5 Things to Do Before Listing Your House

by Aug 17, 2020

When it comes to listing your own house for sale, there are many things to consider. Because it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the details, hiring a competent real estate agent is one of the best things you can do before listing your house since they know the market and will notice things that you may overlook. Whether you choose to hire a real estate agent or not, there are still some general matters to be aware of when listing your home. In this article we will cover five things to do before listing your house for sale:

  • Getting Your House Inspected
  • Taking Pictures
  • Making a Good First Impression
  • Clarifying What Comes with the House
  • Having Your Paperwork Handy

A real estate agent can get into the specifics for your location, competition in your area, and trends in the real estate market. If you’re willing to put in the effort you can go the “for sale by owner” route too. Either way, here are five tips on listing your house for sale:

  1. Get the House Inspected

You are probably familiar with your home’s quirks. However, some problems like foundational ones can go unnoticed for a long time. It’s better to be upfront with potential buyers about things that need fixing. They will have an inspection done after making an offer so you want to avoid looking like you intentionally hid problems with the house. The best way to prevent this is to get the home inspected before listing.

With an inspection you become aware of issues that may turn off buyers as well as aspects of your home that are not up to code. While you may choose to leave some of the repairs up to the buyer, major or obvious flaws can turn buyers away. Consider fixing any significant issues before listing your house and getting estimates on repairs still needed so you can inform buyers upfront about your home’s maintenance.

  1. Take Good Pictures

Before people take an hour of their day to walk through your house they will probably look at pictures from your listing. Your photos should make viewers want to take a closer look. A messy kitchen or cluttered living room is not appealing to potential buyers. Take the time to declutter rooms for your pictures and remove unnecessary items and furniture that detracts from or obstructs the view. 

You want to present a clean-cut visual of your house. If you are not confident in taking pictures with clarity and quality lighting, you can always hire a professional photographer to make your online listing more attractive.

  1. Make a Good First Impression

First impressions matter. What does your lawn look like for the people who drive by? Is your front door dirty? Do any of the rooms smell bad? Is there pet damage, peeling paint, or carpet stains? Small touch-ups will allow buyers to focus on your home’s qualities rather than the minor, yet distracting issues.


Once you put up a listing you could have responses almost immediately. Waiting till the last minute to clean up your house and make it presentable for showings is not ideal. If you took pictures, you probably already did plenty of decluttering and cleaning.

  1. Decide What Comes with the House

You may have some things in your home you plan on taking with you that the buyer assumes that come with the house. Generally you don’t need to exclude personal property such as washer, dryer, curtains, or television. Items affixed to the house however, are assumed to come with the home unless you exclude them.

If you plan on taking some of these fixtures with you, you will want to put them in your exclusion list to avoid unnecessary confusion or conflict with the buyer. As part of your listing of the property you should clearly define the fixtures excluded. 

  1. Have Your Paperwork Handy

Putting together a booklet of the necessary documentation is a useful practice when you go to list your house. Being able to show potential buyers your utility bills and maintenance history does two things: it demonstrates the upkeep of your house and it eases the buyer into taking over the home’s maintenance. Collect this information and any paperwork on appliances, plumbing, and HVAC systems in a binder for buyers to peruse when they have questions.