PREPARING A HOME'S EXTERIOR TO SELL
Because we're so used to seeing our own homes, it's easy to overlook deficiencies. Use this checklist to assess your home through the eyes of a perspective buyer.  
House Exterior
Paint in good condition.
Shutters on straight.
Gutter and downspouts clean and functioning.
Downspouts draining away from foundation.
All exterior lights working.
Light fixtures around entry clean.
Doorbell button clean and functioning.
Door thresholds and jams in good condition with no water damage or rot.
Garage door in good condition and operating smoothly.
Roof
Shingles in good condition with none missing or curling.
Chimney mortar tight.
Flashing secure, leak free and tight.
Windows
Windows open and close easily.
No cracked panes.
No condensation between sealed panes.
Caulking and paint in good condition.
All storm windows in place.
Landscaping and Grounds
Lawn condition good.
Grass mowed.
Edges trimmed.
Fences intact and secure.
Trees and shrubs trimmed away from house.
Dead trees, tree limbs and plants removed.
Planting beds maintained, cleared of weeds and mulched.
Walkways clean and in good repair.
Driveway clean and in good repair and asphalt driveway sealed.
 
PREPARING A HOME'S INTERIOR TO SELL
The condition of kitchens and baths are of high interest to buyers so they are listed first. Use this checklist to assess your home through the eyes of a new buyer.

Kitchen
Counters free of clutter.
Top and front of refrigerator clear.
Sink clean with no leaks.
All appliances work.
Range hood, filter and ventilator operable and free of grease and odor.
Cabinets free of excess storage and neatly arranged.
Drawer and cabinet hardware working.

Bathroom
No loose or broken tiles.
Tile surround and grout clean and sparkling.
Joints caulked.
Free of mildew.
Faucets operable and not leaking.
Sink and tub stains removed.
Counter free of clutter.
Clean towels out.
Shower curtain clean, bright and fresh.
No peeling wallpaper.
Lights and exhaust fan operable.
Drawer and cabinet hardware working.
Floor clean.

All Rooms
Eliminate bad odors. Get someone that doesn't live in your home to give you feedback on pet odors, smoking, musty smells in basement, etc.
Unnecessary furniture removed.
Furniture placed to best show room size.
Switch plates clean and free of fingerprints.
Light fixtures and ceiling fans clean.
Ceiling fans operable and fasten securely to ceiling.
Wallpaper secure to wall.
Wall paint in good condition.
Baseboard, moulding and windowsills clean and free of smudges.
Curtains clean.
Doors, door latches and hardware working smoothly.
Floors and carpet cleaned.
Carpet tacked down and tight.
Rooms well lighted (using higher wattage bulbs if necessary).
Vents and Returns free of dust.

Basement
Stairway lit and handrail secure.
Lights working properly.
Clean and free of clutter.
No dampness or water penetration.
No musty or sewer odor.
No stopped up drains.
Basement dehumidified as necessary.

Garage
Lights working.
Clean, organized and free of clutter.
No oil stains.
Garage door opener operates easily and smoothly.
Electric door opener operates smoothly and quietly.

Furnace and Central AC
Filter changed.
Units inspected and cleaned.

Fireplace
Chimney cleaned.
Ashes removed from fireplace.

Other
Consider renting a storage unit to help you de-clutter your home and help with moving.
 
LISTING YOUR HOME
Discussion Items with Your Agent
Use of lockbox, lockbox operational times and safety.
Use and placement of yard signs.
What to expect from showing agents.
Showing instructions.
What to do with your pets during showings.
Marketing Plan--how and when your home will be advertised.
Identify "selling features" to photograph for advertising.
Strong selling points for inclusion in advertisements and MLS Internet remarks.
What to expect when an offer is received.
How your agent should deal with multiple offers.
How to "stage" your home for maximum appeal.
Any "tidy up" items prior to showings.
The best means to contact your agent.
Discuss need to order Home Owners' Association documents.

Information for Your Agent
Disclose all potential safety hazards associated with the property.
A copy of the plat for your property.
Your current lender's name, address, phone number and loan account number.
Any upcoming dates that you don't want your home shown.
Your desired timeframe for settlement.
List of your utility companies.
Existence of an ongoing contract with a termite company.
Own or lease: satellite equipment, propane tank, water softener, and burglar alarm systems.
Any appliances and fixtures you will be taking with you.
The best means to contact you.

Other
Provide a set of keys to your home-two sets if you have them.
 
MAKING YOUR HOME SHOW WELL
Because homes that show well generally sell faster and often receive higher offers, it is important for your home to show well. The goal is to make your home as easy to show and as inviting as possible. The following checklist will help you keep your home ready for showing.

Before Showings Begin
Make sure your answering machine is functioning properly and that you can pick up messages remotely.
Fix or remove any safety hazards.
Check with your insurance carrier to review your liability insurance.
Remove or label any fixtures that you plan to take with you.
Lock up or remove all guns and ammunition, cash and expensive jewelry.
Put medicines in a medicine cabinet or in a drawer.

While Your Home is Available to Be Shown (Be prepared for your home to be shown without receiving advanced notice-agents usually call before showing but unscheduled showing does occur.)
Keep the grass cut in summer and the driveway, sidewalk and steps clear of snow and ice in winter.
Keep garage door shut.
Leave storm door unlocked so that the entry door can be opened.
Clean litter pans daily and keep out of sight.
Keep your home tidy and fresh smelling.
Keep pets confined, preferably out doors. Post a note if pets are loose in the house.
Leave sink clean and free of dishes.
Make beds.
Pick up clothes.
Do not allow anyone into the home without the accompaniment of an agent -ask agents for their business cards before allowing them to enter.
When your children are alone, they can let the showing agent use a keypad to gain entrance.
If you will be out of town, please provide a means of contact.

When a Showing is Scheduled
Leave the home if possible during showings-many buyers feel uncomfortable and intrusive when owners are home.
Let the light shine-open drapes and blinds and turn on lights.
Turn TV off.
Play background music at low volume if available-several table/clock radios in different rooms that are tuned to the same background station work well.
Call your agent after showings to provide the contact information on the showing agent's business card.