Getting Your House Ready to Sell
Getting Your House Ready to Sell
When getting your house ready to sell, you need to look at your house in a new way. Think of your house as a product about to go on the market where it is probably competing with brand new housing. It needs to show well – which means clutter-free and well kept.
Today’s homebuyers lead busy lives and may not be interested in taking on major repairs or improvements upon moving in. You need to make your house a “10”.
This document will help you spot what is right and what is not so good about your product. It will give you the opportunity to take corrective action to ensure your house looks fresh, clean and well maintained when the “for sale” sign goes up.
Fix It First
If you need to make improvements to your home, do the work before it goes on the market. Potential buyers are not interested in hearing about your good intentions to look after defects before a transfer of ownership takes place. Even if fix-up work is underway, buyers may not be able to visualize what your home will look like when the work is finished. They will just remember it being in a state of disrepair.
Professional Inspection, Yes or No?
A serious buyer may want to have a professional home inspector check your house from top to bottom before making an offer. Even though this guide will help you identify problems on your own, the option of hiring a professional home inspector is open to you, as well. If you can afford it, an inspection in advance of putting your home on the market is a good idea. It is your best way of finding and taking care of serious deficiencies before an inspector hired by a potential buyer discovers them.
Homeowner’s Inspection Checklist
To get your free copy and to see more free downloads, visit: https://firsttimehomebuyercalgary.com/packages-for-available-for-download
This practical, easy-to-follow guide for homeowners will help you identify common house
problems and deal with them. In it, you will find illustrated how-to tips offering effective
solutions for every room of your house. Use the ordering instructions on the back page of this fact sheet.
Let’s Begin Outside
Check Your House’s Curb Appeal
How does your house look from the street? That is where prospective buyers will be when they first see your home; and, that is where they will form that all-important first impression. Stand at the curb in front of your house and note what you see. Remove any clutter in your yard. Repair cracked or uneven driveway or walkway surfaces. If your lawn has bald spots, apply some top dressing and re-seed. Prune trees and shrubs of dead wood. Weed and mulch flower beds, if you have them. If it is the right time of year, consider buying some flower-filled planters to enhance the eye appeal of your property. Make sure your lawn is mowed regularly. Ensure that the composter area is tidy.
Are your windows and walls clean? Does your front door need paint? Ensure your eaves and downspouts are clear of debris and in good repair. Are your backyard deck and walkways clean? If not, use a power washer and do any necessary painting, staining or sealing.
If you have a swimming pool, are the deck and pool clean (when in season)? Do all outside lights work? Replace any burned out bulbs, and clean fixtures of dirt and cobwebs. Is there a shed? Does it look presentable? Do windows and exterior doors need recaulking? Even at 6-7 years of age, the caulking may be dried out and in need of replacement.
Do you have decorative wooden poles on the porch? Is the wood at the bottom in good condition and overall does it need a new coat of paint? If you have a gate, is it well oiled?
When you have completed the curb appeal inspection, carefully check the rest of your home’s exterior.
Will your roof and chimney pass inspection? If you are uneasy about climbing onto your roof, you can inspect most items from the ground using binoculars. Otherwise, be careful when working or moving about on your roof. Unless roof repair is a simple matter of applying new caulking, you will probably need the services of a professional.
Check the general condition of your roof. Sagging sections, curled shingles, pooled water on flat roofs and corrosion on metal roofing mean it is time for repair or replacement.
Both masonry and metal chimneys need to be straight and structurally sound, have proper capping on top and watertight flashing where they penetrate the roof. All roofs undergo stress from snow and rain loads so it is possible a truss or rafter may become
damaged, resulting in a noticeable small depression. A professional should do this inexpensive repair.
Living Room, Halls, Family Room, Den, Bedrooms
Keep furniture to a minimum so these rooms do not appear smaller than they are. Ensure that traffic can flow in or through these rooms unimpeded. If they contain bookshelves or cabinets overflowing with books, magazines and knick-knacks, remove some of these items. Ensure bedroom closets look spacious, organized and uncluttered. Create space by getting rid of old clothes and junk. Remember to remove or lock away valuables such as jewellery, coins, currency, cameras and compact discs.
Kitchens and Bathrooms
People splash water around in the kitchen and bathrooms so check around sinks, tubs and toilets for rotting countertops and floors. Problems could be due to poor caulking or plumbing leaks. Fogged windows, molds and sweating toilet tanks indicate high humidity levels, which you can remedy with exhaust fans.
Make Your Kitchen Sparkle
In the kitchen, clean all appliances, including your oven. Clean or replace your greasy stove hood filter. Clean your cabinets inside and out, as well as your countertops and backsplashes. Repair dripping faucets remove anything stored on top of your fridge and remove artwork and magnets. Remove any items stored on countertops.
Remove items stored under the sink. In bathrooms, scrub sinks, tubs and toilets taking car
e to remove any rust stains. Remove mildew from showers and bathtubs. Fix dripping faucets or trickling toilets, and vacuum your fan grill. Clean mirrors, light switch plates and cupboard handles. Consider installing new 6-litre toilets if you currently have water-guzzlers.
If you have ceramic tile in either your kitchen or bathroom, ensure grouting is intact and clean.
The condition of the foundation and main structural members in the basement are critical to the fitness of any house. The purpose of your inspection is to make sure these are sound and durable. Look for cracks, water seepage, efflorescence (white powder-like substance), crumbling mortar or concrete and rotting wood. If any of these problems are present, you need to do further research to learn about causes and possible solutions.
In general, if your basement is damp or musty, consider a dehumidifier. Like all other areas of your home, your basement should be organized and clutter-free.
Change the filters in the furnace and have it cleaned–this is the number one item purchasers want done after a home inspection. If you have a pet with a litterbox, ensure the litterbox is clean.
Get rid of the broken tools, old car parts, discarded bicycles, empty paint cans and the hundreds of other useless items that accumulate in garages. Again, you want a clutter-free zone. Use cleaning solutions to remove oil stains from the floor.
When It’s Showtime!
You have inspected your house and taken care of problems. Now you are ready for showings. You will need a plan of action that assigns duties to each family member so the place can quickly be whipped into shape.
Open all drapes, blinds, etc. and turn on lights to make the house bright. Air out the house to get rid of cooking, pet odours, etc.
Have fresh flowers in view. Pick up clutter, and empty garbage. Make sure everything is spotless. Set your thermostat at a comfortable level. Remove pets from the house or put them outside. If you have an agent, leave when the house is being shown. If you are selling it yourself, you need to strike a balance between being helpful and crowding the buyer. In poor weather, provide a place for boots, overshoes and umbrellas. Display photos of house in summer to show landscaping if selling in winter months. Leave out heating and hydro bills. For those on a septic system and/or well, leave out inspection and maintenance information.
For more information view the CMHC Web Site at