corner, Fido most probably loves to spend time in your house where it's cool and smells of food. But come open house day, it’s best your furry friends stay out in the fresh air. This is because, unfortunately, not everyone is an animal lover.  Some people are allergic to dogs and/or cats, and many may find the smell they leave behind to be quite unfamiliar or unpleasant. So keep your pets out of the house when open house guests come by, and maybe buy an air freshener or two.

22. Refresh Furniture

Over the course of preparing for an open house, you might discover that your once beautiful furniture suite has become worn with the years. Instead of buying a whole new range of furniture, refresh your furniture with a fresh coat of paint and some varnish. It only takes an evening to do this, and it will make your tables and chairs look much better. If it’s your cushion fabrics that are showing signs of aging then what you might need is a weekend, but reupholstering is also an upgrade that doesn’t require too much effort. 

How Small Touch Ups Can Make A Big Difference When Selling Your House

How Small Touch Ups Can Make A Big Difference When Selling Your House

23. Keep it Cool

An important part of open house etiquette is ensuring that your guests are comfortable as they explore your house. So be sure to keep your house cool during the open house period. Have your air conditioning system on and run ceiling fans a few hours in advance so that everything is nice, aerated, and cool. Err on the side of keeping your house cooler than usual, since that’s better than having it uncomfortably hot.

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team