Looking to sell your home, but not sure where to start? In terms of maximizing value for your home, it's the details that count! Below is a comprehensive seller's guide I've prepared so you can attract buyers and receive the best value possible value for your home! 


Every seller wants her home to sell fast and bring top dollar. Well, it's not luck or a tight real estate market that makes that happen. It's careful planning and knowing how to spruce up your home that will send home buyers running to make an offer. Some of the work can be done yourselves or, if you have little time or the resources to do it, a professional can handle the work.

Here are a few important steps to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.

Time Required: 7 to 10 Days


  • Say to yourself, "This is not my home; it is a house -- a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the grocery store shelf."
  • Make the mental decision to "let go" of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.
  • Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners!
  • Say goodbye to every room.
  • Don't look backwards -- look toward the future.


Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can't see past personal artifacts, and you don't want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can't do that if yours are there! You don't want to make any buyer ask, "I wonder what kind of people live in this home?" You want buyers to say, "I can see myself living here."


People collect an amazing amount of treasures. As a general rule, if you haven't used it in over a year, you probably don't need it.

  • If you don't need it, donate it to one of the many good organizations in town so that will help others. If it is broken, damaged or soiled, throw it away.
  • Reorder and remove some of your books from bookcases.
  • Pack up those knickknacks.
  • Clean off everything on kitchen counters.
  • Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use.


Buyers love to snoop and will open closet and cabinet doors (my father particularly enjoyed doing this when helping me buy my first home). Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes if she sees everything organized. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well.

This means:

  • Clean cupboards, especially the one holding the garbage can.
  • Neatly stack dishes.
  • Turn coffee cup handles facing the same way.
  • Cull the amount of clothing in your closet to showcase the amount of closet space there is.
  • Hang like items together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
  • Consider buying baskets for the shelves above to minimize clutter.
  • Line up shoes.


Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Remove extra leaves from your dining room table to make the room appear larger. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room's purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don't want buyers scratching their heads and saying, "What is this room used for?"


If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won't want it. Once you tell a buyer she can't have an item, she will covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.

I also recommend removing any small valuable items from the home such as jewellery. If you will be devastated if it's gone, don't leave it.


  • Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
  • Patch holes in walls.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
  • Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls. (Don't give buyers any reason to remember your home as "the house with the orange bathroom.")
  • Replace burned-out light bulbs.
  • If you've considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!


  • Wash windows inside and out.
  • Rent a pressure washer and spray down sidewalks and exterior. If you have vinyl siding, use the pressure washer on it as well.
  • Clean out cobwebs.
  • Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Polish chrome faucets and mirrors.
  • Clean out the refrigerator and the oven.
  • Vacuum daily.
  • Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
  • Bleach dingy grout.
  • Replace worn rugs.
  • Hang up fresh towels.
  • Clean and air out any musty smelling areas. Odours are a no-no.
  • In these COVID times, make sure you have hand sanitizer and wipes available at the front door.


  • Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
  • Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
  • Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
  • Make sure window coverings hang level.
  • Tune in to the room's statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact and pizzazz?
  • Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You're almost finished.


If a buyer won't get out of her agent's car because she doesn't like the exterior of your home, you'll never get her inside.

  • Keep the sidewalks cleared. Especially important in the winter!
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Paint faded window trim.
  • Replace beat up garage doors.
  • Clean up any dog droppings.
  • Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive.
  • Trim your shrubs and hedges.
  • Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.
Not intended to solicit clients current under contract. But just know that I'm a great real estate agent and I'd love to help you.


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