Before you list

What you need to know before you list your Walla Walla Real Estate:

The decision to put a home on the market is often a weighty emotional strain. Even more difficult may be the preparation work needed to get a timely and value-based sale. The carpet with some wear; the bright purple painted walls of a girl's bedroom; the older but useable curtains or the garage heaped with generations of tools all need attention before a home is ready. It's a lot of work.

A method that works well combines clutter removal, preparation and focused staging, leaving the home ready for listing. This method works best with some help from an observant, ruthless and energetic friend.

To start, get a notebook and list on separate pages each room and major area of the home and property, including the attic, garage, shed, garden, pantry and every closet. Under the area name list its chief purpose (clothing storage, dining, home office). With the friend, walk through every part of the home and outdoor space as they are. Note on the area's page everything that either of you notice, both good and bad. Include odors, light, colors and condition of walls, floors and major furnishings. This will frame the size of the preparation job needed.

Write a list of tasks for prep work and make copies, one for each noted area of the home. The tasks will be used as a checklist. Include on the checklist: remove clutter, discard older furnishings, thorough cleaning, painting, deodorizing, replace carpeting, replace curtains (shower curtains, too), repairs, staging and review. You might have other work needed, too. Review the notebook and note the work needed in each area. The work could entail any or all of these tasks.

Removal of clutter, older and worn furnishings, carpet, etc. will be first. Do this in every area you have listed. A driveway dumpster can be very helpful if the household is larger. Some things might be saleable – yard sale or craigslist - or given to a charity or freecycle (freecycle.org is very helpful, where available). Ruthlessness is important in purging each area. Anything not attractive and useful to serve the purpose of the area should be removed. Don't overlook small touches such as wastebaskets, lamps and floor mats. These also leave an impression on anyone looking at the home. When an area is done, check it off on the task list.

After purging, clean thoroughly. Windows, floors, shelves, trim and major appliances; carpeting, hallways and bathrooms demand special attention. Again, check off cleaning as each area is done.

After cleaning, patch, paint and replace curtains and carpeting anywhere this would make a difference in appealing to a buyer. Again, be ruthless. Replace older curtains with newer inexpensive sheers. Replace old shades; paint chipped doors and woodwork. Outdated or worn furniture should be removed and replaced if needed. Check off the work done.

Also, don't forget to enlist the help of friends and neighbors for their advice. Would they buy your home in its current condition?

When it does come time to list your Walla Walla Real Estate, trust the agents at LWB Realtors to establish a price you are comfortable with and market your home with all available tools.