Top 9 tips to prepare your house to sell quickly

Top 9 tips to prepare your house to sell quickly

Thinking about selling your home? Take a look at the top 9 tips to prepare your house to sell.

1) Let it Go

Letting go of your home can be very hard, especially if you’ve lived there a long time. The house may hold many fond memories for you and your family, and it may be hard to just let it go to someone else.

In order to be objective, and ensure your house is in the best position to sell, you will need to detach from it emotionally. To do this, you need to remember that without you in it, the house is just a shell and that you will take your memories with you into your new house. Start making plans to personalize your next home, and get excited about creating new memories in your new space.

Framed Photos

2) Depersonalize Your Home

When listing your home, you want it to appeal to as many buyers as possible. Buyers want to be able to walk into your home and easily envision themselves, and their stuff in the space. This means that you will need to depersonalize your home as much as possible.

Pack up your personal photographs, family heirlooms, and other objects that are personal to you. Walk through every room in your house and pretend you’re a Buyer. If you see something in a room that helps people get to know you as you, remove it. Buyers are able to envision themselves in a space that is impersonal and clean. They should be able to imagine the home decorated with their own photographs, furniture, and personal objects. Depersonalizing your home makes it easier for potential buyers to visualize how the home might look filled with their own items.

This also applies to furniture and decor. If your personal taste is typically bright colours, crazy patterns or unique items, you should consider removing some of your furniture and only leaving understated pieces that are not a distraction. You may also want to consider hiring a professional stager to bring in more neutral furniture and decor.


3) Declutter

As we live our lives, we tend to collect an amazing amount of stuff. Some of this stuff we may use often, or carries an emotional attachment, or we just haven’t had the time to get rid of it. When a buyer views your home, you don’t want them to be distracted by all of your clutter and miss the special features of your home.

Go through your home room by room and organize your stuff into 4 categories:


- Keep in the house for showings

- Pack and take to the new house

- Toss in the garbage

- Donate to charity.

We like to follow the general rule that if you haven’t used something in the past year, you’re unlikely to need it in the future.

Almost every home shows better with a little less furniture. Make sure to remove any furniture that blocks paths and walkways. Consider storing brightly colored, patterned or distracting furniture, artwork, and any empty bookcases. You should only leave the bare minimum amount of furniture that will showcase the room's purpose with plenty of room for buyers to move around. You might want to consider renting a temporary storage space to hold all of the items that you don’t want in the house for showings.

Try to remember that if a buyer comes into your house and everything is uncluttered and organized down to the last detail, it shows them that you took care of your possessions and that you likely took good care of the rest of the house.

Click here for specific decluttering tips for each room in your home.


4) Cleaning

A buyer should be able to immediately envision themselves in your home. They DO NOT want to see or smell your personal habits. They DO NOT want to have to clean and scrub your leftover dirt and grime when they move in.

Depending on your house cleaning skill level, or the state of your home, you might want to consider hiring a professional cleaning crew.

Here are some cleaning tips for preparing your home to sell:


Good quality carpet flooring can last a very long time as long as they are well maintained. When you are preparing to sell, you should have your carpets steam cleaned professionally, or do it yourself, unless they are brand new. You will be very surprised at what a difference a good cleaning makes.


You’ll need more than a Swiffer to get into all the corners and cracks. If your floors are scratched, there are some great products out there to make them look almost-brand-new.


Over the years rain, snow and construction can make your windows appear very dirty. Ensure you clean both the inside and outside of your windows before putting your home on the market. You might want to consider hiring professional window cleaners if you have a two story home, or you don’t have the time.

Walls, Doors and trim

General wear and tear will cause your walls and doors to appear scuffed or stained. Depending on the finish of your walls, one of the best ways to clean scuffs is to buy some Magic Erasers and scrub down the affected areas. It works amazingly well and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Make sure to test it in a small and inconspicuous area first, to ensure you won't damage the paint finish.

For heavily marked areas, or areas where the paint is chipping or peeling, make sure to sand and clean the area and then touch up with some paint.

