I have sold many houses over the years. We build a house, live in it, and then list it for sale about a year after we move into it. The thing to remember when you are going to list your house is that people look at little things and they can be very picky. It is also now custom for a purchaser to hire a home inspector to report on any deficiencies in the home that could ruin a deal. It is important that your plumbing is in good working condition, that you have safe wiring and a proper hydro panel, that any leaks you are aware of be repaired prior to listing the house, or any foundation problems be addressed. It is also a good idea to get your water tested because a potential buyer will want to know that the water is safe to drink. You can pick up a free water testing kit from your local health department. The turnaround time is about 3 business days. Also make sure that your house is clean and free from clutter.
Clean out your closets and get rid of stuff that you don't use anymore or rent a storage locker to temporarily store things that you don't need. If you like nicknacks, now is the time to pack them away. Also remember to clean out your kitchen cupboards and bathroom vanities and to wipe down the shelves. Don't assume that people won't be bold enough to look in your closets and cupboards because they will! Your kitchen will be one of the big sellers in your home so its best to keep the counter free from clutter and do not leave dirty dishes in the sink. Make sure your counters are shiny and clean because if you have an attractive countertop, people like to run their hands over it. (I'm not sure why). If you plan to sell your appliances with the home, ensure that they are kept clean and in good working condition.
Your floors shoud be clean with no stains on carpets and try to keep the windows clean. I know this is hard if you have kids or pets. It is also a good idea to wipe down your trim and walls and repaint areas if they need to be freshened. If you have a smoker in the house make sure that he/she smokes outside because the smell of stale cigarette smoke will also turn off a pontential buyer. If you can afford it, you may consider hiring a cleaning lady to come in once a week to give your home a thorough cleaning.
When you have a showing, make sure that all laundry is folded and put away or put dirty clothes in a hamper with a lid. The laundry room is another selling feature and it should be kept neat and tidy. Also check all lighting fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs. Lighting is key at a showing and it is a good idea to turn every light in the house on during a showing. Its also best if you are not in the home at the time of a showing. If you are able, you should go out for an hour or so to make the potential buyers feel more comfortable and relaxed while looking at your home.
Your front yard is the first impression of your home so keep it neat and tidy and keep the grass cut and weed the flower gardens regularly. Remove anything that looks like clutter and keep your walkways clear of dirt and snow. You could also repaint your garage door and front door as well. Just make sure you pick a colour that suits the colours of your brick or siding.
Just remember to keep everything in good condition and to finish off any handy work or renovations you started