Preparing Your Home For Sale

In order to obtain the highest sale price possible it is critical that you create an environment that will be appealing to the majority of buyers interested in buying your style of home in your price point and neighbourhood.

Remember that the potential buyer is not looking to buy your lifestyle, they are looking to buy their lifestyle and need to visualize themselves in your home. Look at your home as an investment and in order to capture the highest rate of return you must prepare your home for market.

The recommendations detailed below will aid in presenting your home as a desirable product to the majority of buyers.

The Interior


 Keep your home clean. A spotless home appeals to every potential buyer.

 Replace light bulbs in all fixtures.

 Oil noisy hinges on doors or drawers.

 Add mirrors in small rooms; mirrors will brighten any space and make a room feel larger.

 Use area rugs to layer flooring and eliminate sound issues.

 Make your home welcoming and comfortable by using plants, cushions, paintings, and accessories to make sure prospective buyers can imagine living there

 Repair damages to walls and ceilings, including: holes, cracks, and water stains.

 Repaint after repair.

 Ensure all door handles and cupboard hardware are recent designs. This is an inexpensive upgrade that can modernize the space.

 Spray for bugs if necessary.

 Be sure to remove pet and smoke odor when cleaning. The buyer will remember the scent of your home. You may need a professional to remove strong odors.

 Don’t burn candles or scents as some people may be allergic. Instead, bake cookies or make bread to give your home a warm, comforting smell.

 Tighten loose door knobs

 Make sure all switches and outlets are clean and working properly.


 Clean windows and screens.

 Clean curtains, drapes and blinds.

 Clean carpets; if pet stains exist, replace carpet and under pad.

 Vacuum daily.

 Clean and treat wood floors, shampoo carpets.

 Clean, polish, paint or stain wood trim in home. Buff or remove imperfections in flooring and baseboards.

 Clean vinyl and ceramic floors.

 Clean, paint, or replace all vent covers

 Clean toilets and sinks; replace if necessary as sinks can be an inexpensive upgrade to your kitchen or bathroom

 Clean all lamp shades and covers


 Eliminate clutter including all knick-knacks on shelves, personal items, and family pictures hanging on walls, on shelves, or on countertops. This will allow prospective buyers to easily visualize themselves living there.

 Remove or replace any items you will be taking with you such as window treatments, appliances, fixtures, etc.

 You could replace window treatments with shutters or blinds for added privacy.

 Remove dead or aging plants; replace them with inexpensive plants that will give your home life.

 Store your valuables in a safety deposit box.

 Hide prescription medication to avoid theft and maintain your privacy.


 Remove wallpaper and borders; buyers may interpret this as extra work they will need to do.

 Paint over any chips on walls. If you can’t match the paint, paint one coat over the whole wall to give a clean, well maintained appearance.

 It may be beneficial to update or refresh all the paint in your home. Some buyers prefer neutral colours, which allow them to visualize their own décor, while others prefer modern colours and décor. Research what colours will update and suit your home using your stager’s advise or decorating websites or magazines for inspiration.

 A contemporary, minimalist space will appeal to the highest percentage of buyers.

 Ensure your home follows a consistent style by eliminating any furniture or accessories that don’t suit your desired presentation. Rearrange furniture to ensure the agents, with their buyers, have plenty of space to move freely throughout your home. De-clutter, excess furniture can be stored in the basement or in a storage unit.

 Be sure each room is setup for the function it was designed for – i.e.: a living room should not have office materials in it, or a dining room should not be a play room etc.


 Remove out of season clothing from closets.

 Hang similar clothing together, facing the same direction.

 Line up shoes neatly.

 Leave the least amount of items on the floor of closets.

 Add extra, empty hangers to make the closet feel large.

 Neatly arrange items on shelving.

 Leave extra space on shelves.


 Thoroughly clean all counter tops, appliances, mirrors, ovens, sinks, toilets, tub, and shower walls.

 Store small appliances to open up counter space.

 Clean out the refrigerator.

 Neatly stack dishes. Organize your cabinets and eliminate excessive dishes.

 Turn coffee cup handles the same way.

 Clean ventilating hood and exhaust fans.

 Clear off vanity counter tops and store all personal care items neatly.

 Fix any leaky faucets.

 Tighten loose towel racks and hang fresh towels.

 Remove rust stains.

 New hardware on drawers and cabinets make a difference.

 Clean and organize drawers, cabinets, and linen closets.

 Clean all tile grout and replace caulking if necessary.


 Dispose of everything you are not going to move.

 Arrange items neatly and clutter free.

 Rent a storage unit if storing large furniture items will open up these spaces.

 Consider painting walls and ceilings white.

 Remove stains and dirt from floor.

 Paint floors gray.

 Organize garden tools and equipment.

 Wipe off dirt and cob webs from water heater, furnace, washer and dryer.

 Fix water problems in basement; seek professional advice if needed.

The Exterior


 Cut and edge the lawn.

 Trim bushes and trees removing all dead limbs and debris.

 Add fertilizer and greening agent to lawn and plants

 Plant flowers; yellow evokes a buying emotion.

 Remove all weeds from flowerbeds, rocks, and cracks in concrete.

 Rake leaves or shovel snow.

 Install / inspect decorative metal or stone borders between lawn and planting beds.

 Clean up rock / mulch beds making sure the rock covers the ground – add more if needed.


 Wash driveways and sidewalks.

 Patch holes and cracks, fixing any damaged areas.

 Remove stains.

 Paint or stain fences and decks.

 Arrange outdoor furniture and firewood neatly.

 Put away all lawn equipment, bikes, and toys.


 Make sure your house number can be clearly seen.

 Inspect all exterior elements of home: gutters, downspouts, siding, windows sashes, trim, and shutters.

 Clean, paint, and/or replace as needed.

 Replace any broken windows, doors, and screens; make sure they all operate properly.

 Paint and refresh window trim, shutters, and siding.

 Clean windows and screens thoroughly; this helps brighten the home inside.

 Inspect for missing or damaged shingles and flashings; make any necessary repairs.

 Clean and touch up paint on the little things: house numbers, mailboxes, doorbells, etc.


 As the buyer’s first impression this area should be very welcoming.

 Replace front door if damaged and can’t be repaired.

 Paint door and trim.

 Clean porch area.

 Put out a new, clean doormat.

 Install potted or hanging plants if space permits.

 Have a nice porch light – repaint, clean, or replace.


 Once you’ve prepared your home for sale, have a neighbour or friend come into your home as if they were visiting for the first time. Tell them to be critical and honest, sharing their first impressions of your home.

Royal LePage Team Realty

1723 Carling Avenue,

Ottawa, ON K2A 1C8

Direct: 613.406.2218

Office: 613.831.9287

[email protected]

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