Preparing Your House For Sale

Preparing Your House For Sale

First Impressions are so important as your potential buyer drives up to your home. Can they see themselves living here? Are they excited?

You can maximize your home’s curb appeal with the following tips:


  • The windows and trim on the home should be in great, if not excellent condition. You may need to scrape and repaint or at least give everything a good wash down with a good exterior cleaning product.
  • The windows and any screens should be cleaned inside and out.
  • The lawn should be frequently cut, planting beds and walkways edged.
  • Flower beds tamed and weeded.
  • Prune overgrown trees. You want the buyer to be able to see your home.
  • Repair any cracks or deterioration in the foundation, steps, walkways, patios, driveways and walls.
  • Clean out the gutters and downspouts of any debris and make sure they are all properly secured and in good working order.
  • Repair and repaint any loose siding.
  • Re-caulk any cracked or separated areas.
  • In the fall, rake and remove the leaves, daily.
  • In the winter, shovel daily. Keep your walkway and driveway clear of snow and ice.
  • Plant your gardens with bright, hardy annuals and keep them watered and fertilized for maximum impact.
  • Either invest in a planter insert, have a professional landscaper do your urns or do them yourself, but don’t scrimp. Beautiful urns set an excellent first impression.
  • Sweep out the garage and get it cleaned out of “stuff” which we all know will need to thrown out in any event.
  • Paint or re-stain the front door, give it a good wipe down and ensure the hardware is tight and working properly. While you are at it, put some wd40 in the lock so that when the buyer’s agent comes to use the key in the lockbox, it unlocks easily.
  • If you have an old screen door, remove it. It mars the look of your home and you won’t be living there soon. If you do, properly fill in the screw holes in the trim and give everything a good coat of paint.


    • Clean every room in the house. Hire a professional carpet cleaner or rent one from the grocery store. They work well.
    • Get out the base board attachment on the vacuum and clean all the trim baseboards
    • Eliminate stacks! – stacks of newspapers, mail, kids books and toys. If you have too much stuff, rent a storage space for your personal belongings. We make the house look like how people live in Architectural Digest, not how they actually live with kids.
    • Anything on shelves should be artfully placed not functionally placed. So bookshelves are now for objet d’art, selected books, family pictures etc,
    • Don’t let garbage or recycling accumulate. Get it out to the garage or exterior bins
    • Neutralize Colour. White or less saturated tones of grey, cream, blue etc. are fine.
    • Store any highly personal, religious, political, controversial items out of sight. You are depersonalizing your home, so that other people can see their belongings in the home. Don’t distract them with personal statements.
    • Too much furniture, too heavy, too dated? Seriously consider your realtor’s advice if he or she suggests staging the home with newer furniture and accessories. The cost is generally more than recouped in a higher selling price in a short period of time.
    • Get the handy-man in. All pot lights must be working, all electrical fixtures have working light bulbs, all handles secure. Complete any unfinished small jobs, repair any plumbing irregularities, cracks etc.
      • Clean the drains with drain cleaner
      • Scrub all mildew or stains in the shower and around the toilet
      • Close the toilet seat and line up the shower and sink faucets
      • Clean the glass shower enclosure
      • Get a new fresh shower curtain
      • Put out fresh, crisp towels
      • Put away your personal products
      • Clean the oven and the toaster
      • Stainless appliances should be shining and finger-print free
      • Cook lightly or order in. You don’t want strong smells lingering and it is hard enough keeping the house in perfect shape AND cook five course meals.
      • Remove most small appliances, knife blocks, dish racks off the counters.
      • Scrub that sink ‘til it shines
      • Countertops clean and polish
      • Get some advice on what, if any minor kitchen remodeling is a good idea. Sometimes a fresh coat of paint on old cabinets, new hardware and a matte black plastic laminate countertop can go a long way in “updating” a kitchen.
      • Consider baking some cookies or slow heating some cinnamon in water prior to open houses and showings to give the house a homey smell.
      • Invest in some orchids or other flower plants that can stay out on the kitchen island or on a coffee table and will last a few weeks. A bowl of lemons is also a great “staging” staple!

Finally, cross your fingers and hope that it will sell fast. At which point, you can bring out some of your personal effects and that dish rack. Maybe you will have enjoyed some parts of your “staged” life and some of the clutter will remain banished!