How to be a Thoughtful Seller

Home Stager

How to be a Thoughtful Seller


You’ve sold your home! The movers are scheduled, boxes are packed and you are ready for your next adventure in your new home! 


Your agent has told you about leaving your home Broom Clean. Many sellers hire a service to thoroughly clean their homes after the movers have left. It’s the courteous thing to do. 

But wait…don’t stop there. Be a thoughtful seller and consider this…


Gather papers

In an envelope or file box, place the instructions for appliances, the garage door opener, pool pump, air conditioner, and anything else that is staying with the house.

If you have receipts for repairs and services that you’ve had on any of the above, it’s a nice idea to include those as well. 

 Garage door openers

If you have a newer car, you may have the opener programmed into your car and you tossed out the original opener.

It would be a nice gesture to find at least one universal remote and have it programmed for the new owner. You can find them on Amazon for around $25. 


Remove all trash

As you are moving, leave trash bags in every room.  This makes it easy for you, friends, or family members to toss trash right out. No one wants to walk into their new home and see trash everywhere. 



 Ask before leaving…

Don’t assume that your new homeowners will want your extra paint cans, wallpaper, tile, etc.  They may be planning on some remodeling or updating to make it their own.  It’s kinder not to have to make them figure out how to dispose of your items. 


 Leave them some light.

You will have removed your lamps so the only light the buyers will have until they unpack their lamps, will be your overhead lights, and those other fixtures that are staying with the house. 

Be kind, and check to make sure that all light bulbs are working.


Leave names and numbers.

Your buyers may be new to the area or community, so it would be nice to leave:

Emergency numbers

Local service numbers and addresses for the cleaners, post office, grocery store, yard services, etc.

Recommendations for local restaurants and delivery services

Take out menus

Days for trash pickup

The local veterinarian, dentist, Urgent Care

 Patch holes left by photos and other hangings. 

This is really easy to do if you plan for it… gather the materials you’ll need and patch as you remove the hangings


 Leave a note with one or more self-addressed stamped envelopes for any extra mail that may be delivered after you leave. 

To really make a nice impression:

Leave a Welcome Home note. Some sellers have left flowers or a plant...a gift certificate to the local store, or the local newspaper



There’s nothing that says you have to do these things but think about how nice it would be if your seller did it for you. 

Posted by

Kathy Streib
Retired Home Stager
and Interior Redesign

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Comments (25)

faye schubert
Retired - Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

I left the buyers a detailed list of all of the things I thought they would need to know about the home. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

May 11, 2023 05:02 AM
Kathy Streib

faye schubert good Southern background, right?!  When we bought one of our homes, the seller even labeled some light switches that might have been hard to figure out. 

May 11, 2023 02:55 PM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

New homeowners always appreciate when the sellers are thoughtful and will do all of the things you have mentioned in your post.  There is no reason not to be thoughtful when selling a home.

May 11, 2023 05:12 AM
Kathy Streib

Brian England I agree. Some of these things, a seller can do long before the house is under contract. 

May 11, 2023 02:57 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

These are excellent tips for sellers! Buyers love walking into their new home to find that not only is it clean but the sellers left everything important to have/know!

May 11, 2023 05:18 AM
Kathy Streib

Kat Palmiotti I've always appreciated the appliance manuals and lists of garbage dates. 

May 11, 2023 02:58 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Good morning, Kathy.
These are great suggestions. I have always done most of those things, including hiring a professional cleaner since I'm busy doing other stuff during a move.

May 11, 2023 05:23 AM
Kathy Streib

Carol Williams we've usually hired professionals because of timing. Often we're leaving town right after closing and when the moving trucks are pulling out of the driveway. 

May 11, 2023 02:59 PM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em:

Great information. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your week!

May 11, 2023 05:48 AM
Kathy Streib

Bill Salvatore - East Valley Hope that you too are enjoying yt our week. 

May 11, 2023 03:03 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kathy, most sellers are courteous, and do the right thing, then there are the "others".

May 11, 2023 06:53 AM
Kathy Streib

Joan Cox there will always be people like that, right?

May 11, 2023 03:04 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Hello Kathy and happy Thursday. Great tips, thank you for sharing!

May 11, 2023 07:05 AM
Kathy Streib

Lise Howe Happy Thursday to you too!!!  

May 11, 2023 03:05 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

These are good tips to share with home sellers.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.

