Fully preparing your home for sale can make a considerable difference in the time it takes to sell it. You can help eliminate buyer objections before they arise by making necessary repairs and improvements, some of which are suggested below.


  • 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


  • 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


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


  • 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 earthquake damage
  • Repair loose trim, drain pipes, and fencing
  • Clean stains and window screens

Living Areas

  • Apply fresh paint as needed… think about brightening your interiors with neutral-toned paint
  • Clean carpets
  • Replace burnt out light bulbs
  • Clean the fireplace and remove smoke stains from the wall and mantle
  • Clean window coverings
  • Replace damaged window blinds


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


  • Check the basics around the house. It takes just a minute to check all doors, windows and cabinets to make sure they don’t stick, squeak or are too loose
  • Clean your furnace and water heater so buyers know they are looking at a house that has been well maintained

Maintenance Tips

  1. Restore power to any dead outlets. Check to see if you have the GFCI receptacles with the “test” and “reset” buttons by plumbing fixtures. If you don’t consider hiring a electrician to install as it will come up in the inspection.
  2. Change the direction of your ceiling fan. It helps with energy efficiency putting less strain on your heating and cooling systems.
  3. Clean out exhaust fans – exhaust fans help with smells and moisture, if the fans are dirty, they can’t do their job efficiently and can cause further problems such as mold.
  4. Re-caulk or re-grout your tubs, showers and bathrooms – If you have cracking in the caulk or grout, it is time to clean it up. There are a lot of YouTube videos to help you with this. If you have mold, you can use a simple bleach water solution and that should take care of it.
  5. Check your downspouts – Look around your home and make sure all of the downspouts are attached and not cracked. If they are not attached or have cracks, water will end up running down the side of your home and could create a big problem with a wet basement.
  6. If you have ever had water problems and it has left stains, paint the stains with a stain blocker and then paint as you normally would. You ALWAYS need to disclose water problem but the new buyer will see that the problem has been fixed.
  7. Clean your drains – clean out any slow draining sinks before it becomes a bigger problem. Use a wire coat hanger to snake the drain or a clog remover tool, rather than use drain cleaner, which can be hard on your pipes
  8. Do you have hairspray on your walls in your bathroom? It is hard to scrub off – Use shampoo and it will clean it right off.
  9. Flush your water heater – Once a year, drain your water heater. It will flush out the minerals or debris in the system and ensure it runs more efficiently.
  10. Check your water bill to track water consumption – many of us are not sure we even have a leak until it is too late. Take a look at your water bill monthly and compare month over month. If the number is higher than average, you might want to explore further with the help of a professional plumber.
  11. Clean your Gutters – Clean your gutters at least twice a year. If they are full of debris, they will not do what they are designed to do.
  12. Test your sump pump – You should test your pump twice a year. You don’t want to find out the hard way that it does not work.
  13. Maintain your roof – replacing a roof can be very expensive. Keep an eye on it to ensure a longer lifespan. If some shingles are loose, fix it.
  14. Do you see chipped paint on the exterior of your home? If you do, scrap it and paint it to avoid wood rot.
  15. Check your filters each month on your furnace. A clean filter will lengthen the lifespan of your furnace
  16. Check your doorbell. Does it work? If not, fix it
  17. Look at your foundation – Does it have any large cracks? Have a structural engineer take a look to ensure it is not a bigger problem.
  18. Wash your siding – Wash your siding twice a year. Pick the right pressure washer and nozzle to ensure you do not damage your siding.
  19. Touch up exterior paint. You should do this for 2 reasons – first you want to have nice curb appeal but more important the paint keeps moisture and wood rot at bay.
  20. Fill in driveway cracks – Especially in MN with our temperatures you want to keep an eye on cracks in your driveway or patios. Small cracks start to look unappealing but also if you fill them right away, you don’t have such a big project down the road.
  21. Clean off your outdoor air conditioning unit – clean with a soft brush or the hose. Make sure it is also clear of shrubs. It needs to be free flowing.
  22. Check for signs of critters – small critters can get in the smallest of cracks. Make sure to patch cracks around the foundation so this does not happen. Put steel wool in the end channels of your siding. A mouse will climb up that and get into your home.
  23. Trim the trees. Make sure trees are not close to power lines or hanging on or over your house. Is a tree leaning toward your home, have a professional remove the tree before it ends up on your home.
  24. Clean out refrigerator coils – Pull the cover off at the bottom of the fridge and vacuum under the fridge. Pull it out and clean behind it also. You would be amazed at how much stuff (dirt) ends up under the fridge.
  25. Wash your washing machine – If you notice any signs of mold, mildew or foul odors when doing laundry, clean your machine.
  26. Maintain your fire extinguisher – make sure to check it annually. Make sure it is clean, check for physical damage and check its pressure. It does no good in an emergency if it does not work.
  27. Remove the lint from your dryer vents – cleaning out your dryer vent and not just removing the link from the filter but cleaning out that vent crevice not only keep the appliance running efficiently, increasing longevity, but it also will keep your dryer from sparking a fire. More than 29,000 homes a year catch on fire from the lint build up.
  28. Inspect your window and door seals – Once a year take the time to inspect the sealing around your windows and doors. If you find small cracks, repair to ensure efficient heating and cooling in your home.
  29. Wipe down your walls so they are free of scuff marks. Keeping up on this is easy and only takes a couple minutes. If you let it get out of hand, you could end up painting the entire wall.
  30. Remove debris from your sump pump hose outside. If this is not cleared it could cause a backup
  31. Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors yearly.
  32. Have your chimney cleaned on a yearly basis
  33. Clean the filters on your range’s hood. Pop them out, fill a bucket with boiling water, squirt dish soap and pour a ¼ C of baking soda into the bucket. Stir in the bucket and then submerge the filter for 10 minutes, remove and scrub clean, and leave to dry
  34. Run water in sinks and toilets if not used regularly. Once every other week run some water or flush a toilet to ensure the seals are good and reduce future clogging.
  35. Clean your ceiling fans before turning them on in the Spring or you may have dust all over.
  36. Holes in screens – repair as soon as you can. This will reduce bugs coming in. Usually a local hardware store is reasonable in price to repair screens.
  37. Test your garage door auto reverse.
  38. Make sure water drainage goes away from your house. If it goes into the house, built it up with dirt, lay plastic on top of the dirt and cover with mulch or rock.
  39. Winter – shut off your water for outside facets
  40. If winter, shovel and salt any walking areas.


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