Prepare your home for sale in 20 days

Trying to wrap your head around selling your house, townhouse or condo? Check out our 20 day plan to help you through the process!

Day 1: General Prep.

Prepare yourself to be in the driver’s seat when negotiations come around by getting a pre-listing home inspection for your house or townhouse, or a strata status certificate if you own a condo. Depending on your goals/needs you can plan to correct problems before you listing your home, or factor it into your asking price. Minor problems like dripping faucets, holes in the drywall, creaky cabinet doors, etc. are no brainers to address. If you aren’t handy, you can bring in a general handyperson to take care of these little details. Prospective buyers and their agents will need to access your home, so have a second set of keys cut. It’s worth the $3 to not to have to open the lockbox or fumble with a key handoff every time you have a showing. Buyers and agents are also going to ask a lot of questions, so start digging out the paperwork now: utility bills, tax bills, renovation details, warranties, mortgage details, survey and rental contracts.

Day 2: Interior Appeal. 

The way your house is lit on the interior can make all the difference in the world when potential buyers view it on their walkthroughs. This is especially true during winter months when it’s darker outside. Take some time to replace old or burned out bulbs with new ones – preferably LED or halogen which create “whiter” light. If you can budget for it, it is completely worth it to update outdated light fixtures with new ones. IKEA has cost effective options. Dark spaces and overly vibrant colours can be a deterrent to buyers. You should also consider painting over old or dark paint with a fresh coat of light and neutral colours. This will make your rooms look bigger and freshen up the look of your house.

Day 3: Freshen your bathrooms. 

Remove the toiletries you have on display (buyers don’t need to know whether you prefer Axe or Old Spice). Invest in some new towels and simple but modern bathroom dressings like a soap containers, toothbrush holder, etc. Any outdated or dirty shower curtains, toilet seats or bath mats should be replaced with new (or at least clean ones!).

Day 4: Clean up the kitchen. 

The kitchen is one of the rooms buyers are most attracted to so if you’re looking to skip a room, this shouldn’t be it. Remove your blender/George Foreman Grill/Kitchen Aid mixer/toaster/bread machine from the counters – you want the counters to be as clear as possible. Clean inside all the cupboards (and yes, I mean remove everything and wipe them out). Don’t cram all your dishes and food back in – again, you want to convey to buyers that your kitchen has enough storage for the Buyer’s stuff. Clean inside the fridge (and remove the magnets, photos and reminders). Turn on your self-cleaning oven (probably for the first time). Store your booze collection (and take out the empties). Consider investing in some fresh flowers and a beautiful bowl with some fresh fruit in it.

Day 5: Next up: the bedrooms. 

The bedrooms should be inviting, and that means more cleaning and decluttering and investing in a few props. If you don’t already have one, invest in a neutral-coloured duvet cover and some new fancy pillows. Straighten the bookshelves. Remove personal photos, knick knacks and personal grooming products. Clean out the closets. Consider getting an area rug if the floors are cold. If you’ve jammed in a dresser or armoire that doesn’t really fit into the space (condo owners, I’m looking at you), consider storing it offsite. If you’ve converted two of your three bedrooms into offices, convert at least one of them back to a bedroom.

Day 6: Tackle the living/dining rooms. 

Clean the sofa and chairs and invest in some new throw pillows. Consider getting an area rug to bring the room together. Hide the magazine rack and all the clutter that has accumulated. Hide the wires from your TV/stereo/speakers. Remove the kids’ homework and the piles of stuff that have accumulated on the dining room table. Clean up the hutch. If your dining chairs have seen better days, consider getting them reupholstered. Invest in a new table cloth to hide an old table.

Day 7: De-clutter, organize and clean the basement. 

If your basement is anything like ours, this is going to take more than one day. Whether your basement is finished or just a storage area for your knick knacks, you’ll need to invest the time to make it look as spacious and clean as possible. And what a great way to rid yourself of all that stuff you never use.

Day 8: Tackle what you can’t see: closets and storage areas. 

Though you may feel the strong urge to cram all the stuff you don’t want on display into your closets, the truth of the matter is that buyers will open your closets. They’ll look in your cupboards. And they’ll judge you. The last thing you want is for buyers to think there isn’t enough storage in your home, so take the time to pack away what you don’t need in the immediate future.

Day 9: The entrance. 

