Marian Ferguson

How to Prepare a House for Sale

One of the most important things you can do to sell your house quickly and for the highest possible price is to ensure that buyers leave with the best possible impression of your house.

  • Clean: In general, ensure that your house is free of dirt and odours. If possible, have someone else take care of any pets until the house is sold. Ventilate and dehumidify the basement (leave a dehumidifier running if necessary). Clean the windows, light fixtures, stove and fridge.
  • Remove clutter:Organise your closets and storage areas and make sure they are not too full. Store away knick-knacks and furniture that make your rooms seem cluttered. Countertops should be clean and clear. Don’t forget the outside – keep porch and back deck free of clutter.
  • Repair: A house that looks well-maintained will inspire confidence in buyers. Replace light bulbs and broken light fixtures, damaged screens, broken window panes, and damaged blinds or curtains. Repair leaky faucets, tighten doorknobs, secure loose railings, patch small holes in ceilings and walls, repair peeling wallpaper, repair and coat the driveway. Replace bathroom caulk and grout where required. A fresh coat of paint doesn’t cost very much but will add a lot of impact. Ensure adequate lighting outside. Mow lawn, clear walks, trim shrubbery and trees.
  • Depersonalise: It is important to remove most of your family photographs and personal collections. Buyers are trying to envision themselves living in every home they tour and it is very hard for them to do that when faced with the seller’s personal items. Leaving personal collections for the buyer to see distracts the buyer from focusing on the house.
  • Decorate: There are many improvements you can make that won’t cost a lot of money and that will bring you a much higher sales price. Inside the house, decorate with fresh flowers, green plants and pretty accessories. Make the house more inviting on the outside with a new doormat and potted plants. Plant some flowers in the garden if needed. Add artwork – big and bold pieces are very dramatic.
  • Maintain: The house should be kept spotless as long as it is on the market. Keep the lawn mowed and trash cans out of sight. Every morning, clear and wipe down the counters and sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms, run the dishwasher and take out the trash, sweep/vacuum the floors, open drapes to let in the sun and turn on the lights in dark rooms.