Prepare Your Home for Sale

Peter Walsh, Professional Organizer from TLC's hit series Clean Sweep is an inspiration to many.  Even Oprah has taken notice of his amazing talent for helping people to clear the clutter and has invited him to her show on numerous occasions.  Peter's greatest message is that an orderly clutter-free life is a happy peaceful life.

In Peter's book, How to Organize Just About Everything, the Ultimate Guide to Getting it All Together, he gives more than 500 step-by-step plans from organizing closets to planning a wedding to creating a flawless filing system. Below is an excerpt (Step 96, to be exact) from the book that is helpful information for sellers to consider.


Real estate agents have a saying: "The way you sell your home is not the way you live in it."  That may be true, so try to look at your home through the eyes of a buyer when you're preparing it for sale.  The hard part?  Keeping the house spotless day after day for prospective buyers who may show up on a half-hour's notice.


  1. Maximize your home's curb appeal.  Feed, mow and water your lawn regularly.  Plant colorful annual flowers near the door, and make sure you weed and trim the rest of your garden.  Wash the windows and pick up the trash.  (For us living in Canada, especially during the winter months, make sure your driveway, sidewalks, walkways, etc. are fully cleared.  Use a snow blower on the drive, if you have one, or if you are energetic, do it by hand with a shovel.  Make sure that ice melter or salt is used at the entrance to avoid any slip and falls.  Just because it's too cold for blooms doesn't mean that buyers wouldn't appreciate a nice urn of winter greenery...anything that adds life to the exterior makes a great first impression.)
  2. Perform any needed repairs on the interior or exterior of your home.  Fix, paint or cosmetically enhance anything that might hinder a sale.
  3. De-clutter all rooms to make them look and feel larger.  Also, clear out the closets so they look roomier.
  4. Clean the oven, stove, refrigerator, exhaust fan and kitchen sink very thoroughlyand keep them clean.  Clean the kitchen counters of items you don't use daily.
  5. Replace the toilet seat and shower curtain.  Clean the bathroom thoroughly and hang fresh towels every day.
  6. Send your pets to camp.  You love 'em, but your potential buyers may be afraid or allergic.  Deal with the pest problems, such as mice, fleas and flies.
  7. Vacuum your carpets or have them professionally cleaned.  Clean and polish all smooth floors.
  8. Fix ripped window screens.  Replace cracked or broken panes, and make sure all windows open, close and lock smoothly.
  9. Patch any holes or cracks in the walls and ceilings.  Given them a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color such as off-white.  (Be sure you allow enough time for paint to dry so the house doesn't have that fresh-paint smell.)
  10. Have your house professionally staged.  This will cost you, but staging a home aesthetically can shorten the time to sell and boost the bidding.*
  11. Keep your garage door closed, no matter how spiffed up you keep your garage.


Consider hiring a professional for yard care or housecleaning until your house sells.  The dollars you spend on curb appeal will often come back through a higher sale price.

Some homeowners choose to rent a storage until while their house is on the market, putting in some of their extra furniture and other belongings.  Don't just pile stuff in the garagebuyers will want to inspect that, too.

Put brighter bulbs in all your lamps.  Turn them on, even in the daytime, to brighten the house.


Give up smoking.  You probably can't smell it, but your house reeks of smoke.  Have drapes, curtains, upholstery and carpets professionally cleaned.  If you decide to continue smoking, do it outside and don't leave an unsightly bucket of butts next to a door. 

* Ask me about the COMPLIMENTARY Home Staging session I extend to my sellers!

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Julie D. Martin

Julie D. Martin

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Heritage House Ltd., Brokerage*
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