From “For Sale” to “Sold”

From “For Sale” to “Sold”

Getting your house ready for market has not changed. I was reviewing an article published by Chatelain’s Wanda Clarke in 1997 and it’s amazing how the check boxes are very much the same. However, today Buyers and Sellers have the web and social media to look at homes and it is necessary to present your home well both on-line and in-person. Low cost improvements for curb appeal, exterior and interior suggestions can make a big difference in getting top dollars and selling your home in a reasonable time!

Low-cost improvements boost your home’s appeal and help it sell fast.

If you want to sell your home fast, it pays to make low-cost improvements. Neglecting improvements gives buyers the perfect opportunity to negotiate for a better price, says Richard Wood, past president of the Ontario Real Estate Association. “Improvements will also maintain the value of your property”, says Wood. Prepare your home for sale by following these suggestions from real estate pros.

General Advice

Your home should be clean and tidy. Vacuum the carpets, clean the windows and make your kitchen and bathroom shine. Go out during a showing. Prospective buyers tend to stay longer if owners are not home. “They’ll talk more freely and point out what they like and what the don’t like,” says Joan Smith, associate broker and top Royal LePage realtor in Kanata, Ont.

Curb Appeal

The first thing prospective buyers notice is appearance. How attractive is the property? Is it well maintained? “The more appeal your house has from the outside, the more it will draw people inside,” says Smith. Follow some of these tips to boost curb appeal.

  • Everything should be in good condition. If the eavestroughs are falling off or the porch stairs are broken, fix them.
  • Remove weeds from flower beds, trim shrubbery and tidy the yard.
  • Repair cracked or broken windows.
  • Repaint a chipped front door or window trim. Keep in mind that sloppy painting, whether interior or exterior, will not go unnoticed. Do an excellent job yourself, or hire a professional painter.
  • For an added touch, Wood suggests edging the lawn and resealing the driveway.

Put out the welcome mat

“The front entrance is the focal point of any residence. It should be warm and inviting,” says Wood. These ideas will help you make a favorable first impression.

      • Add welcoming furniture such as mirror, a small cabinet or an umbrella stand.
      • Wax sliders and oil hinges on closets.
      • Clean out the front closet and remove the boot tray.
      • Open all the blinds, especially on dull days.

Basic repairs

      • Repaint all baseboards, and patch and repaint any holes in the walls. Stick with neutral tones. Use a lighter shade for trim and a medium shade for walls.
      • Buyers test hardware, so make sure latches work properly. Fix shaky railings and repair all broken doors.
      • Replace old electrical wall plates and switch covers.
      • Consider removing any worn and stained carpets if there’s attractive hardwood flooring underneath.

Kitchen delights

      • Repair leaking faucets and remove any iron-rust stains from the sink with a calcium phosphate removal product
      • If the cabinets are looking tired, update their look, replace cabinet pulls and hardware with new ones.
      • If your kitchen needs a facelift, consider replacing worn countertops and flooring. Prices vary, depending on size and style.

Bathroom duty

Nothing turns off a prospective buyer more than a dirty bathroom.

      • Clean all surfaces and bathroom fixtures until they shine. Make storage space seem larger by clearing out some items and neatly restacking what’s left. Don’t forget to clean inside cabinets.
      • Touch up minor chips or water stains, hire a professional to reglaze the tub.
      • If caulking is stained with dirt and mildew, replace it. If you’re not adept at this job, hire a professional.
      • Fix any plumbing problems; some buyers do flush toilets and turn on taps.
      • Use a special grout cleaner (available at most hardware stores) to remove mildew from tiles.
      • Replace cabinet pulls if your bathroom needs a fresh look.

Basement bargains

Basements are usually the last place to be checked. But they can be key to giving potential buyers a good impression.

      • Use a dehumidifier during the summer to reduce dampness.
      • If your basement isn’t finished, sweep the floor and get rid of any cobwebs. Tidy up and neatly stack and storage boxes on shelves.
      • Leave room around furnace, electrical panel, main water line into the house, as these are the places buyers and inspectors will want to have a look and get access to.

Clean out the garage

If your prospective buyer is looking for the ideal spot for his or her hobby area, don’t be caught off guard with a messy garage. Here are some pointers.

      • Add shelves to help organize the garage (prefabricated shelving units work well).
      • Grease the tracks on the garage door and fix all broken doors
      • Remove oil stains on the garage floor with and oil-absorbent product.


As experienced realtors®  in Ottawa and surrounding areas, we are here to answer all your questions! We will inform you about the present market and the value of your property and help you select the best options to sell your home for top dollar! We have the expertise and contacts to make it easy for you to prepare for market.