Analena Mandlsohn


The Ultimate 10-Day Guide to Preparing Your House for Sale

Day 1: Remove ~ Get rid of as much clutter as possible. Give it away, sell it at a garage sale, put it in storage, or take it to the dump. Just get it out of the house! You want your home to look spacious and tidy. If you’re opting to store it, you have a number of options from buying packing supplies to renting a PODS storage container – it all depends on how much you want/can afford to spend.

Day 2: Repair ~ Fix everything you can, such as chipped paint, cracked tiles, squeaky hinges, and leaky faucets. And don’t forget to change burned out light bulbs. Lighting makes a huge difference to how a home looks to potential Buyers. You want your home to be as bright as possible. Unless your wall paint is neutral, you might want to consider a fresh coat of paint too – it can go a long way towards dramatically improving the look of your home and is undoubtedly the one upgrade that you get the biggest return on.

Day 3: Renew ~ Clean, clean and clean again! It’s that important! You want your home to look guest ready. Organize each room so that it looks like a showcase. Unless your carpets are brand new have them steam cleaned. If your hardwood floors are scratched, there are some great products (I personally like Rejuvenate) that help fill in the scratches and make the floors look almost new. Also, if you’re a smoker or if you have pets, you want ensure that there are no bad odours. Wash curtains/drapes and consider having couches professionally cleaned, especially if your pets lie on them or if you smoke inside. Store any litter boxes in the basement if possible and clean them at least twice a day while your home is on the market. You may want to invest in scented candles, but avoid strong air fresheners – they only serve to alert buyers to a potential odour problem.

Day 4: Organize the Bedrooms ~ Make sure all bedrooms are inviting. If you don’t already own some, invest in neutral-coloured bedding. Clear the night tables of all personal belongings, such as photographs and knick-knacks. Make sure desk tops are clear and toys stored away. Clean out and organize the closets.

Day 5: Organize the Bathrooms ~ You should aim for a spa look. Clear counter tops/vanities of all toiletries and personal items (toothbrushes, razors, makeup etc.).  Remove all toiletries from bath tubs and/or showers (shampoo bottles, soap etc.). Lay down a new white bathmat and hang up new white towels (not for use while your property is on the market) and a new neutral shower curtain.

Day 6: Organize the Living, Family & Dining Rooms ~ Make the formal rooms as inviting as possible. As mentioned previously, you might consider having your couches and chairs professionally cleaned. Invest in some new pillows and throws and an area rug to bring the room together. Rid the hutch (if you have one) or console tables of unnecessary knick-knacks. And don’t forget the entrance hall while you’re at it. Remember you only have one chance to make a good impression and Buyers will have an emotional reaction within seconds of entering your home. What they experience at the entrance is crucial and often determines whether they even want to see the rest of the house. You want your entrance to be de-cluttered, inviting and free of shoes – store them away and have clean trays for Buyers to leave their shoes in.  

Day 7: Organize the Basement ~ Whether your basement is finished or not, you need to make it look as clean and spacious as possible. If you use it for storage, then at least stack things away as neatly as possible – you want Buyers to appreciate the size of the space and not be detracted by clutter.

Day 8: Organize the Kitchen ~ The kitchen is without a doubt the room that Buyers are most attracted to and that potentially sells the house. Make sure all counter tops are as clear as possible. Clean inside all the cupboards and make sure they are not over full – you want to convey to Buyers that your kitchen has ample storage. Clean inside all the appliances and remove all magnets from the fridge – it’s not a bulletin board! A bowl with fresh fruit, or some lemons and limes adds a nice finishing touch.

Day 9: Tackle the Front & Back Yards ~ Keep in mind that your home’s exterior is a real-life 3D, 24/7 advertisement. Curb appeal really matters and will significantly impact Buyers’ first impression of your house. If you have a front porch, make it look inviting – invest in a new welcome mat and some seasonal plants. Depending on the time of year, mow the lawn and clean up the garden, or shovel the driveway and walkway. Some Buyers may drive by your home at night, so make sure that your outdoor lighting is on. Again, what you do to the back yard will of course depend on the season. In the spring/summer, mow the lawn and clean up the garden, trim the trees, clean the deck, BBQ and patio furniture. 

Day 10: Or Call me and I’ll look after it all!  ~ Preparing a property for sale takes anywhere from one to two weeks depending on how much needs to be done. It is essential that once your property is listed on MLS, it must be as close to model-home perfect as it can possibly be. Allow me to make that happen!

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