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Preparing your Home for the Market

Get the highest possible offer

Now that you have decided to sell, it’s time to get busy. A home needs to be tidy, clutter-free and camera ready before it hits the market. Because buying a home is a sensory experience, a place must look, feel and even smell appealing to attract top offers.

The property also needs to be maintained in a show-ready shape throughout the sales period. A potential buyer can surface at any time.

Much of what needs to be done involves little cost beyond your own labor. Sometimes however, you have to spend money to make money. Fixing anything that’s broken and doing a little refreshing can speed up a sale. These often nominal expenses also may result in a higher sales price.

It’s my job as your agent to offer valuable advice on what needs to be updated or repaired before your home is listed.

Please keep in mind that many buyers will make their purchase conditional on the results of a professional home inspection. If your budget allows, I always recommend to hire your own inspector before the house is for sale. That way you can deal with any issues cited and won’t be blindsided later on.

Tidy-up & Organise

Simple cleaning and de-cluttering will go a long way toward making a house ready to show. For Example:

  • Steam clean existing carpet, clean tile and grout, and polish floors.
  • Scrub bathrooms and kitchen to the point of sparkle.
  • Dust and polish all furnishings
  • Dust or wash blinds, and wash or replace window treatments.
  • Clean appliances inside and out.
  • Clear all clutter such as toys, clothes, paper, files or piles of anything.
  • Organize items in boxes and create a separate space for storage – don’t stuff clutter in closets.
  • Clean closets as much as possible. Donate or store unneeded clothing.
  • Clean and organize drawers and cabinets.
  • Don’t forget the garage, basement and attic. Make sure they are clean and uncluttered.
  • Keep boxes and packing materials neatly in designated areas and don’t block walkways.

Make repairs!

Believe it or not, something as minor as a blown or missing light bulb can become a big deal during a sale. If a light doesn’t come on when a home inspector flips a switch, you may find yourself facing a request that “non-working fixtures” be checked by a professional electrician.

Here are a few other common issues of the fix-it-now-or-hear-about-it-later variety:

  • Plumbing leaks, including in fixtures such as jetted tubs
  • Roofing defects such as missing shingles or damaged flashing
  • Rotted or otherwise damaged trim or siding
  • Loose handrails or deck rails
  • Cooling and heating system deficiencies
  • Unsealed or non-working windows
  • Broken or unhinged closet doors

Quick Takes:

  • Do doors, cabinets and drawers open smoothly and quietly?
  • Are the toilet seats presentable?
  • Do any switch plates need to be replaced?

Freshen the Look

Everyone’s taste in decor is different, but the universal decorating principle of real estate marketing boils down to one word: ‘NEUTRALIZE’. A neutral palette offers buyers a move-in ready interior that won’t clash with their existing furnishings.

  • A good paint job in an off-white or pale neutral can do wonders.
  • Updating decor on most basic levels can add pizzazz A new window treatment or shower curtain may be just what the place needs.
  • De-clutter or pack away displays of photos, collectibles and artwork. Your tastes may not translate and could hide shelf or wall space.

Don’t Forget Scent

  • Air out your home and replace filters
  • Keep indoor pets clean and regularly clean their food bowls, cages, dedicated or enclosed pet areas, and litter boxes.
  • Keep garbage out of the main living areas and put out regularly
  • Consider using air fresheners but don’t overdo it.

Create Curb Appeal

As any real estate professional will tell you, a house can’t have too much curb appeal, and not only from the front view.

  • Clean or paint your home’s exterior.
  • Touch up or clean exterior doors, garage door, trim, shutters.
  • Clean and align gutters.
  • Wash windows.
  • Repair or paint porch, fences, gates.
  • Reseal driveway and tend to walkways and steps.
  • Tidy landscaping by removing weeds, trimming lawns and shrubs.
  • Replace worn doormats.
  • Remove out-of-season decorations and tone down ornate lawn or home adornment.
  • Make sure water features are working and with clean water or consider removing.

Be prepared to do a bit of work before you list your home and you will not only make it easier for your REALTOR® to sell your home but most times it will also put more money in your pocket on closing day.