Checklist for Sellers

Just like making the decision to list a Lake Charles Home for Sale, Sellers can do some other simple things that can make the whole selling process go so much more smoothly.


Sellers should understand that eliminating as many hurdles as possible to the sale of your home will help you achieve your desired outcome.

Biggest seller mistakes


Overpriced Home

If you overprice your home there is a pretty good chance no one is going to want to buy it. Real estate agents do not set the real estate market. A great real estate agent will suggest a price at which to list your home based on comparable homes that have already sold in the market. Overpricing a home to ‘see if you can get someone to bite’ is not a strategy employed by someone really serious about selling. Overpricing a home will lead to missed opportunities with buyers that are serious about buying in the range at which your home should be listed.

The first week during which a home is listed will generally be the time that the most eyeballs are on the home and the largest potential pool of buyers will be exposed to the listing. Setting a price that reflects the market is essential to selling! This is exacerbated in a downward trending market. Many a seller has lost thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars chasing a market down after setting a listing price that was outside what the market was willing to bear.

Showing Availability – It’s Difficult to Set a Showing

The chances your home will sell when buyers can’t get in to physically inspect the property are minuscule. Sellers need to understand that listing a home for sale is going to lead to some inconveniences in your normal routine. Many serious buyers may want to physically inspect a property during times which may not be convenient for the seller. Knowing this, motivated sellers need to understand that flexibility in when you allow the home to be sold could have a direct impact on the sale of your home.

It’s not uncommon for sellers to see 8, 10, even 20 homes during a showing tour with their agent. If your house isn’t on that list because you only do showings on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm, you will miss out on ready, willing and able buyers.

As a seller, realize that the more people that can see the home in person, the more chance you have to find the buyer that wants your home.

Show ready means your Lake Charles home is prepared to show. Real estate agents can never predict when the Buyer may want to view a home, therefore Lake Charles Home Sellers should keep their Lake Charles Home show ready at all times. You don’t want to miss a showing! Buyers will be impacted with the first impression of how your Lake Charles home for sale appears to them.

 Cluttered Space – Unwilling to Depersonalize or Remove Clutter

Sellers are sometimes unwilling to either make the effort, or unwilling to compromise how they live in their home during the time the home is on the market for showings. Serious sellers realize that by depersonalizing the home and removing unwarranted clutter, it allows potential buyers to more easily visualize their own things in the house.

When you live in your home day in and day out, you become comfortable with your own ‘things’. In many cases, however, your ‘stuff’ can make a room feel smaller than it actually is and in some more extreme cases, your ‘stuff’ can completely distract someone from visualizing the potential of a room. We know you are proud of your kids as the shrine in the living room displays all of their ribbons, trophies and diplomas from the last 20 years. But for a buyer, this is only a distraction.

Many agents will make recommendations about ways to remove clutter or depersonalize your home. Some will even suggest that a professional homestager be brought it to completely maximize the space and create a setting maximizes the buyers ability to visualize their own things. The key thing to remember here is these suggestions are not personal and you may have to be a little uncomfortable so that your house puts it’s best foot forward.

 Unpleasant Odors in the House

Your home should welcome the buyer when they step through the front door. If a buyer smells smoke or cooking odors it could be a turn off. Try to air out your home an hour prior to showing. Brew some coffee or place fresh flowers for appealing scents.

Nothing will stop a potential buyer in their tracks faster than a strong odor of any sort. In some cases this could just be the left over smell from last nights dinner. In more extreme cases, agents tell horror stories of entering homes that have a bad smell of pet urine or smoking.

The main concern for the buyer is, of course, “is the house going to smell like this once we move in?” Real Estate agents confirm that many a buyer has passed on a home after coming to their own conclusion on that answer.

Your agent isn’t suggesting a fresh coat of paint and new carpet because they don’t like how things look. They are making this suggestion because they realize that the smoke odor in your home is going to be a major turn off for anyone thinking about buying your home.

 Seller Unwilling to Make Repairs Prior to Listing

No seller wants to spend a few thousand dollars making repairs to a house you are about to sell. Agents understand that. But they also understand that few buyers want to move in to a house that needs a bunch of work done immediately upon moving in.

