How to Get Your Home Ready to Sell

If you’re ready to list your home for sale, there are many things you can do get your house ready to sell and make it a show-stopper for showings and photos. There are really simple DIY improvements that can add value and give your home a face-lift without a big investment. But be careful – there are also ways to over-improve and not get a return on your investment.

The award-winning Sarah Bernard Realty Team of St. Louis knows what sells homes, and just as importantly, we know what doesn’t. The following tips and tricks are what we share with our clients to help them sell their homes fast. Keep reading to get your house ready to sell with these DIY enhancements that offer a reliable ROI and a better chance for a quick sale.

Top 6 DIY Improvements

  1. You will want to make any small, obvious outside repairs and clean-up. Add curb appeal by landscaping and planting flowers, sweeping walkways, removing barriers to entry, adding a new welcome mat. Nothing can replace the first impression.
  2. Clean up your kitchen, including pantry and cabinets. Put away most countertop appliances, clean stains, fronts of cabinets and doors. Polish stainless appliances. Organize cabinets/pantry, pitch old food/spices – anything that may create an odor when the door is opened.
  3. Replace and add fresh, bright light bulbs throughout the home.
  4. Refresh your bathroom(s). This can be new a shower curtain, clean towels, dusted window blinds, shiny fixtures, a nice smelling candle, and clean shower/toilet/sinks/walls. Make sure any grout is mildew-free. Keep toilet seat lid closed.
  5. Paint with warmth. Repaint any rooms that are not neutral or have a lot of wall marks or holes with warm, neutral colors.
  6. Clean the floors. Keep the carpets vacuumed and the tile, wood, and other hard floors as clean as possible between showings. If you have a lot of pet or other stains, spot-treat and professionally shampoo the carpets. The same if there are major grout stains.

Not Sure Where to Begin? Use Our “Get Your Home Ready” Checklists

First, stand back and look at the exterior of your home and garage and its curb appeal. As if you’re seeing it for the first time, as a potential buyer, what needs doing?

Here is your First “Outside” Impression Checklist.

  • Check for clean siding/façade. Is it cracked or is the brick in good condition?
  • Repair or replace loose or damaged siding or roof shingles.
  • Manicure landscaping: mow, edge and water lawn, trim hedges, weed and fertilize flowerbeds, prune trees. Plant fresh plants and flowers in the ground or in containers where needed.
  • Keep driveway clean and free of parked cars; close garage door.
  • Minimize cracks or crumbling on walkways, walls or steps; keep them free of obstructions.
  • De-clutter; make sure that from the street your property appears clear.
  • Is the mailbox tidy or is it rusty or have chipped paint? Fix it up as needed.
  • Inspect the appearance of interior window coverings from the curb.
  • Take steps to eliminate rodents or pests.
  • Pick up after your pets.

Your First “Inside” Impression Checklist starts with making the interior warm and inviting.

  • Subtle scents of potpourri in bedrooms or baths and fresh baked cookies or cinnamon can make your home more inviting.
  • Keep an attractive set of towels in each bathroom for showings.
  • Clean and remove clutter and personal effects (pictures, knick-knacks) from all rooms of the house.
  • For a sleeker, more spacious look, consider placing some furnishings from crowded rooms in storage.
  • Clear kitchen counters of everything except for a few pretty items.
  • Keep closets, cupboards, basement, garage, and even the attic orderly.
  • Clean mirrors throughout, plus glass fireplace or cabinet doors.
  • Repaint or clean/replace dingy, soiled or strongly colored walls and floor coverings with light, neutral shades.
  • Repair dripping faucets, burned out light bulbs, and cracked windowpanes.
  • Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, window blinds, and tiles.

Successful Showing & Open-House Checklist

Now that your home is market-ready, here’s a checklist to help make the most of every showing.

General Preparation

  • Clean and remove clutter from all rooms of the home.
  • Open drapes and turn on lights and lamps.
  • Fill candy dishes and put out fresh flowers.
  • Have new, lightly-scented potpourri set about to freshen the air.


  • Make the beds, put away clothes and toys neatly.
  • Turn the blinds so slats are uniformly open and turn on the lights.


  • Shine faucets and check floor for hair and debris.
  • Empty waste bin.
  • Put out a clean hand towel, fresh soap in clean soap dish or pump soap.
  • Put toilet lid down.
  • Potpourri or a candle can provide a nice site and scent.


  • Put away all dishes and utensils and discreetly conceal countertop articles.
  • Make sure counters are free from crumbs and stains; shine faucet.
  • Simmer a few drops of vanilla on the stove for a relaxing fragrance.

Dining Room

  • Make sure table/chairs are stain and crumb-free.
  • Arrange an inviting centerpiece and turn on lights/chandelier.
  • Consider setting the table with fine china/linen.

Living Room/Family Room/Den

  • Straighten pictures on the wall and wipe all tabletops.
  • Fluff and arrange couch cushions and throw pillows.
  • Dispose of newspapers, clutter, and drink containers.
  • Have a bin for remote controls and computer chargers/accessories that can be stowed.
  • Light fireplace in winter.

Feel Confident That You’re Ready to Sell

Now that you know the basics for getting your house ready to sell, you can feel confident that you’re ready and potential buyers will love your home. This is a perfect time to reach out to our full-time Sarah Bernard Realty Team for a no-obligation consultation to help you sell your house.

Our experienced, specialized agents know you’re really selling your “home,” and want to make the transition as easy as possible with an agent/partner who understands. When you hire us, we help with every step in the process and streamline the details to get a swift closing so you can start your exciting journey in your new home.

As your go-to source for industry insight and advice, marketing experience, and a successful closing, we encourage you to reach out to a member of the Sarah Bernard Realty Team today for your complimentary consultation and find out how easy and rewarding the real estate process can be. It’s time to live the lifestyle of your dreams in a home that inspires you! 314-780-9070