Ask Gitta: I've noticed neighbours painting and cleaning before putting their homes up for sale. Is this necessary?


Dear Gitta: I’ve noticed neighbours painting and cleaning before putting their homes up for sale. Is this necessary?


Almost every home needs some spiffing up before it is listed, whether it’s additional landscaping, a fresh coat of paint, or just a deep cleaning . If a house looks bad from the outside, people think, “what haven’t they done on the inside?”

By doing little things such as trimming back bushes, cleaning the rook and gutters, and keeping the lawn neat, sellers can create a fresh inviting look.  Potted geraniums placed in front of the home look inviting and you can take them with you when you move.  Remembe -- buyers usually inflate the cost of repairs, so showing that your home is in a good state of repair not only fetches a higher price, but also reduces the selling period.

There is one thing no smart seller should avoid — cleaning!  It is my experience that a cluttered unclean house is the biggest hurdle to get over –- it sends the message that you ujst don’t take care of your home.  Common real estate cleaning tips include thoroughly cleaning carpets, scrubbing down bathrooms, wiping baseboards and, because closet space is such a hot commodity, thoroughly organizing closets.

Some points: people always look in closets, but no one looks under the bed (a great hiding spot for the clutter); remove small appliances from kitchen counters and personal items from vanities; remove as many knick-knacks or personal momentos as possible (look at the builders’ model homes – totally de-personalized).

Here are some quick tips on preparing your home for sale:

  • fix leaky faucets
  • replace loose door knobs
  • recaulk bathroom or kitchen tiles
  • add fresh coats of paint where peeling (especially the front door)
  • mow lawn, trim bushes, maintain or add to landscaping
  • scrub kitchens and bathrooms
  • dust
  • mop floors, vacuum carpets, remove stains
  • “thin out” furnishings to create “space”
  • reorganize closets
  • pack away knick-knacks, photos, trophies, and other personal items
  • eliminate odours
  • make sure house is a comfortable temperature
  • keep every light on and all drapes and blinds open during showings
  • reduce noise levels by turning off T.V., dishwasher, washer and dryer, and add soft music
  • make sure pets are off the premises during showings, or safely confined
  • your valuables should be stored temporarily in a bank or with family

Good luck with your house sale!

If there are any more questions that I can help you with, click here

Gitta Levi, Broker, Century 21 Heritage Group
Specializing in the needs of Seniors’ in the Greater Toronto Area

Direct line 416-587-8222 or email

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