What to Do Before, During & After Selling Your Home [Checklist]

A Home Seller’s Checklist

Are you ready to sell your home? With the real estate market constantly evolving and technology playing a more significant role than ever, we wanted to share this comprehensive home-selling checklist with you to help you navigate the process.

In this all-inclusive guide, you’ll find everything you’ll need for each phase of selling your home, from preparing the property to when it gets listed to what happens after the sale.  

We’ve left no stone unturned, so let's jump right in.

Before: what to do before selling your house

Let’s start by laying the groundwork for a successful sale.

Get a great real estate agent

This person is going to be your trusty companion throughout your journey, so you’ll need to interview some candidates for:

  • A local agent with intimate knowledge of your neighborhood: a local realtor will be familiar with the ins and outs of your area, ensuring they can market your property effectively and attract the right home buyers.

  • An agent with a proven track record: experienced agents have honed their skills in negotiation, communication, and real estate marketing, which can lead to a smoother and more profitable transaction - and they have client testimonials and successful home sales history in your area to prove it.

  • Up-to-date paperwork: a well-organized agent will have all the necessary licenses, certifications, and paperwork in order, ensuring that the home selling process is legally compliant and hassle-free.

  • An agent who can put together a good marketing plan: While many major brokerages have adopted Matterport's innovative digital twin technology, be sure to ask your prospective agent if they also take advantage of this innovative technology to deliver the best possible experience to potential buyers

When sellers use a digital twin to represent a property to buyers, they can quickly filter out causal looky-loos and people the property may not be right for. Plus, you won’t have to leave the house as often for showings, while simultaneously expanding your geographic reach to more qualified buyers. Just consider the findings of a recent Matterport study: 99% of home sellers say a 3D tour would give their listing a competitive edge - let alone, the fact that they also saw a 4-9% higher sales price and 31% less time on market.

Real estate stats

Assess your home for any necessary repairs

Ensure your property is in tip-top shape to greet potential buyers. Some key home repair items to consider include:

  • Electrical: check for any faulty wiring, non-functioning outlets, or flickering light bulbs that may indicate underlying electrical issues.

  • Handles and hinges: ensure door handles and hinges are functioning properly, move smoothly, and are securely fastened.

  • Flooring: repair or replace damaged or worn-out flooring, such as cracked tiles, stained carpets, or creaky floorboards.

  • Plumbing: fix any leaks or drips, as well as inspect for any leaky faucets, and slow-draining sinks or toilets.

  • HVAC system: service your heating and cooling systems to ensure they are functioning efficiently and effectively.

  • Roof and gutters: inspect your roof for any missing or damaged shingles and ensure gutters are clean and free of debris.

  • Paint and walls: repaint/touch up any peeling paint and repair any cracks or holes in the walls.

  • Windows: ensure all windows open and close smoothly, and replace any cracked or broken glass.

Make a list of maintenance activities

Maintenance is all the behind-the-scenes work that’s needed to shore up your property (and its value). Some key maintenance activities to consider include:

  • Gardening: maintain a well-kept lawn, trim overgrown bushes, and remove any dead or dying plants to create an inviting outdoor space.

  • Garages: keep your garage clean and organized, ensuring all items are stored neatly and the floor is free of oil stains or debris.

  • Painting: touch up or refresh your home's exterior and interior paint to protect surfaces and maintain a fresh appearance.

  • Pest control: inspect your home for signs of pests, and address any infestations promptly to prevent damage.

  • Roof: check your roof for damage and address any issues promptly to prevent leaks and costly repairs.

  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: ensure these devices are functioning properly and replace batteries as needed for the safety of your home and those who live in it.

Clean and tidy up

Channel your inner Marie Kondo, and consider cleaning up the:

  • Garage: organize tools and equipment, and sweep the floor.

  • Attic: declutter/organize the space, ensuring the area is clean and well-ventilated.

  • Basement: address any dampness or musty odors, and organize belongings to create the impression of usable space.

