Home Selling In Gig Harbor - Serving The Sound

What to do before you sell your Puget Sound home.

I am so excited to help you get your home ready to list! Investing your time, energy, and resources into the suggestions below may help you net thousands more on your home.

When you list with me and the Serving the Sound Team, your home will be seen by thousands through Morrison House Sotheby’s International marketing platform. If you have not already set up a time to meet with us, give us a chance to show you our cutting-edge marketing, market insight, experience, and how we use technology and social media to market houses for sale in the Puget Sound area. Many of our listings have even sold for record-breaking prices!

Since most buyers will first see your home online, having it ready to go for the photo and video shoot is very important. We will work with you to help prepare your home. Please do not feel the need to have your home show ready before our first walk-through. We have sold many homes for sale in northern Washington state, and it is very rare that any home is 100% ready to go on day one. Don’t be embarrassed to show us around. Your home may look a lot like our own homes, with piles of laundry, Legos everywhere, and kids’ homework spread out all over the dining room table. That’s okay!

Realtor walk through

If needed, I will take the time to walk through your home with you, room by room, to discuss possible improvements that you can make with little to no out-of-pocket expense. I will only suggest things that will help you decrease your days on market and increase your profits from the sale.

Change light bulbs and update light fixtures

It’s easy to forget about all the bulbs that have burned out over the years, but you will want your home to be as bright as possible. Lighting makes an incredible difference. Please ensure every bulb is working, including lamps, pool light, landscaping lights, and the light over your oven. We will have these all on for photo day.

Get some boxes

A big part of the adventure you’re about to embark on involves reducing clutter. You’ll want your home clutter-free so prospective new owners can picture themselves living there. Think of it as getting a head-start on moving! You can find free boxes on local FB neighborhood pages and should box up anything you are not using. Organize the closets and pantries and remember that less is more.

Storage unit or garage

Consider storing any boxes, clutter, bulky furniture, and toys in a storage unit or in the garage. If your furniture is old, damaged, and worn, it may be best to show that room empty. We will help put a plan together for any furniture that may need to be removed or relocated.

Make an extra set of keys

Prospective buyers and their Washington real estate agents will need to access your home for showings, so you’ll need an extra set of keys for the digital lockbox. Agent showings are typically scheduled through a great app called ShowingTime. Sellers and listing agents receive a text notification for all showing requests. Agents will only access your home with your approval, and most showings are scheduled the day before.

Tackle the bathrooms

Remove all the toiletries you have on display and ensure that counters are clear. Think white and bright! Invest in some new white towels for the towel racks in all of the bathrooms. The shower curtain should also be light and neutral.

Laundry room

Cleaned and organized is the name of the game. If you have a shelf above your washer and dryer with a bunch of stuff on it, consider getting 3 matching bins to hide your stuff in. Pinterest “Laundry Rooms” for inspiration.

Spruce up the kitchen

The kitchen is one of the rooms buyers are most attracted to, so if you’re looking to skip a room, this shouldn’t be it. You’ll want the counters to be as clear as possible. Clean inside the oven, microwave, and fridge (and remove the magnets, photos, and reminders from it). You may also want to clear the decor on top of the cabinets, which can be distracting and collect dust. Consider investing in some fresh flowers and a beautiful white or clear bowl with some fresh fruit in it, such as lemons.

The bedrooms

The bedrooms in the house should be inviting, which means more cleaning and decluttering, and possible investing in a few props. If you don’t already have one, invest in a neutral-colored duvet cover or a fluffy white down comforter (Amazon is a great resource). Think of your last visit to a luxury hotel and aim for that aesthetic. Ensure all beds have a minimum of four pillows and crisp white sheets. Remove any bulky furniture.

Master closet

Take a close look at what you have not worn in over a year (including shoes). It may be a good idea to pack those items up or donate them. Less clothing hanging and folded on shelves will help make your closet appear larger.


Take care of any known leaks or plumbing issues and update any old faucets. Switching out the kitchen faucet can be an affordable way to freshen up your kitchen.

Tackle the living room

Clean the sofa and chairs and possibly invest in some new light-colored throw pillows. Hide the magazine rack and all the clutter that has accumulated. Hide the wires from your TV/stereo/speakers in all rooms, especially for photo and video day. Family photos are usually fine, as long as there are only a few.

Dining room

Remove the kids’ homework and the piles of stuff that may have accumulated on the dining room table. Clean up the hutch. Simple and clean is best. Table should have one simple centerpiece.

