7-Point Checklist to Follow Before Listing Your Home

Molly Buttleman

Putting up Grand Traverse County homes for sale can be an exciting time as you prepare to close one chapter of your life and open a wonderful new one. Maybe you’re moving to the big city for a better-paying job or across the state to be closer to the grandkids.

It can also be a hectic time as you begin to realize there’s a lot to do to get it in shape for buyers to view it and then pack up and move. The longer you’ve been living in the home, the more you might break out in a cold sweat. Plus, you’ll have to start removing yourself emotionally from the home where so many wonderful memories were formed.

Don’t worry. If you approach it with a positive attitude and a detailed checklist, you’ll get through it just fine. Once you’ve decided to list houses for sale in Grand Traverse County, get organized and get going. Don’t delay because there’s a lot to do, and the sooner you jump in, the better. It’s amazing how fast the time will fly before you close a deal with a buyer and head off to your new home.

Hire a smart agent

Topping your checklist is one of the most important tasks of the entire process, which is hiring a licensed, experienced real estate agent who will help you from start to finish. This is going to be a big transaction, and you’re going to want it to close quickly and make as much money as possible.

That’s all well and good, but take your time to find a smart, knowledgeable agent you interact well with. Research agents who specialize in your neighborhood and interview the top two or three. Be thorough in asking them to describe how they will approach selling your home, including a marketing plan. If you are selling a luxury waterfront home, look for an agent who specializes in this segment of the market, as it can be more complicated, and you’ll be dealing with exacting buyers. Once you’ve found someone you feel comfortable with, hire her, and then get going on the many tasks ahead.

Set a price

One of the first things your agent will do is go through your home with you and assess it so she can help you set a competitive price. A great agent will know all the recent pricing trends of Grand Traverse County homes for sale and will also use data to help determine a price. One of those tools is a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), in which she compares all aspects of your home with homes that are currently on the market and have sold in recent months. This allows you to set the price with your head, not your heart. Don’t set the price too high, or else it can sit on the market with no offers. Don’t set it too low, or you can lose several thousand dollars in profit. This is among the key areas where you should trust your agent because she has done this many times before and knows what it takes to get homes sold.


Decluttering might not be your favorite item on the checklist, but it’s a necessary step to get your home listed. You’ll be amazed at how good your home will look and how the floor plan will stand out once you’ve removed all unnecessary possessions from every room, including the closets and all storage areas. A rule of thumb is to clear out 50% of your belongings so that buyers will get a good idea of how much space they’ll have for their stuff. Don’t forget to clear off the kitchen counters, the coffee table, and your dressers.

As you remove items, pack up what you want to take and get rid of the rest, either by donating it to charity, recycling it, or throwing it away. This step is a great way to get a jump on packing for the final move.


Along with decluttering houses for sale in Grand Traverse County, now’s the time to remove all traces of your family. That includes photos on the walls, knick-knacks and curios displayed through the house, your kids’ art hanging on the refrigerator and their toys, and any hobby items. Buyers will want to visualize their families living there, not be distracted by reminders of their family. You should also remove any artwork and furniture that wouldn’t appeal to a broad base of buyers. The goal is to present your home as a blank canvas that buyers with a wide range of tastes can start to envision as their home.


Another key step in neutralizing Grand Traverse County homes for sale is to paint the main rooms in a warm, neutral color. Some options are off-white, gray, beige, or something soothing like taupe. Again, the goal is to make your home as welcoming to as many buyers as possible. As they look at neutral-colored walls, they can daydream about painting those rooms in their favorite colors if they were to submit the winning offer.


After you’ve given your home a deep cleaning, arrange your remaining living room furniture around a focal point, such as a picture window with a gorgeous view of the water, a fireplace, or an entertainment console. The aim is to open up the floor plan and allow for an easy flow of foot traffic. Pull furniture away from the walls. Add some colorful throw pillows on the couch, add an area rug, and hang a neutral piece of artwork or a mirror, or both.

Curb appeal

Finally, make sure the exterior of Grand Traverse County real estate and the landscaping stand out. Hire a landscaper several weeks before listing to keep the lawn green and shrubs and trees trimmed. Have him plant some new flower beds to add splashes of color. Paint your front door in a warm, welcoming color and clean the porch and windows.

Listing homes for sale in Grand Traverse County

These are the important points on a checklist before listing your home. Since each home is different, there may be other points to address. Once you’ve decided to list homes for sale in Grand Traverse County, partner with local expert Molly Buttleman for a smooth, successful transaction. 


Molly is known for listening and problem-solving, often putting her own real-life buying, selling, and renovating experience to use for her clients. Her construction industry connections also give her clients an extra sense of trust, especially if they are looking to add value to a property with a remodel.

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