Dress Your House For Sale

When preparing your home for sale, you need to look at your home in a new way. Think of your home as a product about to go on the market, where it is competing with other houses. It needs to show well – which means clutter-free and well kept.

Many Homebuyers lead busy lives and may not be interested in taking on major repairs or improvements upon moving in. You need to make your home a “10”.

Below you will find advice and tips on how to ensure that your home will look fresh, clean and well maintained for when the “For Sale” sign goes up.

Fix It First. Any improvements that you need to make to your home, do the work before it goes on the market. Potential Buyers are not interested in hearing about your good intentions to look after defects before a transfer of ownership takes place. Even if fix-up work is underway, potential Buyers may not be able to visualize what your home will look like when the work is finished. First impressions will always make the biggest impact, Buyers who enter the home and find it in a state of disrepair may not be willing to come back and take a second look once the improvements are completed.

Professional Inspection: Yes or No? A serious buyer may want to have a professional home inspector check your house from top to bottom before making an offer. Even though this guide will help you identify problems on your own, the option of hiring a professional home inspector is open to you as well. If you can afford it, an inspection in advance of putting your home on the market is a good idea. It is your best way of finding and taking care of serious deficiencies before an inspector hired by a potential buyer discovers them.

Check Your Home’s Curb Appeal. How does your home look from the street? When prospective Buyers arrive this is how they will first see your home and where they will form that all-important first impression. Stand at the curb in front of your house and note what you see.

• Remove any clutter in your yard.

• Repair cracked or uneven driveway or walkway surfaces.

• If your lawn has bald spots, apply some top dressing and re-seed.

• Prune trees and shrubs of dead wood.

• Weed and mulch flower beds, if you have them.

If it is the right time of the year, consider buying some flower-filled planters to enhance the eye appeal of your property. Make sure your lawn is mowed regularly and ensure that the composter area is tidy.

• Clean windows and walls if they are dirty

• Does your front door or garage door need paint?

• Ensure your eaves and downspouts are clear of debris and in good repair.

• Are your backyard deck and walkways clean?

If not, use a power washer and do any necessary painting, staining or sealing.

• If you have a swimming pool, are the deck and pool clean (when in season)?

• Repair all outside lights if the bulbs are burned out, and clean fixtures of dirt and cobwebs

• If you own a shed ensure that it looks presentable should prospective Buyers look inside.

• Oil gates to ensure that they don’t make noise when being opened and closed.

Check the Interior of Your Home.  A prospective Buyer will usually enter through your front door, so that is where you should begin your inspection. You will want potential Buyers to see a neat, clean, well-lit interior. Clear all clutter and ensure that carpets are clean, floors are scrubbed, and that walls and trim show fresh paint (preferably neutral or light colours).

• Ensure all lights work and are free of cobwebs (replace any missing or burnt out bulbs)

• Check stairs for loose boards, ripped carpeting, and missing or loose handrails and guards

• Repair damages to interior walls with spackling compound and paint.

• Ensure doors open and shut properly.

• Open and close all windows to ensure that they work properly.

• Keep furniture to a minimum so rooms do not appear smaller than they are.

 Ensure that the traffic between rooms can flow in or through rooms unimpeded

• Organize closets so that they look spacious, organized and uncluttered.

Kitchen and Bathrooms.

• Clean all appliances in the kitchen including your oven.

• Clean cabinets inside and out as well as your countertop and backsplashes

• Remove anything stored on top of your fridge and remove artwork and magnets.

• Remove excessive items stored on countertops

• Remove item stored under the sink.

• Scrub sinks, tubs and toilets, taking care to remove any rust stains or mildew from showers and bathtubs.

• Clean mirrors, light switch plates and cupboard handles.

• Consider installing new 6-litre toilets if you currently have water-guzzlers

• If you have ceramic tile in either your kitchen or bathroom, ensure grouting is intact and clean.

The most important areas in your home to upgrade and modernize are the kitchens and bathrooms. Buyers also want to see new or recently installed floor coverings throughout.


  Like all other areas of your home, your basement should be organized and clutter-free.

• Change the filters in the furnace and have it cleaned

• If you have a pet with a litterbox, ensure the litterbox is clean.

• If your basement is damp or musty, consider using a dehumidifier.


• Get rid of anything that is unused or broken. Again you want a clutter-free zone.

• Use cleaning solution to remove oil stains from the floor.

Your home will have the most activity within the first 60 days on the market. Preparing your home for sale is a key step that will help sell your home quickly and for the most money. Continue on to my Before you Sell section, to learn all about the process of selling your home.

Stephanie Overholt

Stephanie Overholt

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Millennium Inc., Brokerage*
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