Store vs. donate vs. throw away

It’s a pain (and expensive) to store all the stuff you don’t really need, so don’t pack anything that you don’t plan to bring to the next house. Consider donating anything you do not want or things that you have not used in over a year, including clothing. Have a garage sale or post items for sale or free on local FB pages. House of Refuge and the Goodwill are also great options for donations.

The entrance

Remember that most buyers will have an emotional reaction to your home within 15 seconds of entering it, so what they experience at the entrance is CRITICAL. You will want your entrance and front yard to be clean, de-cluttered, and inviting. Paint your front door, if necessary, invest in fresh throw pillows or cushions on patio furniture, add fresh flowers to a pot, pull weeds, and put away your hose. Check out Target for a fresh, new, affordable welcome mat and simple wreath. Power wash the exterior and driveway, if necessary. Keep the front porch swept before showings.


Ensure your yard is free of weeds, and that it is clean and inviting. If you have a pool, ensure the water is clear and the pool tile is clean.

Personal items

Once you list your home for sale, think of it as an investment you are trying to get top dollar for. You will want your home to appeal to as many buyers as possible. That will only happen if they can picture their own stuff in your house. Walk through every room in your house and pretend you’re a buyer. What needs to change? What do you need to get rid of?

Paint touch-ups and re-painting

A fresh coat of paint is one of the cheapest ways to freshen up your home. Bold colors are bound to be a turn-off to some buyers, so to appeal to the most people possible, take the time to re-paint if necessary. Kitchen and main living areas should have neutral colors. Light colors will help small rooms look bigger. Bedrooms can usually get away with bolder colors, and our team will help you with those suggestions. Don’t forget about baseboards and ceilings, as they might need some white paint. Popular colors by Sherwin Williams that work great for most homes include “Accessible Beige” and “Anew Gray.”

Make a list of all the little stuff

that you’ve been avoiding repairing, including the leaky faucet, the picture holes in the wall, etc., and complete the repairs before listing. If you aren’t handy yourself, bring in a handyman to take care of everything. Also replace air filters.

Get the windows cleaned

Investing in professional window cleaning before your photo and video day is well worth it. Did you know that, over time, your windows build up a layer of dirt, water deposits, streaks, smudges, and fingerprints? This grime can obscure the incoming light and become unsightly.

Get the windows cleaned

Investing in professional window cleaning before your photo and video day is well worth it. Did you know that, over time, your windows build up a layer of dirt, water deposits, streaks, smudges, and fingerprints? This grime can obscure the incoming light and become unsightly.

The final clean

While you can do this final step yourself, we recommend bringing in professional cleaners who will make sure to clean all the spots you miss. It may also be wise to use an ongoing cleaning service going while your home is on the market to keep it as fresh as possible for showings.

Make plans for the pets

Prospective buyers may not love your pets as much as you do. If possible, make a plan to have your pets out of the house for showings. Remove all signs of pets for photo and video day (bowls, litter boxes, crates, etc.).

Make plans for the kids’ stuff

Most buyers won’t want to look at all your kids’ toys and finger painting works of art. A few toys are fine, as long as they are organized. You may want to store the extra toys in a hall closet for showings.

Make your house smell good

It’s important for home sellers to be honest with themselves about the smells in their homes and take care of the root causes of these smells, rather than simply masking them. A clean smell and a deodorized smell are two different things, and a strong scent can interfere with the buyer’s ability to make a decision. You may also want to limit cooking certain things that leave a strong odor before showings. Vanilla and citrus are some of the best scents. Essential oils are a great option, too.


There are certain situations where some light or full staging may be recommended. We will discuss this option with you in more detail during our walk-through.

Real Estate Staging | Kim McCall Design

Photo and video shoot

When your Washington state home is ready, it’s time for the photographer and videographer to work their magic. This will happen a few days before you list your home for sale. Natural light is very important, so plan to have all lights on and blinds up for the shoot. We like to shoot in the best lighting possible, so if there is rain or severe clouds, we may need to reschedule. We can typically have your home’s website live and listed within 48 hours of the shoot. We promise that all of your hard work will be well worth it!

The final once-over

Take one final walk through all the rooms and adjust as necessary. Do you see anything that might distract or turn off a buyer?


Consider leaving some bottled water and snacks out for potential buyers with a note on the kitchen counter. Buyers love this! Open blinds to let the natural light in. Turn soft music and lights on if possible. Secure valuable items, including medication, cash, and jewelry.

Final note

We’ve helped clients accomplish everything on this list in as little as 4 days. We are here to help you every step of the way. We are a team, so if you need any help or have questions or additional referrals, we have you covered!