How to Prep Your Home for Sale: The Ultimate Checklist

Lovely adult couple selling their beautiful home

It’s going to be a jam-packed month but you’ve got this!

If this is your first time here, welcome!  My name is Terri and I‘m a proud North Georgia Mountain resident and your local REALTOR® and owner of Mountain Escape Realty.

Selling isn’t Easy

Selling your house isn’t easy; in fact, moving is categorized as one of life’s most stressful events.  I’ve moved my fair share, and trust me when I say I have so much empathy for you.

If we think about the moving process, it really starts when you make the decision to move, right?  You’re researching where to move to, timelines, logistics, and so on.  It’s enough to make your head spin, or if you’re like me, enough to keep you up at night! On top of all of this, you realize that you need to sell your current home – ouch!

If you’re like most people, you will need to sell your home while living in it and that’s what we’re focusing on today.  How do you go from zero to listing in 30 days while living in your home?

Week By Week Guide to Prepare for Listing of Your Home

In this post we’re going to give you a week by week guide of what you can do to successfully prepare for listing your home and showing it in the best possible light.  Let me just say, the work you put into preparing your home to list can translate directly into a higher purchase price AND fewer days on the market. Yes, please!  The fewer showing you have to put up with and the more money in your pocket, the better, right?!

Our goal with this step by step guide is to make your home as clean, open, and inviting as possible.  While your home is listed you want it to appeal to the masses and to allow potential buyers to envision themselves living there.  We also want you to use this time to build your team of experts to ensure your sale goes off without a hitch.  Ready?

As a quick aside, I am going to be going through this timeline fairly quickly, so to save you from frantically taking notes, we have created a printable checklist.  You can grab that at the end of this post by clicking the link.



Get a Handle on your Belongings

I’m jumping right in, let’s talk about your STUFF.  This week you are going to look  at everything in the entire house and put it into one of three categories.  The categories are as follows:

  1. Things you need to keep AND use while your home is on the market: This includes things like your toothbrush, kitchen supplies, and so on.
  2. Things you want to keep but can be packed now: This may include artwork, seasonal items, valuables, and excess furniture.  Remember you want your home to be as open, neutral, and inviting as possible, and let’s be honest, that giant portrait of your great, great Grandpa staring down from the mantle might be better off packed to go to your next home for now.
  3. Things you don’t want to keep at all: This includes things you want to donate and sell.  Be ruthless! In my experience, decluttering is so liberating!

Get a clear picture of what category each and every item in your house falls into.  You also need to do the same outside your house.  When I say everything, I mean everything!

Conduct Interviews

Next you are going to interview REALTORS®.  We recommend interviewing at least three and getting recommendations from friends, family, and  colleagues.  This needs to be someone you

Plan for Storage

Lastly, in week one, you are going to come up with a plan for storing the items you don’t need right now.  Remember the items from category two, the ones you can pack now to move to your next house, yup those ones. Okay, so you are going to come up with a plan for those items.  Consider renting a storage unit or asking friends or family if you can store these items at their place temporarily.



Start Packing

First things first, you are going to break your home and yard into 7 distinct areas, one for each day of the week.  Each day you are going to pack up the items you don’t need right now and the items you no longer want.

Move Items to Storage

Once you have gone through each area and you have everything you can packed up, you are going to move those items you want to keep into the storage space you arranged in week one.

Donate and Sell

You are also going to donate or sell any items that you don’t want.  When it comes to selling items, I recommend selling them online, on a site like craigslist or other local buy and sell groups.  If you had more time, it may make sense to have a garage sale, but the purpose of this video is to get your home ready in 30 days or less, so we want to get these items out of the house as quickly as possible!

This is going to be a lot of work, I get it!  But if you can stick to this schedule you should be left with only things you want to keep and need to use while the home is listed, by the end of week two.  That is fantastic, pat yourself on the back.