One of your objectives to selling your home is to make it as appealing as possible to as wide of an audience as possible. If the seller is unwilling to make repairs, and a buyer doesn’t want a bunch of work upon moving in, you’ve shrunk the pool of potential buyers for your property.

The Home is Just Plain Messy

You were late for work this morning so you ran out of the house without picking up from last night’s dinner. Not a big deal…..unless you have potential buyers that will be stopping by.

Some people may be able to look past the dishes stacked up in the sink, but enough buyers won’t be able to look past the mess. Remember, buyers want to envision their things in your house. The more obstacles you put in the way, the harder time they have connecting with the home emotionally.

Take the time every day to make sure everything is cleaned up and the home is in showing condition.

A home that is neat and appealing to the eye will get the buyer’s attention. Think of showings and inspections as if you were planning for a dinner party guests–meaning clean all surfaces, and remove clutter so everything appears shiny and fresh!

First impressions matter sellers need to understand is buyers are looking at more than just one property. Lake Charles Home Sellers should concentrate on making their home stand out among the rest of Lake Charles homes for sale by keeping your home show ready. What does “show ready” mean?

Remove Your Pets

rosie and lola

Take your pet for a walk when the home is showing, it is best for the pet not to be inside during the viewing. Why–because some buyers may be fearful of pets or allergic to pets. Seeing a pet could also draw the buyer’s attention to look for damage to doors or scratches on the flooring.



 Save yourself inspection headaches and get a jump maintenance items.  If you’re not comfortable doing something, you may want to hire a professional to do it.

home inspection

Tips For Home Sellers: Getting Ready For Home Inspection

  • Make sure all interior and exterior light fixtures work.
  • Provide access to the  water heater and electric panel.
  • Install a new AC filter. It will be looked at during the inspection and be considered as part of the overall condition of the furnace or the heat pump.
  • Ensure all windows operate smoothly. If some are stuck or painted shut, the impression will be that many windows cannot open.
  • Replace all damaged window screens.
  • Tighten all doorknobs and tighten or repair all handrails, also check to be sure all interior doors will latch to the strike plate.
  • Make sure the attic is accessible, the inspector will enter the attic
  • Be sure that there is a minimum of one smoke detector per floor and that it is in proper working condition
  • Divert all water away from the house, i.e. down spouts, sump pump, condensation drain, etc.
  • Remove mulch from contact with siding, preferably 6 or more inches of clearance.
  • Remove rotting wood/firewood from contact with the house.
  • Clean out dirty gutters or debris from the roof.
  • Make sure all plumbing fixtures are in proper working order with no leaks.
  • Check that toilets are secure to the floor.
  • Check that bath vents are properly vented to the outside.
  • Install GFCI receptacles near all water sources; check present GFCI receptacles for proper operation.
  • Remove paint, solvents, gas, etc. from crawlspace, basement, attic, porch, etc.
  • If the house is vacant make sure all utilities are turned on.



  1. _____Does the doorbell work? Is it loose?
  2. _____From the ground, look at your roof for missing shingles.
  3. _____From the ground, look at your chimney. Does it have a rain cap and spark arrestors on it?
  4. _____Are the gutters and downspouts loose, damaged, or clogged?
  5. _____Are ventilation screens at the attic gable and soffit vents in place and undamaged?
  6. _____Does water pond near the foundation after running the landscape irrigation or after it rains?
  7. _____Are there any cracks in the foundation walls?
  8. _____Can you see evidence anywhere of termites, wasps, spiders, or bird nests?
  9. _____Does any exposed wood need painting?
  10. _____Is there any wood in direct contact with soil, including fences and gates?
  11. _____Are there any wires (electric, cable, phone) hanging loose on the exterior siding?
  12. _____Are there any holes or other damage to siding, doors, and windows?
  13. _____Are any fence sections leaning, missing, or damaged?
  14. _____Do gates open and close without scraping the structure or the ground?
  15. _____Are exterior outlets protected from weather and not in permanent use for landscape lighting or irrigation controls?
  16. _____Are retaining walls cracked or leaning?
  17. _____Is vegetation overgrown, especially in walkways; growing on siding, roof, chimney, fences, or in gutters; or too close to utility lines?
  18. _____Are there trip hazards in walkways, driveways, and stairways from deterioration, damage, or storage?
  19. _____Are guardrails and handrails loose or damaged at stairways, decks, balconies, and porches.
  20. _____Does the landscape lighting work?
  21. _____Does the irrigation system work without spraying on fences or buildings?
  22. _____Is the pool and spa in good condition and does the equipment work?
  23. _____Do ponds, fountains, and waterfalls work properly?
  24. _____Are ponds, fountains, and waterfalls protected from children?


