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Preparing Your Home For Sale - A Seller Guide

Preparing your home for today’s competitive real estate market requires careful planning and judgment. The tips on this page will assist you in getting ready for that open house or buyer showings.  A home that is home that is properly prepared and presented will sell faster and for a higher price than homes that are not presented properly for sale.

Home Seller Tips

Buyers can be drawn in or put off by a variety of details. Here are a few tips which can help maximize the selling potential and value of your home:

  • Remove pets during a house showing to avoid scaring potential buyers who may be sensitive to odours, allergic or afraid.
  • Keep your home decorations non-denominational.
  • Inspect your home for mould or water damage and other obvious issues.
  • Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (recommended for all homes, local laws vary).
  • If you have an older home, asbestos or lead-based paint may be an issue.

Updates and Repairs

Take an objective look at your property and decide what updates and repairs are needed. Make a list of improvements to be made that fits into your timeline and budget:

  • Are your permanent light fixtures old, broken or outdated?
  • What condition are your windows, door trims and baseboards in?
  • Do you have cracks or holes in your walls?
  • Repairs and updates to your kitchen and bathroom(s) should take priority.

Pre packing and Clutter

Organizing and pre-packing items that aren’t used regularly will create a spacious feeling. Prospective buyers want to see:

  • No signs of dust or dirt
  • Ample storage space
  • Whether the house is move-in ready
  • If their cars will fit in the garage


Painting is the easiest and most inexpensive way to give your home a fresh new look. You want to appeal to the widest selection of buyers possible, so think neutral and remember:

  • Selecting the right colours allows buyers to emotionally connect with the house.
  • If it’s been more than five years, then it’s time to freshen up the walls.
  • Painting the ceiling will give the room a clean and finished look.
  • When choosing a paint colour, consider the current tone of the house.

Main Selling Rooms

Think about which rooms are most important to your prospective buyers. Consider how they will view the following rooms:

  • Foyer- The entrance gives potential buyers their first impression.
  • Kitchen- People spend the most time here.  Does the space feel open and welcoming?
  • Living room- This room determines the general style of the rest of the home. Show buyers that they can comfortably entertain here.
  • Dining room- Is it easy to picture enjoying meals and celebrating holidays with friends and family?
  • The family room- This is the second area where people spend most of their time. What is the focal point?
  • The master bedroom- Does it feel like a sanctuary from a hectic lifestyle?

Furniture Placement and Lighting

Furniture placement and lighting is critical to highlight the prime features and function of each room. Consider whether you are showing the room’s full potential:

  • How much furniture is in each room? What condition is it in?
  • Make sure all lights are on for pictures and showings.
  • Do buyers need to walk through one room to get to another?
  • Dimmer switches are a great way to add ambiance to a room.


Up-to-date flooring is one of the top-selling features that a buyer looks for:

  • Does your carpet just need professional cleaning or do you need to replace it?
  • What style is your carpet?
  • If you have vinyl floors, what is the condition or style?
  • Do you have hardwood? It’s a great selling feature, so remove any carpets.
  • Consider if you need to have the hardwood refinished to make it look like new.

Curb Appeal

Buyers tend to make snap judgments about whether a house fits into their criteria based upon what they see from photographs or driving by. Determine how to best show the front of your home is well-cared for, so buyers will want to view the interior too:

  • When you stand at the end of your driveway, what do you see? Develop a list of repairs or improvements such as roofing, siding and lighting.
  • Add seasonal arrangements to the front of your porch or garage.
  • If there’s snow, make sure your walkways and driveway are shovelled and salted so buyers feel safe when approaching your home.


It’s important to remove your identity from the house to turn it into a model home. Disconnecting emotionally will give buyers a chance to picture living there:

  • Remove family photos
  • Remove trophies and awards
  • Prepack any potentially offensive items

Take special care when preparing your home for sale. If you’ve followed these steps to help make your property stand out, buyers will  notice.  It’s a competitive market and you want top dollar value for your home. Investing in small details can make a big difference in the offers you receive. Presenting your home properly will attract serious buyers and will help you achieve top dollar for your home.

Below is our complete pre-listing checklist: