Successfully List Your Home with Terrie’s Presale Tips


Find an incredible Realtor. A reliable real estate agent is the key to a successful move. Ask around for referrals, and be sure to check out their websites, listing photos and marketing materials. Stopping by open houses in your area is another low-pressure way to meet a variety of agents and collect information.

Terrie Cox, RE/MAX’s top real estate broker in Oregon and Washington, helps her clients navigate their lengthy pre-sale to-do lists. With her guidance, your listing will get excellent exposure and you’ll be professionally represented in negotiations, resulting in unbeatable offers and shorter time on the market overall.

Make peace with moving before listing. It’s normal to get attached to your home, but concentrating on selling with a negative attitude is difficult. Allow time to feel sadness or loss, then focus on the positive aspects of moving (i.e. more space for your growing family, shorter commute, fenced yard for your dog).

Begin cleaning, organizing and decluttering. Realtors advise making your house feel clean and neutral so potential buyers can imagine living there. Pack personal effects like photos and souvenirs, stow small kitchen appliances to show off counter space and find a tidy spot for toys, if you have children or pets. This is a great time to toss, donate or sell things that won’t be making the move with you.

Get your legal ducks in a row. Are there any incurred debts or liens against your property? Resolve them. Do you own it jointly with siblings or a divorced spouse? Get their consent. Do you know where your important documents are (i.e. deed, surveys, appraisals, documentation of repairs or improvements, tenant agreements, community covenants)? Find them. All of this will come up during negotiations.


Take action.

Get a pre-sale inspection and appraisal. A thorough inspection will identify problems in your home, giving you a chance to fix them before you list and, potentially, leverage during negotiations. The appraisal will guide how you and your agent price your home, taking into account the improvements you’ve made, property value increases and similarly priced homes in your area. Your agent can help you find qualified service professionals.

Make necessary repairs. Address issues with HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems, as well as problems with your roof, basement or attic, particularly mold or moisture inside. Alternatively, be prepared to disclose serious problems to the buyer and, potentially, accept a lower offer.

Spruce up a few other things, too. Outdated or ugly landscaping, fixtures, appliances or walkways can be enough to turn buyers off of an otherwise perfect home. But fixes don’t need to be expensive to be effective. Smoothing sticky drawers or doors, repairing that leaky sink, adding plants to your porch or replacing old light fixtures can make your place look inviting and move-in ready.

Be smart about updating. You may be considering a glamorous remodel to raise your home’s selling price. While a new kitchen or master suite may contribute to a faster sale or higher offers, you probably won’t recoup the entire cost of the renovation. If you do remodel, select neutral, high-quality finishes. But never underestimate the impact — and reasonable price tag — of fresh paint.


List it.

List your house and spread the word. Arrange professional listing photos of your home, and take your agent’s advice on staging and improving curb appeal. Check the listing and marketing materials to ensure all details are correct.

Your agent will market the home to potential buyers, as well as other agents. Terrie invests in each of her listings, using a mix of traditional advertising channels (signs, flyers and newspaper listings) as well as digital media (online ads, social media posts, photo galleries and video tours, email newsletters and more) to attract attention to your home. You also can share your listing with friends, family and your social network.

Terrie Cox is a Certified Negotiation Expert and a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist. She has helped clients in the Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, areas price their homes competitively and sell quickly for 30 years. If you’re thinking about listing, call or text her at (360) 607-4100 or email


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