Begin with the general maintenance. Replace burnt out light bulbs, clean the windows, window sills and doors, oil the doors if they are creaky, polish the doorknobs and repair any faulty hinges or hardware.
Repair or replace leaking or damaged toilets, sinks or bathtubs and shower doors. Replace broken mirrors.
Repair any old plaster, touch up or repaint the interior and exterior of the home, repair any broken steps or stairways and replace or repair the doorbell if it is in need. Repair any broken electrical sockets or have a professional do the repair for you. Change any broken or cracked light fixtures.
Scrub and polish the kitchen electric stove. You will want to replace any burners, burner pans or elements in the stove that may not be working. Clean the refrigerator and make sure it is in good working order and that it seals properly.
Once the general maintenance is completed, start on the general cleaning, polishing and do not skip any area at all.
You will want to clean all carpets, pet areas, bath fixtures and bathrooms should be cleaned and polished and the kitchen sink and faucet also. Consider replacing any soiled carpet or torn linoleum floor coverings or tile.
Clean the furnace, replace filters if needed, clean the washer, dryer and clean the lint filter also.
Get rid of all clutter, even if you have to rent a storage building. You are wanting to display a spacious home with everything neat and tidy. Clear the stairs, halls, make the closets tidy and neat also.
Remove all extra small appliances from the counter tops along with anything else that appears as cluttered. Remove excess furniture to an outdoor storage building or rent one as suggested above. Don’t forget the basement, to have it in clean and uncluttered condition.
Manicure the landscape and have it appear tidy and cared for. Consider adding plants, shrubs or trees to improve the appearance. Weed and edge gardens and flower beds. Remove any debris or litter. Clean the walk and driveway of litter, leaves or snow. Trim up the hedges and trees if applicable. Make sure the lawn is mowed.
Stage the home with plants, lamps, new light fixtures, new drapes, blinds, and borrow or buy the nicest decorative accents that you can afford.
Depersonalize the areas by removing family pictures, posters and items that are personal. Highlight features in the rooms and draw attention to them by not hiding them with large objects such as plants.
The home will need to look well kept and brightly lit inside. If you have a fireplace and the season allows, light it. Consider playing soft quiet music when there is a showing and if you have a realtor, then you should be absent. Let the realtor do their job.