Real Estate by Debbie Reynolds: Checklist for Sellers Leaving Town Before It’s Sold

Checklist for Sellers Leaving Town Before It’s Sold

If you have to leave your home before it is sold

you need to make sure it is cared for until the new owners buy and close on their new home. Sellers that want to continue to keep their homes on the market need to make certain the showings will continue. A house needs care even if nobody is living there.

Moving van

Absentee sellers tend to want to scale back on expenses, cut off the utilities and use lawn cutting services only when the grass is knee high. Don’t give into this temptation. Keep it looking like a home that is loved and cared for by the owner.  You don’t want your home to look neglected or abandoned. This checklist can help you keep your home looking good until closing day.

1) Forward your mail- If you still get the newspaper delivery, discontinue it. If you get frequent deliveries via FedEx or UPS notify them that you have relocated. Packages at the door and newspapers in the driveway attract thieves.


2) Curb appeal gets buyers in the front door-- Neatly trimmed landscape and lawn makes the home looked well maintained. Failure to cut the grass makes it look like the seller doesn’t care and devalues the property.

3) Keep the thermostat at a moderately comfortable level- In summer set your control at 78. This will still be comfortable for showings. In the winter 62 degrees will feel warm when coming in from freezing temperatures. Don’t make the buyer question whether the heating and cooling unit is working. A comfortable house will keep the buyers looking longer.


4) Buyers like light- I suggest leaving a light or two on and have you check-in person rotate them throughout the house. Cloudy day or evening hour showings go better with a little light along the way.


5) No utilities on makes a buyer think you are in financial trouble- Keeping your utilities on will make the house feel like a home. You will be ready for an offer and all the inspections. Turning utilities off can strain the systems when they are restarted.


6) Plumbing lines and fixtures-- I suggest turning the circuit off to the water heater. This will keep your water heating bill in check. The home inspector can easily reset it to check that it is working properly when you have a contract.


7) Turn blinds to let some light in- Closing shades and blinds all the way makes for dark unpleasant showings. The goal is to attract buyers not turn a buyers off with a dark house they can’t see.


8) Ask a friend to keep a watchful eye- A neighbor is the best choice to do a routine check on the property inside and out. You never know when a leak or storm damage may happen.


9) Notify your insurance and mortgage company you are leaving-  This may result in a different kind of insurance coverage and you need to make sure you are covered.


10) Light housekeeping- Have routine touch ups done to remove the wear and tear of foot traffic dirt and to keep cobwebs and dead bugs swept up. Flush and swish out the toilets and sinks. Put air fresheners or bowls of vinegar around to keep it smelling fresh.


Assure that your house is buyer ready and looks like the owner of the home still cares. For Clarksville TN Real Estate click here or contact Debbie Reynolds at 931-320-6730.

Photo courtesy of

 Centruy 21 Platinum Properties2130 Wilma Rudolph Blvd.

Clarksville, TN 37040

When you need Real Estate services in Clarksville TN

                  it would be my pleasure to assist you!                             

Debbie Reynolds
"The Real Debbie Reynolds"

Check out all Clarksville TN Real Estate on My Website

931-771-9070 Office | 931-320-6730 Cell

Clarksville TN Homes 


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Comment balloon 30 commentsDebbie Reynolds • March 28 2016 08:46PM


Good morning Debbie Reynolds,

Excellent check list for sellers who are leaving town! You definitely don't want your home to look abandoned or neglected!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) about 3 years ago

This is a great check list...thank you for sharing it !

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) about 3 years ago

Debbie, excellent advice, and this does happen.   The big one I find is, you have to have someone do your shoveling or you could end up with a fine!  

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) about 3 years ago

This is an excellent checklist for sellers that have to move out before the house is sold.

Posted by Roger D. Mucci, Lets shake things up at your home today! (Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092) about 3 years ago

Hi Debbie Reynolds Good advice. Let's hope they take it.

Bill Roberts

Posted by Bill Roberts, "Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner (Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate) about 3 years ago

Good morning Debbie. Sellers do sometimes want to save money, but if they don't follow these suggestions it will cost them.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) about 3 years ago

I saw 78 and said wow thats hot Debbie Reynolds as we are not in AC season, but yes for summer, that is better than 90 and muggy inside a home. Too many sellers dont think of these and hurt their own sale. 

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) about 3 years ago

Debbie, this is an excellent checklist for sellers who are leaving town. They do often want to save money but, by following your list it will save them in the long run.

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group ) about 3 years ago

Hi Debbie, this is great!  Thanks for sharing this.  

Posted by Chad McDowell, FHA and VA Mortgage Loans Snohomish County, WA (First Time Home Buyers, Pre-approvals, Fixed Rates) about 3 years ago

Hi Debbie, this is a great checklist for absentee owners as well as seasonal occupants. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) about 3 years ago

Good afternoon Debbie, your checklist is really critical for both absentee owners and seasonal occupants, as Beth Atalay points out.  Having someone to watch out - a friend or caretaker is always one of the most important things that you can do, in case something unexpected arises - and it always does!

Posted by Joanna Cohlan, Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes (Fresh Eyes For Your Home) about 3 years ago

Hi Debbie,
This is a very useful post.  The insurance issue is one many people do not realize. Best to check!  Thanks for the post.  

Posted by Carol Williams, Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager (Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.) about 3 years ago

These are good points Debbie.  Our friends moved out of state but staged their home and had a cleaning person attend to the day to day in side and out.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) about 3 years ago

Excellent list Debbie, all these tips are so good and with all the confusion who can remember?

Posted by Noah Seidenberg, Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917 (Coldwell Banker) about 3 years ago

Debbie these are all great suggestions, especially number #9.  Most people do not think about that one.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) about 3 years ago

Great information Debbie Reynolds and advise to absentee homeowners .

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) about 3 years ago

All great tips Debbie, however, in our market, neither an inspector or appraiser will turn on a breaker.

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) about 3 years ago


Great check list for leaving your home before it's sold.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) about 3 years ago


Congratulations on the earning the feature for an outstanding post.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) about 3 years ago

Debbie Reynolds Just the advice sellers need when vacating their house before it is sold.  There is nothing appealing about walking into a dark, cold house. Congrats on feature post

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) about 3 years ago

Good Evening Debbie Reynolds thanls for sharing your fabulous list.

Posted by Joy Bender, San Diego Partner - The Private Client Team (Compass) about 3 years ago

A fairly good checklist you have here. Everybody should make room for their own specialties as well.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 3 years ago

I guess you're right, joy! Debbie's list is pretty fabulous, but did you expect any less fabulousness? Joy Bender

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 3 years ago

Wonderful checklist for sellers who will leave their property vacant. Want to discourage those that want to prey on a vacant home as well as keeping the property looking spiffy for showings!

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) about 3 years ago

Debbie as always great advice and hope the sellers are reading your post and hopefully they have not left yet:))Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) about 3 years ago

Yes, this is so true. Keeping the house looking great, with all utilities working, is the way to get it sold!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, about 3 years ago

This is a great checklist. I will share it with home sellers.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 3 years ago

Hey Debbie-all important points for the to do list for absentee sellers-congrats on the feature!

Posted by Marco Giancola, Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida (Beachfront Realty) about 3 years ago

This is a very good checklist for home sellers. I will schedule a reblog.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) about 3 years ago

Cutting off utilities here in the Summer is an absolute "No". The home will be above 90 degrees inside and without water, grass and plants will die very quickly in this heat. Making your home too hot to view and ruining the curb appeal is no way to sell a house. 

Posted by Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert, Broker/Owner of Zion Realty (Zion Realty) about 3 years ago