Make Repairs

Now that you’ve got rid of a bunch of stuff you are going to walk around your house and look closely.  Make a list of any items that need to be repaired and make a plan to have them repaired as soon as possible.  If they are repairs you can do yourself, great!  If not, hire a handyman to come out for a few hours.  It’s worth it!

You will also want to make sure that you’ve been properly maintaining your systems. This includes getting your HVAC system serviced if it past due and possibly having someone look at the roof.

Remember, our goal is to make sure your home shows in the best possible light.  We want your home to look well cared for and loved.


Next, you’re going to hire a REALTOR®.  Remember, all the way back in week one when you interviewed agents, well I hope it’s still been in the back of your mind because now you are going to pick one.

It’s time to put pen to paper and start signing your listing agreement.  Go through the process carefully with your agent so that you understand timing, contractual obligations, how they will schedule showings with you, and so on.

Let them know that you will be ready to activate your listing by the end of next week so that they have time to schedule professional photos.  Your REALTOR® is a part of your team, so it is vital that everyone is on the same page and information is flowing freely in both directions.

Ask for Advice

Also, this week, ask your REALTOR® or a Professional Stager if they have any tips on how to make your home show better.  If you have stuck to the plan of decluttering in week two, I bet they will be really impressed!  You can also ask friends and family for their advice.

Plan for Showings

Lastly, in week three, you are going to come up with a plan for showings.  This can be a bit more complicated if you work from home, or have kids or pets.  We get it!

You want to come up with a plan for quickly cleaning the high use areas like the kitchen and bathroom, ensuring that beds are made, clutter is put away, and so on.  You may want to buy a few small baskets that you can hide things in, in the event of a last minute showing.

Come up with a plan that works for you and convey that to your REALTOR®.  If you need at least an hour notice, let your agent know, they can relay that to other agents.  Keep in mind that you want to make your home as easy to show as possible, and you want to leave your home every day in ‘show ready’ condition.

Phewf, that was a whirlwind week, but now we are ready to head into week four.



You are in the home stretch, congratulations! I bet the house is already looking pretty good but now we are going to make it sparkle.  In week 4 you are going to do the following:

Hire a Landscaper

Hire a landscaper to clean up the front and back yard.  Curb appeal can make such a big difference, and overgrown trees can send the wrong message.  Get everything trimmed up and looking fresh. In Arizona, this includes getting your rocks blown out and even topped up if you have bare spots.

Hire Professional Cleaner

You are also going to hire a professional cleaner to do a deep clean, and I mean a DEEP clean.  We’re talking flooring, grout, windows, window coverings, light fixtures, and everything in between. Top to bottom, inside and out.

Get Photos

Now that your house is pristine have your REALTOR® get professional photos.

Complete Your Documents

You will need to prepare your Seller Property Disclosure Statement, and review the listing before it goes live.  Additionally, reach out to your home insurance company and request a claims history or CLUE report.  Once you receive it, forward it over to your REALTOR®.  Trust me, you’ll thank me when you don’t have to chase this down once a contract comes in.

Get a Home Warranty

Request that your REALTOR® put a listing Home Warranty in place.  Many companies will do this for free and it can protect you in the event that something happens while the property is listed. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s a free safety net!

Activate the Listing

You have accomplished SO much at this point and you are by all accounts ready to activate the listing and start accepting showings.  Remember, you will need to give a house key to your REALTOR®.  We also recommend that you invite your friends and neighbors over for a mixer or open house, they may just know the person who wants to buy your house!

You can do this!

Okay, so we know that was A LOT to take in, and it probably feels like a mountain to climb.  We strongly recommend that you don’t put any unnecessary pressure on yourself or your family during this time.  Moving is stressful enough.

If you don’t need to list in 30 days or less, then simply extend this timeline in a way that suits you.  Give yourself grace and be patient.  There are bound to be bumps along the way.

Lean on your support system and work your way through the checklist one item at a time.  You can do this!

So, there you have it!  What do you think?  Are you ready to list your home in 30 days or less?

Read the Importance of Working With a Local Relator in Georgia


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