Investing in your home is one of the best returns on your money you will ever see.
Keep reading to find tips to prepare every room for market.
Please keep in mind that every home and every market has unique features. It’s always best to have an experienced realtor or stager give specific advice.
Wherever you live, it all starts with curb appeal. If a buyer can’t get past the look of the home, it will be difficult to get them through the front door.
- Cut grass regularly to keep it looking neat. Re-seed and water.
- Add mulch and flowers to gardens.
- Clean and seal decks and driveway.
- Replace broken or rotting deck boards.
- Scrape old flaking paint and reapply.
- Re-paint and seal exterior decks, fences and porches
- Weed / pressure wash patio areas.
- Replace dry, cracked caulking around windows and doors.
- Wash windows inside and out.
- Fix or replace window screens.
- Repaint exterior doors and railings.
- Make sure all locks operate smoothly.
- Give the front door a fresh coat of paint.
- Ensure front steps are safe and in excellent condition.
Buyers linger at the front entrance while the Realtor opens the lockbox. During this time buyers are examining the exterior of the home, make sure everything is in good repair.
- Clean up kids’ toys.
- Thoroughly clean up after pets.
- Neatly store all pool toys and equipment.
- Pressure wash concrete walkways.
- Rake up all leaves.
- Clean or replace old / damaged exterior lighting.
- Freshly paint metal railings.
- Remove bars from basement windows. (Avoid creating the perception that the neighbourhood is unsafe.)
- Thin or remove bulky landscaping that’s close to the home.
- Remove branches that hang over the home.
- Repair foundation cracks.
- Freshly paint concrete block foundation.
- Use a company like Slab Lifters to lift sunken concrete slabs that lean toward the home.
- Perform annual air conditioner maintenance.
- Ensure all garage door openers are operational.
- Locate any property survey in your possession.
Tips for every room.
- Examine the paint – if it’s not neutral, free of scuffs and marks, consider repainting.
- Remove all personal photos, posters in kids’ rooms, and fix holes in walls.
- Ensure all light fixtures are clean, in good shape, and operational.
- Remove all hooks on the back of doors.
- Consider updating light switch covers if yours are old or covered in paint.
- Shampoo carpets.
- Fix any water stains.
- CLEAN, CLEAN and CLEAN some more.
- Remove any sentimental fixtures from the home and replace them with fixtures you will leave behind.
- Remove oversized or bulky furniture and put it in storage until you move.
- De personalize: Remove very personal items such as family pictures, collections, religious items, framed diplomas, etc.
- Where appropriate, display simple vases of fresh flowers.
- Remove items that block easy access to the home, like benches, shelves, or other furniture.
- Ensure there is adequate room for a few people to enter comfortably.
- Remove all but necessary, seasonal items from the front closet.
- Place a mat at the front door for visitors to place shoes / boots.
- Remove all keys, knickknacks, and clutter.
- Use a magic eraser to remove scuffs from walls and trim.
- Use touchup paint on trim and walls, where needed.
- Ensure all lights are operational.
- Remove everything from the surface of appliances. This includes all pictures, artwork, bottle openers, and even the stuff you’re storing on top of the fridge.
- Consider painting worn or damaged cupboards.
- Organize cabinets and remove unneeded items.
- Clean all appliances thoroughly.
- Remove all watermarks from the sink.
- Leave only a few key items on the counters. (a coffee maker, paper towel holder)
- Clean, clean, clean – then polish surfaces.
Living Room/Rec Room
- Remove the old La-Z-Boy recliner and move it to storage.
- If your TV is in this room, pack up your CD / DVD collection and put it out of sight.
- If you have bookshelves in this room, be ruthless in your decluttering efforts. Leave just a few attractive books and decorative items.
- Replace old throw rugs, or go without.
- Ensure that furniture is not blocking doorways or light coming in from main windows.
- Buy some throw pillows to spruce up an older couch.
- Make sure art work enhances the space and is placed at the correct height.
- If the living room is on the smaller side, consider getting rid of coffee tables.
- Clean and inspect fireplace. Have WETT inspection (if wood) or HVAC inspection (if gas).
- Deep clean: Scrub tiles and grout, use stain remover on older sinks and toilet, polish surfaces.
- Replace caulking around tub and shower, if needed.
- Consider replacing an old shower head, hazy mirrors, and shower curtains.
- Remove toilet cozies and matching bath mats.
- Clear surfaces of personal care products including toothbrushes, soaps, shampoos, lotions, medications, etc.
- Keep medicine cabinets and vanity cupboards organized. (It’s best not to leave your prescription medication here while there are showings.)
- Display thick bath towels and a decorative soap holder.
- Declutter closets: Pack away off season clothes and reduce the number of items you store in each closet.
- Make sure the surfaces of dressers and night tables are free of clutter.
- Consider replacing bedding with neutral, solid coloured sheets and comforters. Add decorative pillows.
- Store kids’ toys neatly in a toy box or other storage container, or remove them from the room.
- Remove pet beds and toys.
- Consider removing anything that isn’t bedroom furniture and that makes the space look smaller, such as an office desk (unless the bedroom has been converted to an office only).
Selling in the Winter?
- Shovel snow from driveway decks and walkways.
- Salt sidewalks and driveway well.
- To reduce liability, consider hiring a company to do this during the selling process.
It’s always hard to stage our own homes. We are so used to the space and the way we live in it, that sometimes the best thing to do is bring in an outsider who has never seen it before, whether that be a professional stager, or just a friend who is willing to share a real first impression. Remember that the rules of preparing a home for market have nothing to do with judging the way you enjoy your home – no one lives the same way we show properties.
For inspiration as to what appeals to buyers, visit some builders’ model homes or browse decorating magazines. As unrealistic as many of the suggestions are, they work to help potential buyers imagine themselves living in a new space. Take advantage of your knowledge of the psychology at work, and let it make you a little extra money on your sale!