  • Living rooms: remove clutter, clean carpets, and upholstery, and ensure furniture is arranged in a way that creates a welcoming atmosphere.

  • Bedrooms: make the beds, organize the closets, and create a cozy environment with clean linens.

  • Kitchen: Deep clean appliances, wipe down countertops, and organize cabinets.

  • Bathrooms: Scrub fixtures, remove any mildew or mold, and replace any worn-out shower curtains and bath mats.

  • Outdoor spaces: sweep walkways, clean patio furniture, and maintain landscaping to boost curb appeal.

Stage your home

Foster an emotional connection between buyers and your property by staging a good-looking home through:

  • Declutter: it’s worth repeating but a clean home is a valuable home, so remove excess items and personal belongings to create a clean look and feel.

  • Depersonalize: while you’re decluttering, take down photos of family members and other personal items to help people envision themselves and their families in the home.

  • (Re)arrange furniture: get or rearrange furniture that makes the most out of the available space, and create the kind of layout that showcases each room's full potential.

  • Improve lighting: use light (natural or otherwise) to create an inviting ambiance in each room.

  • Add accents: buy or reuse decorative items, artwork, and plants to make things more visually interesting and engaging.

  • Use digital twins: Matterport's digital twins can save you time/money/all the heavy lifting through virtual staging, which allows you to add digital content (furniture, accents, etc) to an otherwise empty, physical space.

During: what to do once your home is listed

Now that we’ve meticulously prepared your home, it's time to shift gears and check on the marketing plan that your agent has laid out for your property!

Marketing

High-quality visuals play a vital role in marketing any property. Increase the likelihood of more offers and a successful sale by using:

  • Offer virtual tours: Matterport's 3D scans and digital twins offer an unparalleled advantage in property marketing by going beyond traditional video, providing a range of valuable features to both sellers and buyers. These innovative tools offer the ability to give:

  • 3D virtual tours: viewers can explore the space as if they were physically there, from wherever they might be, and at their own pace.

  • Guided tours: a digital twin's Story mode allows you to curate the presentation, adding on-screen titles and descriptions at certain tour stops.

  • Tags: call out important details like appliance brands or renovations.

  • Measurement tool: share the dimensions for walls, doorways, and windows.

  • 2D floor plan: give viewers a quick way to grasp the layout of a space.

And don’t have to take our word for it; just check out these stunning 3D tours for a:

  • Produce quality photographs and video footage: professional-grade visual assets captured with the best camera equipment offer a glimpse into the features and atmosphere of your home, allowing prospective buyers to imagine themselves living in the space. Plus, in today's digital age, where most property searches begin online, eye-catching images and engaging videos have become a gold standard. Tip: Your agent can get all the visuals you’ll need to make your home stand out so that you can find the perfect buyer with Matterport’s Digital Pro package, which comes with a 3D tour, 25 stunning HDR photos, a 2D floor plan, and an engaging intro video all-in-one.

digital pro blog image 1
  • Create digital marketing materials: That said, be sure your real estate agent has a digital marketing plan plus materials to build and grow a strong online presence for your property, including:

    • A website to host the listing

    • Third-party property listing websites/marketplaces

    • Social media

    • Email marketing

    • Digital advertising

  • Publish print marketing materials: Yes, traditional marketing channels are still a thing.  People want the freedom to jump from digital to the physical and back again, so chat with your agent about using:

    • Brochures and fliers

    • Postcards

    • Yard signage

    • Presentation folders and business cards

    • Local newspaper & magazine ads

Paperwork

Having the necessary paperwork and documentation prepared when showing your property makes the process smoother and more efficient for everyone involved:

  • Purchase agreement: Also known as the sales contract, this document outlines the terms and conditions of the property sale, including the agreed-upon purchase price, contingencies, and closing date.

  • Mortgage papers: these documents outline the terms of your existing mortgage, providing buyers with relevant financial information.