  1. _____Are the towel holders and bathroom tissue holders damaged or missing?
  2. _____Are bathtubs, showers, and shower doors damaged?
  3. _____Are floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors and walls tempered, including shower doors (look for safety seal in one of the corners)?
  4. _____Do carbon monoxide detectors work?
  5. _____Do smoke alarms work, and are they are present on each floor of multi-story houses and in each bedroom?
  6. _____Are kitchen and bathroom countertops loose?
  7. _____Do doors (including closet doors and cabinet doors), drawers, and windows work?
  8. _____Is there missing, loose, or damaged hardware on doors (including closet doors and cabinet doors), drawers (stops and guides), and windows.
  9. _____Are glass panes loose or cracked in windows and doors?
  10. _____Do latches/locks work on doors (including closet doors and cabinet doors), drawers, and windows?
  11. _____Are screen windows damaged?
  12. _____Is there excessive storage in closets, attic, or garage?
  13. _____Are there any holes or other damage to walls and ceilings?
  14. _____Are there any unexplained moisture stains on ceilings and walls; around doors and windows; near sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and showers; and near the dishwasher?
  15. _____Are guardrails and handrails in stairways loose, missing, or damaged?
  16. _____Are baseboards and door and window moldings loose, damaged, or missing?
  17. _____Are any tiles (floor, walls, and countertops) loose or damaged?
  18. _____Doo all kitchen appliances work?
  19. _____Is there an anti-tip device on the stove?
  20. _____Are filters in place and clean (kitchen range hood, heating/cooling, bathroom fans, etc.)?
  21. _____Is there soot, cobwebs, or wildlife in the fireplace and lower areas of the chimney?
  22. _____Does the fireplace damper open and close easily?
  23. _____Do you have any manufacturer installation guides, user guides to provide to your buyer?
  24. _____Do you have any architectural drawings for renovations to provide to your buyer?
  25. _____Do you have any receipts or warranty papers for any work done on the property, particularly for inspections and work done to prepare the property for sale?


  1. _____Do all the stoppers work in bathtubs and sinks?
  2. _____Are any drains clogged or abnormally slow?
  3. _____Are any toilet seats loose or damaged?
  4. _____Are faucets dripping or leaking around the base?
  5. _____Do your faucet handles have a stop action on them?
  6. _____Are any hot and cold water pipes reversed at sinks, bathtubs, or showers? (Cold on the right, hot on the left!)
  7. _____Is the caulk or grout in sinks, bathtubs, and showers all black and cracked?
  8. _____Do you have safe and easy access to water shutoff valves (street curb, water heater, sinks, toilets, etc.).
  9. _____Do you have safe and easy access to gas shutoff valves (meter, furnace, water heater, etc.).
  10. _____Are toilets loose at the floor?
  11. _____Are toilet tanks loose?


  1. _____Do you have safe and easy access to electric panels?
  2. _____Do ceiling fans work on all speeds?
  3. _____Do ceiling fans wobble or make weird noises?
  4. _____Are all light bulbs working?
  5. _____Do you have any damaged or loose outlets or light switches, including covers for outlets and switches?
  6. _____Do you have a lot of extension cords and outlet multipliers?
  7. _____Do all outlets work?
  8. _____Do you have outdated two-prong outlets?
  9. _____Do you have GFCI outlets in the kitchen, bathrooms, garage, and exterior?
  10. _____Do exhaust fans work in kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry area?
  11. _____Do all electrical junction boxes have covers?


Marilyn Boudreaux is a Full Time Licensed REALTOR in the State of Louisiana affiliated with Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.’s.

Copyright 2014 Marilyn Boudreaux

Marilyn Boudreaux, REALTOR® 337-499-9592

Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.’s

4410 Nelson Road

Lake Charles, LA USA 70605

337 478-1578