Preparing to Sell

preparing to sell your home

Whether you’re thinking about selling your home, or you’ve already made the decision, there are many things to consider before ever putting your house on the market.

While it’s normal to have an emotional attachment to your home, it’s time to put that aside because selling real estate is strictly business. Your goal should be to maximize your equity and get the best possible return on your investment. An experienced real estate agent can guide you through the process of preparing your home for sale, helping you to determine what should be done to make your property ready for that first open-house.

Below are some great tips and ideas for how to get started.

Closing Costs

One of the first things to consider when selling is to factor in the cost of closing the sale. In California, this laundry list of items and fees is typically shared between buyers and sellers, but can vary from county to county.

Typical Seller Closing Costs Include:

  • Title insurance fees which are dependent on the home”s sale price.
  • Broker’s commission is a full-service fee and may comprise 5% – 7% of the total sale price.
  • Local property transfer tax, country transfer tax, state transfer tax, and state capital gains tax.
  • FHA fees and costs are all fees are now negotiable between an FHA buyer and seller.
  • Home inspections fees are in some circumstances paid for by the seller.
  • Miscellaneous fees can accrue from correcting problems noticed during the home inspection.

Home Preparation Checklist


  • Spruce up your garden and lawn, trim shrubbery and replace dead plants.
  • Yard and patio should be neat, outdoor furniture should be clean and in good shape.
  • Clean or paint your front door – remember, first impressions last the longest.
  • Manicure your front yard. Make sure your driveway and entryway are free of clutter.


  • Check that house numbers, mailbox and exterior lighting are all in good condition.
  • Touch up with fresh paint as needed.
  • Inspect chimney for cracks or other damage.
  • Repair loose trim, drain pipes and fencing.
  • Clean stains and window screens.


  • Remove clutter and tidy up shelves.
  • Clean the floor.


  • Apply fresh paint as needed…think about brightening your interiors with a neutral toned paint.
  • Clean draperies and carpets.
  • Replace burned out light bulbs.


  • Sinks, appliances and counter-tops should sparkle; remove any clutter.
  • Wax the floor.
  • Clean the oven, range and other appliances.
  • Clean tile and grout; replace if necessary.


  • Clean mirrors, glass, chrome and porcelain surfaces.
  • Replace shower curtain if necessary.
  • Fix any faucet drips or leaks.
  • Clean grout and caulking; replace if necessary.


  • Doors and drawers should open and close easily.
  • Remove clutter; tidy up shelves and racks.
  • Shoes and clothes should be neatly arranged.