The ultimate home selling checklist

In this article:

We’ve all heard how stressful a traditional home sale can be (especially if you're selling and buying at the same time) from the endless open houses to intense price negotiations.

The good news is that with just a bit of preparation, you can avoid many of these obstacles. In light of that, we’ve brought you the ultimate home selling checklist so that you can be ahead of the curve.

You can download the checklist in pdf here.

A home selling checklist from Orchard

If you're also buying a new home, you can also check out our complete checklist for house hunting to bring along during home tours.

1. Select a real estate agent

Many home sellers choose to work with a real estate agent who can guide them through the process. If you’re on the hunt for an agent, remember that not all real estate agents are created equal. Here’s how to pick a top real estate agent:

☐ Make a list of candidates

  • Ask friends and family for any recommendations.
  • Look at active listings in your area to identify local agents.

☐ Rank your candidates

  • Read online reviews.
  • Look for awards or disciplinary actions.
  • Check if their past listings are similar to your home.

☐ Meet your potential agents

  • Ask them about properties for sale in the area to gauge their local knowledge.
  • Get their opinion on what you will need to do for your home in order to sell.
  • Ask about their fee and what services are included.
  • Here's a full list of questions to ask the agent selling your house

☐ Make your pick

2. Check your home’s condition

While home buyers are usually prepared to handle minor repairs, some issues might just scare them away. That’s why it’s often a good idea to assess the condition of your before listing. Here are some areas to look out:

☐ Walls and ceilings

  • Look for any signs of water damage or leaking.
  • Check for nail pops, cracks, chips, or other finishing details.
  • Look for discoloration, stains, or abrasion on paint.
  • Check wallpaper for lifting.

☐ Flooring

  • Check for areas of excessive wear or damage.
  • Look for stains or discoloration on carpeting.

☐ Windows

  • Check for any cracks or damage to window panes.
  • Ensure all windows properly open and close.
  • Feel for drafts or signs of air escaping.
  • Verify all windows have functional locks or latches.
  • Examine window screens for holes or damage.

☐ Lighting & electrical

  • Verify all light switches and power outlets function, including those with reset switches.
  • Look for any exposed wiring or damaged electrical boxes.

☐ Water & plumbing

  • Check faucets for dripping or leaking, including bathtubs, showers, and outdoor taps.
  • Test drain function.
  • Ensure toilets flush normally.
  • Verify sinks are properly sealed to countertops.

☐ Exterior

  • Look for damage to sidewalks, driveways, or patio.
  • Check your yard for bare spots, overgrowth, and drainage issues.
  • Examine wood decks for split boards, bowing, or structural damage to supports or railings.
  • Check fences and gates for damage.

3. Make repairs

Consider tackling any home buying red flags before they even become an issue. In order to decide what to fix and what to leave as-is, consult your real estate agent and consider getting a pre-listing home inspection.

Tip: Want to just focus on repairs that will help you get top dollar? When you work with Orchard, we'll evaluate your home and suggest repairs that will get your home sold.

4. Prepare for listing

Don’t forget to do some decluttering and deep cleaning to boost your home’s appeal to buyers. Many sellers also choose to make upgrades to their home so it can make the best first impression possible.

☐ Paint

  • Upgrade: Do you have any unusual or controversial wall colors? If so, consider painting them with neutral colors instead.
  • Touch up any paint damage to walls, doors, baseboards, and frames.

☐ Flooring

  • Upgrade: Do you have old or worn carpeting that should be replaced?
  • Upgrade: Do your hardwood floors need to be resurfaced?
  • Do you have area rugs that need freshening or replacing?
  • Consider removing them if there is suitable flooring underneath.

☐ Windows & doors

  • Clean the inside and outside of the window glass.
  • Remove and clean all screens.

☐ Knickknacks & decorations

  • Remove as many personal items as possible, including family photos.
  • Store children’s toys in an organized fashion and pack away the non-essentials.

☐ Exterior

  • Is all exterior paint in good condition?
  • Are flower beds and gardens orderly and weed-free?
  • Is your lawn well-maintained and tidy?
  • Are you storing any items outdoor that should be discarded?

☐ Cupboards & closets

Start pre-packing for your move by decluttering your storage areas, including:

  • Kitchen cupboards
  • Pantry
  • Bedroom closet(s)
  • Linen closet
  • Basement
  • Garage

☐ Furniture

  • Remove some furniture to open up the room.
  • Rearrange and staging your home to be more inviting.

Learn how else to get your house ready to sell.

5. List your home

Now it’s officially time for you and your agent to put your home on the market. While you want to maximize your profit, keep in mind that competitively-priced homes tend to sell quickly, while overpriced properties usually spend more time on the market.

