Must Dos Before You List

To make every area of your home tempting to buyers, consider these musts:

Curb appeal:

  • Manicured lawn and planting beds (with mulch added to neaten up less-than-perfect zones)
  • Handsome planters or boxes with colorful blooms
  • Clean, neutral exterior—power wash or paint if needed
  • Smoothly functioning door locks, knobs, bell, and latches
  • New or spotless house numbers and mailbox
  • Good exterior lighting
  • Trash and recycling out of sight


  • Countertops clear of all small appliances
  • Updated hardware
  • Spotless (inside and out) and depersonalized fridge—no magnets, memos, or drawings
  • No visible trash cans or recycling bins

Dining Room:

  • Bold centerpiece on the table—either a large vase, an orchid, or greenery
  • Matching, minimal items in any open or glass shelving pieces, such as a hutch

Living Room:

  • Keep-it-simple furniture. You can’t go wrong with a solid off-white linen track arm sofa and a curved or rectangular coffee table. Avoid overstuffed, patterned, or detailed pieces.
  • Use slipcovers in white or soft, pale colors on any couch or chair past its prime.

Master bedroom:

  • White bedding, with a fluffy white duvet cover. For interest, a gray or blue throw on the bed.
  • Large matching lamps
  • Soft, neutral area rug
  • Minimal clothing in closets (will make them look larger) and no mismatched hangers
  • No exercise equipment, laundry baskets, or other extraneous items


  • Sparkling clean
  • Simple and pristine shower curtain
  • Rolled-up washcloths and fluffy, white towels
  • Simple greenery or single well-groomed plant
  • No personal care or grooming products in sight

Secondary bedrooms:

  • Neatly made bed
  • No toys lying around
  • Nothing with your children’s names visible
  • No posters on the walls


  • Clean, simple, comfortable outdoor furniture