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Home Selling Checklist: Top 5 Steps You Need To Take When Listing a Home for Sale

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

How to prepare your home for sale on the market

Through our home staging company here in Cincinnati we’ve seen and helped to sell hundreds of houses, but it’s tough to know where to start when getting ready to list your home for sale. So we’ve pulled together a checklist that will help with the preparation and selling of your home. You may have to get a little down and dirty for some of the tasks, but others are surprisingly easy.

Home Selling Checklist # 1: Find a great real estate agent

We know it’s tempting to think, “Oh, I can sell my house by myself and, bonus, I can keep the cash I would otherwise pay the agent.” Listing your home for sale is more than slapping a “for sale” sign in the front yard and uploading random photos of your property. You would be missing out on the agent’s experience and immense industry knowledge. And we didn’t just slip in the word “great” in front of real estate agent for nothing. Do some research to find a real estate agent who is familiar with the area of town your home is in or the style of your home. Once you find a couple of realtors who are familiar with your specific market don’t be afraid to schedule an interview with them. Remember it’s all about finding the right fit for you.

Need some help finding a realtor? We’re happy to refer some of the amazing real estate agents we’ve worked with in the Cincinnati housing market! Just send us a note on our contact page!

Home Selling Checklist #2: Spruce up your curb appeal

Does your curb got game? Most home buyers are on the hunt for that perfect move-in-ready, dream home, and most home sellers knock out a cosmetic punch list when listing a home for sale. The exterior of the home can get overlooked, but can be what gets your home a showing. Yes, home buyers do judge a house by its outside. Consider some low cost items like mulching the front flower beds and planting brightly colored flowers. It may seem incidental, but gardening is low on the list of to-dos for new home buyers so it's a big bonus, plus it makes the home picture perfect for the "I-just-bought-a-house selfie" new owners share.

For this staging job, we worked with Flower Framers to create these flower boxes and Nest Home Staging and Design planted the flowers. The add color and really showcase the gorgeous arched windows. We always want to make sure your home is looking it's best inside and out! Now, what other staging company does that?

Ultimately, you get two first impressions to impress a buyer and they are well before they even step inside. The first is when they first click on the listing to view the photos online (see home selling checklist #5) and the second is when they pull up to the home for a showing or open house.

Home Selling Checklist #3: Clean, clean, and clean, and then look for touch ups.

If you’re trying to sell your property for top dollar you have to make sure your home is spotless. If you know you’re going to be listing your home for sale in the near future, start working in cleaning routines a couple months out - or hire a cleaning service. Be sure to do a clean sweep of areas with high visibility like counters, windowsills, tables, and even areas that aren’t so visible like closets, drawers, and cupboards. Pay special attention to bathroom tiles, counters and showers.

Along the lines of cleaning look for any scuffs marks that you could touch up or loose handles that can be quickly repaired - this also includes dusty baseboards. This will really get your house in its finest selling shapes and look well cared-for. If you’re planning on repainting, then this may not be needed, but it’s an important thing to note.

The last thing, do a smell test. Yes, we know it sounds weird, but it’s better than potential buyers thinking your home smells weird. Even the slightest order can be off putting to buyers, and you might not even notice it.

It’s best to get an unbiased third party person in your home who can help you identify these items like a home stager or a realtor. Why it’s important? You don’t want potential buyers to be jotting down items for a punch list as they walk through your home. Because if you end up under contract with them they’ll be asking you to take care of these items anyway or ask for money off the listing price so they can fix them.

Home Selling Checklist #4: Hire a professional home stager like Nest Home Staging and Design

Staging your home for sale is more than just giving your interior decor a facelift. Home staging is about planning for and considering the needs and wants of the current home buyer market. At Nest Home Staging and Design, we stand out because we stage a home so that it taps into a potential buyer’s emotions and connection to a property.

Staging your home for sale also gives the buyers a sense of how to use the space. You want their first response to go from "Woah, what am I going to do with this space?" to "Wow, I can really picture myself living here - let's make an offer." This spacious four-bedroom condo we staged at Towne Square Lofts in Blue Ash is a perfect example of showing buyers how to decorate an open concept floor plan.

We’ve worked with realtors and home sellers across Cincinnati to stage everything from downtown lofts and starter homes in trending neighborhoods to luxury condos and million dollar real estate. How do we have success with such a broad market? We evaluate the buyer market you’re targeting (the neighborhood of the house and list price) and the current condition of belongings. Whatever your need we’ll work within your budget to get the job done and make it look fantastic.

We have a sliding scale of services from decor consultations to full on vacant home staging. Just drop us a line to get the conversation started on how we can help you sell your home!

Home Selling Checklist #5: After you stage your home hire a real estate photographer

A selling secret, really more of a mantra, is the first impression is the only impression. Now that you’ve gone through all this effort to prepare your home for sale, you want it to count. Hiring a professional photographer to photograph your property is highly recommended. iPhones are great and all, but you just can’t beat a space that’s been professionally photographed, with a wide-angle lens, and edited to the point where it deserves a spread in a decor magazine. There are many photographers who have this capability, but look for a photographer who specializes in real estate photography in your area. They know how to maximize a room’s appeal and from what angle.

Just take a look at this before the stage job to after the professional real estate photography below!

an after image of a staged living room taken by a professional real estate photographer
After professional real estate photography

There is a significant difference between each photograph and the reveal illustrates the imperative value of home staging and professional photography when selling a home. The best part is you can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into hiring a professional home stager and photographer. Not only will this heighten traffic to your listing, but home buyers are 40 percent more likely to schedule a viewing for a home they saw online that was staged and photographed.

We are still taking on staging jobs for the winter!

We stage homes in all conditions of the listing process! The great thing about working with the Nest Home Staging and Design team is that we’ll work with you to find the best solution to your home seller situation. If you’ve already moved into a new home and need to sell your old one we’ll bring in our inventory of furniture to stage the space or if you’re preparing your home for listing we’ll use your existing decor items, but strategically stage them for a greater impact.

Either way, reach out to us today to see how we can help decrease the amount of time your home is on the market!

Thanks for reading!

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