  • Inspection certificates: certificates from home inspections, such as pest or structural inspections, show that your property has been properly evaluated.

  • Property deed: this legal document establishes your ownership of the property and is crucial for the transfer of ownership.

  • Property tax records: these records provide information on your property's tax history, helping buyers understand potential tax obligations.

  • Recent utility bills: buyers might want to know the average cost of utilities for the property.

  • Homeowners' association (HOA) documents: if your property is part of an HOA, provide buyers with the association's rules, fees, and funding.

After: what to do after your home has sold

Alright, the final stretch!  While congratulations are in order for selling your home, there are still a few remaining tasks to complete before you break out the champagne:

Choose an escrow officer

This professional will act as a neutral third party to facilitate the transfer of funds and documents between the buyer and seller. Some important characteristics to consider when choosing an escrow officer include:

  • Experience: look for an escrow officer with a proven track record in handling real estate transactions similar to yours.

  • Communication skills: a responsive, clear communicator can make the closing process easier by keeping you informed and addressing any concerns promptly.

  • Reputation: Choose an escrow officer with a strong reputation for professionalism, ethical conduct, and excellent customer service. 

  • Familiarity with local regulations: an escrow officer well-versed in local real estate laws can help navigate the intricacies of the closing process and avoid pitfalls.

Prepare for the final walkthrough

Take this opportunity to double-check everything so the property is ready for its new owners. Areas to focus on:

  • Repairs and maintenance: confirm that all agreed-upon repairs and maintenance tasks have been completed as per the contract.

  • Appliances: check that all appliances are still in working order

  • Fixtures and fittings: ensure all lighting, window treatments, and built-in features are functioning properly.

  • Utilities: verify that utilities are functioning correctly, including water, electricity, and gas. Don’t forget about the heating and cooling systems too.

  • Cleanliness: make sure the home is in a presentable condition for the new owners

Resolve any title issues

Ensure a smooth property transfer and avoid potential legal issues down the road by addressing any:

  • Outstanding liens: make sure any unpaid taxes or contractor claims have been settled.

  • Ownership disputes: address any disputes or discrepancies in property ownership, such as unresolved inheritance issues or co-owner disagreements.

  • Encroachments: check that any shared driveways or boundary disputes are resolved, or at least properly documented.

  • Public record errors: correct any inaccurate property descriptions or clerical mistakes.

Transfer property ownership

Some important areas to focus on during a property transfer include the:

  • Deed: work with your title company to prepare and review the property deed, ensuring it accurately reflects the terms of the sale and complies with local regulations. After the deed is signed by both parties, record it with the appropriate local government office to make the transfer of ownership official.

  • Home insurance: contact your insurance provider to cancel your current homeowner's policy or transfer it to your new property, so you aren’t left without coverage during the transition.

  • Utility and service providers: cancel/inform any utility and subscription-based service providers of the change in ownership or update your address accordingly.

  • Postal service: submit a change of address with the post office to ensure your mail is forwarded to your new home. Notify banks, credit card companies, and other important contacts of your new address as well.

Distribute funds to relevant parties

Conclude a smooth transaction by checking that you’ve paid off the:

  • Mortgage: ensure that the outstanding mortgage balance is paid off, obtaining a release of the mortgage lien from your lender.

  • Real estate agent commissions: pay the agreed-upon commissions to both the buyer's and seller's agents for their services during the sale.

  • Closing costs: allocate funds to cover various closing costs, such as title insurance, recording fees, and escrow fees, as agreed upon in the contract.

  • Taxes and fees: settle any outstanding property taxes, transfer taxes, or other fees required by local regulations.

  • Seller proceeds: and most importantly, make sure you’ve received the net proceeds from the sale after all expenses and obligations have been settled.

Navigating the property sale process with a professional real estate broker as your trusty companion and Matterport's digital twins as your handy tool can significantly enhance the experience for both you, the seller, and the buyer.

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