top of page

Want to Avoid the Stress of Getting Your Home Ready to Sell?

Step by step guide to preparing your house to sell faster and for more money.

                                                                Whether this is the first time you are selling                                                                  a home or you’ve sold ten homes, there are                                                                 things to know before listing a home for                                                                         sale. There are many sellers who think the                                                                   home selling process is simple and doesn’t                                                                   take any preparation. This is not true, in                                                                         most cases.


Any friend, family member, colleague, individual or Realtor who claims selling a home is a fun-filled experience is mistaken. The truth is, selling a home can be an inconvenience, create stress and anxiety, and lead to thoughts of uncertainty. These feelings can however be minimized if the proper preparation is taken and well-crafted decisions are made along the way. Before you sell your home, there are several things that you need to know before beginning the journey. 


The selling season is quickly approaching. If you want to take advantage of the season, the time to start is NOW.  Following the below “6-week Listing Preparation Schedule” will not only limit the stress of selling, but will also result in a higher selling offer in less time.

For Sale Sign CM Logo.jpg
Week 1.jpg

WEEK ONE - Get Organized:


When selling a home, you are selling a product and want to highlight the very best characteristics. The challenge for sellers is to be able to recognize which items highlight good characteristics and which highlight bad characteristics. When homeowners are comfortable in their own home, the blemishes become less noticeable; that stain in the carpet or the marks on the wall become part of the home in the eyes of the homeowner.  The homeowner is used to the cabinet door that is misaligned or the burnt out light bulb in the closet, but these are all items that are quite noticeable to a potential buyer. Potential buyers will see these 'comforts' as negatives and will in turn make a low offer, if an offer is made at all. 

·   Make a list of things that need to be addressed both inside and outside the home. Don’t neglect the outside – remember, this will be the first thing people see! 

  • Make a list of the ages of items such as the roof, HVAC, water heater, etc.

  • Compile costs of utilities to provide to a potential buyer

  • Collect any information specific to the house such as manuals for appliances, any repairs that have been done to the house, using the suggested document list below:

  • Roof age & any warranty paperwork, if applicable

  • Furnace age & instruction manual(s)

  • Central air conditioning age & instruction manual(s)

  • Hot water heater age & instruction manual(s)

  • Any included appliance ages & instruction manuals

  • Dates of any home improvement projects, such as, kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, window installation, carpet installation, etc.

  • Any certificate of compliance (permits) that apply, such as, deck permits, shed permits, fence permits, etc.

  • Outstanding mortgage balance (if applicable) & pay-off balance

Week 2.jpg

WEEK 2 – Get Started:


Now that you have a list of things that need attention in the home, it’s time to start getting them completed. If you’re hiring people to do the work it will be important to get that scheduled in an order that makes sense – don’t have the house cleaned and then drywall repaired, the drywall dust will make a mess and it will have been a waste of money having it cleaned. If you have a significant other, determine who is responsible for what item (this will keep frustration and arguments to a minimum).


Week 2 is also the time to determine where you plan to reside after selling. If you plan on buying another home that will require a mortgage, contact a mortgage broker to begin the pre-qualification process. 

Week 3.jpg

WEEK 3 – Finish Up the Big Stuff & Declutter:


By the end of week 3 significant projects should be completed - new flooring where needed, repairs to drywall, electrical, plumbing and so on. This is also the time to declutter; I cannot express enough how important it is to do this step. While you have made your house a beautiful home, potential buyers aren’t interested in seeing your knick-knacks or family portraits; you are selling a product and the buyer needs to visualize their family in the home. This can be one of the hardest parts of the process. This is when it starts to feel empty and not like your home anymore – remember, that’s the point.

Week 4.jpg

WEEK 4 – Punch List and Landscaping:


With all major projects completed, week 4 should be spent on punch-out items such as spackling the holes in the walls from pictures, touching up paint, replacing those burnt out light bulbs. Remember, it’s the little things that matter.


Week 4 is also landscaping week. When a prospective buyer arrives, the very first thing they will see is the outside of the home. The exterior has likely taken a beating over the winter and it is extremely important that the outside looks as good as the inside. Make it obvious that you know how important curb appeal is. 

  • Have flower beds edged and mulched

  • Trim any plants that are left from Fall and put everything in its place.

  • Make sure the entry way to the house is clean and free of clutter

Week 5.jpg

WEEK 5 – Deep Clean & Start Looking

for Your New Home:


In week 5 you will want to do a deep cleaning of the entire house. This isn’t just a vacuum and dust - this means that you clean everything.

The not-so obvious tasks:


    • Inside of appliances

    • Inside cabinets

    • Organize the pantry

    • Remove extra items on counters (it is best to have as little on the kitchen counters as possible. You want potential buyers to see how much counter space there is)

    • Wipe down the baseboards of the cabinets


    • Clean and declutter inside the cabinets

    • Clean behind the toilet

    • Clean all mirrors

    • Clean shower and shower doors

    • Remove all medication from the medicine cabinet


    • Declutter and organize the closets

    • Make sure to have nice linens for the bed and keep beds made

    • Keep personal items to a minimum


    • If your basement is unfinished, it doesn’t have to be perfect but make sure that it is clean and organized. If you use it for storage then have things in their place. Consider using storage bins and stacking them in an orderly fashion

    • If your basement is finished, maintain the cleanliness that you would throughout the rest of the home

  • WINDOWS – clean all windows inside and out (don’t forget the screens)


Week 5 is also a good time to start looking for your new home. At this point you should have your financing in order and should you come across a home that you want to make an offer on you’re in a position to make a reasonable offer. As a general rule I advise my clients against accepting an offer that is contingent upon the sale of another home if it has not yet been listed.

Week 6.jpg

WEEK 6 – Photos and ‘Coming Soon’ Sign


I am a firm believer in hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of the home. Buyers start looking for their next home online and pictures can make a HUGE difference in the amount of people who want to see the house. The goal is to get as many people as possible to see the house within the first couple of weeks of it going on the market. Great pictures are what bring the buyers to the home. Most photographers can have the pictures completed and available within a week. 


                                         By week 6 everything should be repaired and                                                                cleaned so this is the optimal time to have                                                                     pictures taken. If your area allows for it, I am a                                                               fan of placing a ‘coming soon’ sign in the front                                                               yard. This helps get interest brewing and can ramp             up early interest in your property.

At the end of week 6, it goes onto the market.  

Sign with CM Logo Coming Soon.jpg

There is a common misconception that

selling a home is easy, but as you have

read, it can be a lot of work; the key is to

do the work upfront. Like most things in

life, if you take the time to do it right from

the beginning it will make for better results

in the end. Going through this process and

following the recommended 6-week

schedule will help you from feeling

uncertainty, will likely yield a higher offer

price in a shorter amount of time, and will reduce frustrations. Following these recommendations will set you apart from 90% of the other homes on the market.

Are you thinking of selling your home in Central Ohio? If so, we’d be happy to share with you our advice on the ways to prepare your home for the Central Ohio Real Estate Market and also for showings!

Chris Mylin has a unique advantage in the real estate industry as he is actively licensed in both Mortgage Lending and Real Estate Sales. There are many high quality professionals in each industry; however, it is extremely rare that a Realtor understands the intricacies of the mortgage process and conversely the Mortgage Professional understands the intricacies of the real estate transaction. Chris is an expert in both, which offers you as the client a competitive edge.

Sign with CM Logo New Listing.jpg
bottom of page