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With a critical eye, examine your home from outside and inside. Determine what can be solved by a simple cleaning and what needs professional attention and repairs. Your list should also include problems that are immediately evident and underlying problems you know of, like a leaky basement. RE/MAX has created a comprehensive package of videos and checklists, featuring the popular staging expert Carla Woolnough on the top 10 priorities for preparing a property for sale. Click here to watch the videos.
Think of what you would like to see when you're viewing a home, or better still what you wouldn't like to see -- cluttered yard, weeds crowding the garden, paint peeling, broken fence, or an oil-stained, damaged driveway. Also stage the outside to be as inviting and neutral as possible.
Roof - Are the shingles in good shape? Are the gutters in good condition and free of debris? You may wish to trim back any trees or shrubs that are leaning on your roof or drainage system. If you have had the roof replaced in the last couple of years, be sure to let potential buyers know.
Yard - Having the lawn mowed or the driveway shovelled in the winter will make a better impression. Also, remove any "cutesy" lawn decorations that may have home viewers rolling their eyes. Be sure to trim any overgrown shrubs or hedges. Flowers are a very effective way of adding colour and warmth to your home. If you're selling during the spring, plant flowers to make the property colourful and inviting.
Is what you see clean and organized? Is there an odour? Stale cooking? Garbage? Pets? If there is, it could be a deterrent to potential purchases. Bake cookies or simmer potpourri before your home is shown to give your place a comforting smell. Also, clean your carpets and air out your home.
Carpets - Cleaning them is fairly inexpensive. Without the grit, and with the carpet pile looking fresh, your home takes on a new appearance.
Walls - Wash the walls or repaint soiled areas. Touch up chips or plaster nicks. If you've used dark colours on your walls, you may wish to repaint so that your home has a more neutral move-in appearance. Take a broom around and brush your walls and light fixtures to remove any cobwebs. If you have tons of family pictures covering your walls, take some down and minimize the art. Allow the home buyers to visualize their things on the walls, instead of spending
their time looking at your pictures.
Clean and Shine - Put extra emphasis on your kitchen and bathroom. Replace moldy shower curtains and clean mold and mildew off of bathroom tiles. Caulk if necessary. Repair leaky faucets and replace cracked toilet seats. Ensure that the toilet flushes properly. Make certain that the drains are unclogged. Everything should sparkle -- faucets, floors, counters, mirrors.
Kitchen - Clean the stove and refrigerator, organize the cupboards and wash the floor. Make certain your appliances work. Wipe the walls, touch-up paint or re-stick wall paper if necessary. Clean the sink and ensure that it drains properly and the faucet doesn't leak. When your home is shown, make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink and don't forget to take out garbage out!
Floors and Stairs - Replace missing or damaged tiles. Does the wood need a good sanding or varnishing? Does the floor squeak? There's a new device that enables you to fix your squeaky floor right through the carpet. Ask your hardware retailer for details.
Doors and Windows - Look for structural or surface damage on interior and exterior doors. Do the doors need repainting? Do the hinges squeak? Are the door knobs worn? Are the windows drafty? Are they easy to open? Are they clean?
Basement - Make sure that it is as spotless as the rest of your home. If it is used as a storage area, eliminate the clutter and organize all boxes.
Plumbing and Electrical - Are there leaky pipes or electrical outlets that don't work? Have them repaired. Replace broken switch or outlet covers.
Furnace and Air Conditioner - Make sure the furnace and air conditioner work. Replace the furnace filter and have the furnace and air conditioner professionally serviced.
De-Clutter - Don't just hide clutter! Buyers will look everywhere -- into cabinets, under carpets, inside closets. (You thought you had it bad with nosy relatives poking around!) Plus, a clean house gives the impression of being larger. Your best bet is to rent a storage area and place all unnecessary items in there until your home is sold, like extra bedding, off season clothes and that extra bookcase you love, but only serves as a junk place. In doubt about how to start? Find a local Home Stager to help you get the best look out of your home using your own items.
Your RE/MAX Ottawa Sales Associate will be able to suggest a few services to use.