A smell-free zone

A potential buyer doesn’t want to be greeted by the smell of your personal habits when they walk through the door. Ideally your home shouldn’t have a smell at all, or it should smell of something neutral and inviting. Over time, homeowners can get used to strong odors in their own homes. Invite a friend who will do an honest smell test of each room of your home and then get to work on deodorizing the problem areas.

If you’re a dog owner, wash any couches, beds and surfaces where the dogs sleep. You may not smell your pet anymore but buyers will. Put the litter box in a less visible area and make sure to clean it twice a day while your home is on the market.

Consider using a product like febreeze on all of the fabric surfaces in your home. Lighting some candles before your showing is also a good idea, but make sure to avoid strong scents. The night before a showing, avoid cooking particularly odorous foods such as fish, garlic or cabbage. These smells can linger the day after.

5) Remove or Replace Favorite Items

Anything that is permanently affixed to the home is included in the sale unless you specifically state that it is not included. If you plan on taking anything that is attached to the home such as window coverings, built-in appliances, or fixtures with you, make sure to remove them prior to showing the house. It’s better that the buyer never sees the items you want to keep so that it doesn't hurt or complicate the sale.


6) Make Minor Repairs

Depending on the market, and the state of your home, it may be wise to invest in some minor repairs around your home before putting it on the market.

We all have that list of repairs in our home that we have been putting off. Preparing your home to sell is the time to get to work and check off all the items off that list. If you aren’t handy yourself, bring in a handyman to take care of it (we know some good ones, we can help).


Paint is one of the most inexpensive ways to revitalize your home. Many buyers are turned off by homes painted in bold colours. To appeal to the most buyers as possible, take the time to re-paint any brightly coloured rooms with more neutral tones. Try to remember that light colours will help small rooms look larger. If you remove any art or fixtures from the walls or ceilings, ensure that you patch and paint the walls and don’t leave any nail holes or scratches. You should also pay special attention to your baseboards and ceilings, it's amazing what a coat of paint can do.

Light Fixtures

While showing your home, you want it to be as bright as possible. Lighting can make a huge difference in how a home looks to Buyers. If you have old and dated light fixtures, take a quick trip to your local hardware store and pick up some inexpensive, modern ones.

Walk through each room of your home and replace any burned-out light bulbs. You should also consider replacing bulbs that haven’t been used for a while. You want to avoid the potential of having a bulb blow out when a buyer flips on the light switch during a showing. You want the buyer's experience to be as positive as possible.

Plumbing fixtures

Test each of the faucets in your home. Ensure that they are free of leaks, and are running smoothly without excessive calcium deposits blocking the flow. If you have any leaky or poorly functioning plumbing fixtures, you should replace them prior to any showings.

Make sure all of your toilets are running normally, and are spotless inside and out.

7) Staging

Once your home is repaired, clean and fully decluttered you might be ready to consider hiring a professional Stager. Professional home staging has been proven to help homes sell faster and for more money. They will move, re-arrange and add furniture and accessories to make your home look it’s best.

Staging & Photography

8) Photography

If we know one thing, it's that professional photography is incredibly important. That’s why at Tait Real Estate we always include professional real estate listing photography in our services. Once your home is in tip-top shape, you are ready to have your listing photos appointment. Make sure to photograph your home when the light is at its best, it makes a big difference in the photos.

9) Logistics

Now that your home is in its best possible condition, you need to try to keep it that way for the entire time it's on the market. Make a plan for how you are going to maintain the condition of your home on a daily basis, and share that plan with the entire family.

Plan ahead for how you're going to manage open houses and showings. Where are you and the rest of your family going to go while your home is being viewed. Remember that you might get a showing request in the middle of the day, so your home should be ready whenever you leave in the morning.

If you have kids or pets, consider purchasing some attractive and inexpensive baskets with lids so that you can shove all of their toys and gear into them before every showing.

Also remember that most Buyers won’t appreciate having your pet present while viewing your home. Make a plan to get your pets out of the house whether it's at Doggie daycare or with friends or family.


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