Remember that most buyers will have an emotional reaction to your home within 15 seconds of entering it, so what they experience at the entrance is CRITICAL. You want your entrance to be clean, de-cluttered and inviting. And no, you won’t really wear all your shoes and coats while your house or condo is for sale, so be disciplined and store things away.  If you don’t have a hall closet, don’t pile 15 coats on a coat rack – that’s just drawing attention to your lack of a closet.

Day 10: Get some boxes and packing tape. 

You will need places to put the mountains of things you didn’t know you had as you de-clutter and begin packing for your future move. Costco may be a cheap option but an investment under $100 will get you proper packing supplies and reduce your stress.

Day 11: De-Clutter and Remove Personal Items. 

It’s a pain (and expensive) to store all the stuff you don’t really need. We suggest making a sweep through your entire house, removing all personal items for storage and throwing out or donating items that you don’t want to keep. Buyers appreciate a neutral environment that let’s them picture how THEY would live in the house so the de-cluttering process both works towards this and minimizes the items you will have to eventually move.

Day 12: Hire us!

If you’re still wondering how to know what to look for in a Realtor, connect with us today and we would be happy to share the many reasons why we are more than qualified to help you get top dollar for your Vancouver home. Our customer-focused approach, years of experience, and refined marketing strategies will ensure that your listing runs smoothly from front to back.

Day 13: Exterior Appeal

The exterior look of your house matters – a lot! It can be the difference between prospective buyers viewing your home or pulling up and never even coming inside. Take the time to clean up scuff marks, wash your siding and windows (these will need work from the inside as well), and touch up particularly bad paint chips or divots in your trim/fascia boards. If you have a front porch, it look welcoming and clear – should you invest in a new door to wow people? A tidy and maintained front garden with some fresh plants will also leave a strong first impression. If you’re selling in the spring/summer, make sure that your back yard is equally as impressive. Old decks should be re-stained to present a pristine surface, patio furniture should be clear of weathering/mold, gardens should be weeded and shrubs/trees trimmed neatly. Exterior lighting can be relatively inexpensive and can add a lot of extra value for buyers viewing your place at night.

Day 14: Clean your floors. 

Have your carpets cleaned or rent a steamer and do it yourself. Don’t forget to clean any laminate or tile surfaces as well. Pulling old grime out of your flooring makes a huge difference in the look and feel of your home.

Day 15: The walls and doors. 

If your walls and doors are scuffed, buy some Magic Erasers and go to town. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. If your art needs an update, now’s the time to do it too.

Day 16: The final clean. 

You’ve come this far and you must be exhausted! While you can make this final cleaning yourself, we recommend enlisting the help of professional cleaners to really get your place shining.

Day 17: Make plans for pets, kids and accessories. 

Buyers will not want to look at kids toys, fingerpaint art, dog treats, scratching posts, or hamster cages as they view your house. We love our family members but keeping living spaces as neutral as possible will allow for the best possible viewing outcomes. Plan to keep unneeded accessories at a friends or in storage and if possible arrange for pets or children to stay with family. Having your home fully decluttered and flexible for viewings produces great results.

Day 18: Your house should smell good. 

Think about all 5 senses when you put the finishing touches on your home’s presentation. Walking into a pleasent smelling home can be very attractive to buyers. If you’re a pet owner, wash any surfaces where the dogs sleep. You may not smell them anymore, but buyers will. Use Febreeze on all surfaces – avoid overly strong or artificial scented cleaners. Immediately prior to an open house you may want to light mild scented candles, light an oil diffuser or boil some citrus and fresh cinnamon to create a gentle and light fragrance in the air.

Day 19: Photography. 

When your house or condo is de-cluttered, cleaned, and updated, it’s time the perfect time for your listing photographer to capture stunning and premium images of your home. This will happen a few days before you list your home for sale, and may include a virtual tour or video. Make sure to tell your real estate agent the times when the light is best to get the absolute most out of your photos.

Day 20: The final walkthrough. 

It’s been a long process but you have made it through! You are finally ready to sell your Vancouver home. Take one last look all of your rooms and the exterior to see if anything catches your eye. You can even try to rope a neighbour into taking a look to see if their “fresh” eyes catch anything you missed. Does it look AMAZING? Great! Now just keep it that way!

If you think this list looks intense, we can assure you that we have helped our clients achieve this in under a week with the right strategy and planning. Ask us how we can help you prepare your Vancouver home.