☐ Decide on price

  • Ask your agent for a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).
  • Research current market trends.
  • Seller’s market? That competition may help you get top dollar for your home.
  • Buyer’s market? To attract buyers, you may have to lower your list price.
  • Calculate your break-even point: how much you need from the home sale to cover your mortgage balance, real estate commissions, and closing costs
  • Factor in the cost of any repairs that the buyer will need to make.
  • Get professional estimates to calculate this expense accurately.

Learn more about how to set the right listing price.

☐ Review your listing

  • Make sure that all details in the listing are present and accurate;
  • Does it highlight your home’s unique features and recent upgrades?
  • Review the listing photography.
  • Does it showcase your home in the best light possible?
  • Ask your agent how they will be marketing your home.
  • Will they be using both online and offline channels?
  • Do they have existing clients who may be interested?

Tip: Tell us a bit about your home, and we’ll give you a free estimate of your home’s value and an analysis of comparable homes in your area.

6. Show your home

In a traditional sale, the average seller will show their house to potential buyers 13 times. Be sure to tidy up before each showing, so your home always makes a great first impression.

☐ Before each showing

  • Remove any remaining personal items or valuables you haven’t already packed.
  • Clean all floors and dust surfaces.
  • Ensure all beds are made and bedrooms are tidy.
  • Clean all bathrooms, including showers and bathtubs.
  • Make sure you and your family are not in the home during the showing.

☐ Ongoing maintenance for showings

  • Keep your lawn cut, gardens maintained, and walkways clear while your home is on the market.
  • If you have a pet, consider having him or her stay with a relative while selling.
  • Keep closets as organized as possible.

Tip: Want to avoid the lengthy process of showing your home to dozens of prospective buyers? Homes listed by Orchard sell faster than the market average.

Learn how long it takes to sell a house

7. Evaluate offers

Once the offers start rolling in, you’ll enter the negotiation process. It can take a lot of back and forth to finalize the details of an offer, especially if you and your potential buyer aren’t on the same page.

☐ Be ready for offers

  • Decide the price range and contract conditions that you’re willing to accept. That way, you can speed up the negotiation process later on.
  • Understand the true cost of selling your house.

☐ Read each offer in detail

  • Look out for any contingencies that could result in the deal falling through on the buyer’s discretion.
  • Make sure that your buyers have their home financing ready-to-go.
  • Ask any potential buyers to bring a pre-qualification or proof of funds letter.

☐ Compare competitive offers

  • Take all aspects of the offers into consideration, including the purchase price, closing date, contingencies, etc.
  • Evaluate the bidders’ closing dates against your own plans.
  • Make a counter offer.
  • Factor in any additional overlapping housing costs, like double mortgage payments, moving costs, and temporary housing.

☐ Close on your home

  • Select the winning offer and start the closing process with your agent and title company.
  • Wait for your buyer as they finalize the details of their mortgage.
  • Sign all paperwork at closing and celebrate your home sale!

At Orchard, we have one goal: to simplify your home sale. That means removing the hassle and uncertainty that comes with the traditional process, from costly repairs to contingent offers. We can also make repairs to sell your home for top-dollar and help maximize your profit. Get started here.

Orchard gives a guaranteed cash offer — and so much more

We provide peace of mind that your home will sell, plus list your home on the market to maximize your earnings.

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Buy a new home knowing you’ve sold your current one

Orchard guarantees your home will sell, so you can buy your next one worry-free.

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Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Orchard gives a guaranteed cash offer — and so much more

We provide peace of mind that your home will sell, plus list your home on the market to maximize your earnings.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

How much can I make selling my home?

Use our home sale calculator to estimate your net proceeds.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Don’t navigate the market alone

Our Home Advisors are experienced local agents who know how to sell for top dollar and help win your dream home.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Let’s match you with a real estate agent

All Orchard Home Advisors are experienced agents who know your local market inside and out. Request a consult today.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Close faster with a cash offer

Did you know cash offers are 4x more likely to be chosen by a seller? Let us help you make one on your next home.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Find out what your home is really worth

Orchard’s home value estimates are 30% more accurate.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Curious what your monthly mortgage payment would be?

Orchard Home Loans shops the market to find your best rates.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Stand out to sellers with a cash offer

A cash offer is 4x more likely to be chosen by a seller. Get qualified today.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Don’t miss out on your dream home

Make a cash offer now, and Orchard will sell your old home after you move.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

Your dream home is waiting for you

Tell us your must-haves to see personalized home recommendations that meet your criteria.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Closing Fees
$0
$0
$0
$0
Other Costs to Consider
$0
Orchard can help you avoid overpaying additional selling and moving costs
$0
$0
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Estimated Net Proceeds
$0
Home Sale Price
$0
Total Cost to Sell
$0
Get my free valuation
Orchard is 30% more accurate than leading estimates.

The stress-free way to buy and sell

With Orchard, secure your dream home before you list. Avoid home showings, rentals, and double moves.

Learn More