May 11, 2023 07:24 AM
Kathy Streib

Hi Roy Kelley I hope that Chef Dolores is doing better. 

May 11, 2023 03:05 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Kathy Streib 

These are wonderful suggestions for sellers to help the new owners feel welcome, and get settled in their new home. Some sellers go way beyond the minimum when they move out, some barely do anything...even the broom clean.


May 11, 2023 08:34 AM
Kathy Streib

Hi Jeff Dowler, CRS and Thank you!!!

I agree, there will always be some sellers who do the minimum and sadly, they think it's ok. 


May 11, 2023 03:07 PM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Kathy and great tips to share with us here in the Rain.  I see a reblog on this in the future.


May 11, 2023 09:33 AM
Kathy Streib

Thank you Will Hamm Appreciate it. 

May 11, 2023 06:28 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

 Hi Kathy this is a wonderful list of how to be a thoughtful seller.!! Most of our sellers have done a great job of leaving the home clean, leaving essential paperwork and important numbers or contacts the new owners might need. If needed we'll have our cleaners clean a home, especially if seller is selling remotely.  One thing sellers must do is remove all paint cans etc etc, unless the the buyers have expressed and interest in keeping them.

May 11, 2023 10:41 AM
Kathy Streib

Thanks, Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker I love it when sellers leave instructions and phone numbers as well as take-out menus. Goodness knows there's no time to cook on moving day or moving week. 

May 11, 2023 06:30 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten

I'll have to share a story about writing pizza into an offer on moving day for the buyers - their choice of pizza!

May 11, 2023 08:46 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

I have had sellers leave a bottle of champagne for the new owners, and papers relating to equipment, but this list is extensive and so thoughtful.

May 11, 2023 10:58 AM
Kathy Streib

Hi Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 I love the bottle of champagne!!! Now that's really special. 

May 11, 2023 06:32 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Kathy it is funny you mentioned paint cans.  I had one borrower who the seller thought they were doing them a favor by leaving 25 paint cans behind.  It did not go well at the closing, and the seller ended up removing all of them.

May 11, 2023 02:18 PM
Kathy Streib

George Souto Sellers may think they're doing a favor for the new owners but who wants to try to dispose of paint cans!!! It's better to ask first. 

May 11, 2023 06:33 PM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

I really believe they should scrub it down or hire a cleaning service to make it beautiful!

May 11, 2023 02:24 PM
Kathy Streib

Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty I agree!  We've always hired our cleaners to thoroughly clean after the movers have left. 

May 11, 2023 06:39 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Kathy Streib - Your suggestions are thoughtful and the right things to do.  I usually pay for a service to come in and clean the entire house.  I ask the homeowner to do many of those other areas you recommended.  I do also like to reach out to the buyer to make sure they have the utilities changed to their name. 

I really like your last suggestion to make a nice impression.  A thoughtful note is something I would personally keep. 

May 11, 2023 02:48 PM
Kathy Streib

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® depending upon the circumstances of the transaction,  Leaving a nice note, even if short leaves a nice impression. 

May 11, 2023 06:43 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

BTW - I have found that both the seller and the buyer appreciate more than any other gift I could give them. It is not cheap! 

Not only do I know it got done, but my sellers tell me it is the most stressful part of moving.  Not only do they have to pack and move, then they have to try to get it cleaned. 

May 11, 2023 02:53 PM
Kathy Streib

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® I agree. When you're trying to move, there's little energy left to clean your home . 

May 11, 2023 07:02 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten

Totally agree Sheri Sperry - MCNE® - we have done so many, many times and it is so appreciated by the sellers.

May 11, 2023 08:47 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I like that idea about gathering up papers to help instruct buyers about appliances and nuances of the home.  I remember when I purchased my second home, there was a pond in the backyard.  However, there were no instructions as to where the switch to it was.  We were fortunate enough to find the seller after close of escrow who gave the information we needed.  The switch was actually behind some shrubbery behind a little rock garden, several feet away!

May 11, 2023 07:15 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Kathy, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

May 11, 2023 07:18 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Kathy Streib  what an awesome post a must read for all sellers, too bad it did not get Featured by AR....Endre

May 11, 2023 10:47 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Helping the buyer to become more acquainted with the home is so very thoughtful, Kathy. In all my years of experience, it is the older home sellers that will do this much more often than the younger ones. 

May 12, 2023 07:13 AM