9 Things All Sellers Must Do Before Listing Their Home

By Home Bay

Posted on November 12th, 2015

Getting ready to sell your home is a big deal. It usually signals a major life change and for most people, it’s something you only do a few times in your life. Big changes can be overwhelming, but listing your home doesn’t have to be. The key to stress-free selling is to make sure you’re organized and prepared before you list your property. Read this post and prepare these 9 things for a smooth listing experience.

preparing for listing your home

9 Things Sellers Must Do Before Listing Their Home:

  1. Clean & de-personalize your space:
    Clean and de-personalize comes up frequently on home seller advice lists because it’s so important. Your goal should be to make your home as generic and crowd-pleasing as possible. This means not only making sure your space is clean, but also taking the time to remove the family photos and personal artifacts that make your house a home. It’ll feel strange, but it will make a tremendous difference. It affords your buyers an ability to visualize their future in the space.
    We also recommend you tackle these 3 easy, affordable touch-ups for a quick and easy home makeover.

  2. Prepare your listing description and property details:
    Listing your home requires that you know your property. When you go to list, you’re going to need the following information. If you list through Home Bay, we will pull it for you via tax records:

    • your property’s square footage
    • lot size if you live in a detached property
    • number of beds and baths
    • year your property was built
    • details on things like what type of heating and cooling you have, etc.

    You’ll also want to prepare a compelling listing description, typically 400 characters or less. For an example, check out this listing optimization post and scroll down to the end.

  3. Stage your home:
    When you stage your home, there are two main things you should strive to achieve.

    1. You want each space in your home to have an obvious function.
    2. You want your home to feel spacious.

    To achieve this effect, store anything and everything that doesn’t have a critical function in the room, including extra furniture. Then arrange the room so it looks like a showroom at a furniture store. For an added wow factor, you can add in small decorative accents to create visually attractive spaces.

    It’s important to note that you can’t just throw everything in the garage. Potential buyers are going to want to see that space. A portable storage pod or nearby self-storage units are affordable and will simplify the process.

  4. Write your listing description & get great listing photos ready to go:
    The goal of writing a listing description is to provide potential buyers with information on your home’s unique features, location and the type of lifestyle living in your neighborhood provides. Many listing services require you keep your description at or under 400 characters. So short, but info-packed is a great way to go.Photos are one of the most critical elements of a successful real estate listing. We strongly recommend hiring a professional real estate photographer to take your pictures for best results. It’s a small investment that can mean big returns. If you decide to take your photos yourself, use these guidelines for best results.

    So what photos do you need? You should have a great photo of the exterior of your property, plus photos of your kitchen, bathrooms, closets and any unique features in your home. Studies have shown these images are the most important in the eyes of potential buyers.

  5. Research the real estate market:
    Once you’ve got all your basics together, you need to start looking into the market to get an idea of timeline. Real estate market information can be obtained from a variety of local and national real estate sites. We suggest checking out the National Association of Realtors annual reports as a good starting point.Once you understand how the market is positioned (buyers or sellers market, average time to sell a home) at both a local and national level, it’ll be easier to develop an anticipated time frame. You can also request a free time on market estimate from our team of real estate experts.


  1. Decide how you want to list your property:
    There are typically two ways you can choose to sell. You can either work with an agent or with the guidance of a home selling service. Most people understand the process of working with an agent, but what many don’t realize is that there are easy and affordable for sale by owner options available to homeowners that can save you thousands of dollars. With the help of technology, the prospect of selling your own home is gaining popularity, and is projected to continue to do so for many years to come. For more info, check out this post that details three of the most popular for sale by owner services. Once you know all your options, you can choose which path is right for you.

  2. Determine your list price:
    Like it or not, all homeowners have biases about their own property. Real estate research has shown that this bias typically leads to an expected sold price that is 8% higher than real market value. That’s why it’s important to understand the current market and to research other similar homes for sale in your area to get a realistic idea of where you should price your home to attract the most qualified buyers.You also have the option to request a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate appraiser or agent. Sometimes agents will provide them for free in exchange for the opportunity to sell you on their services. A CMA will provide you with a professional opinion on the overall value of your home in today’s market, serving as a great tool to help you accurately price your home. You can also read this post for how to accurately price your home on your own.

  3. Determine your bottom line price and timeline:
    One of the best things you can do for yourself to reduce stress while selling is discuss and decide on the lowest possible sale price you’d be willing to accept. Doing so will help you dramatically when you reach the negotiation part of the transaction. Rather than being reactive, you can simply refer to your previously decided price point and continue the conversation from there. You’ll also want to establish a realistic timeline. You can accomplish this by determining the average length of time homes similar to yours are taking to sell. Then combine that knowledge with your own motivation to sell to come up with your goal time frame. If you need to sell quickly in order to move for a new job, you’re going to have better luck pricing a little lower or having a lower bottom line price. If you’re willing to wait as long as it takes to get the price you want for your home, you can incorporate a long-game listing strategy.

  4. Create a marketing plan:
    Listing your home on the MLS should always be step one of your marketing plan. Doing so will not only gain you exposure on your area’s local home search portal, it will also automatically get you listed on giant real estate sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and Realtor.com. If you list with Home Bay, Home Bay will put you on the MLS and all the top real estate sites.Create a game plan that outlines what additional marketing options you want to pursue, how much money your willing to spend and what type of targeting is going to be the most effective in reaching your ideal buyer. Check out this post for ideas on how to get buyers to your listing.

If it seems like a lot, take a look at Home Bay’s A-Z seller service. You won’t find a more comprehensive, affordable stress-free home sale solution. Learn more about Home Bay.

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Posted in Preparing to Sell