With more homes on the real estate market, you need to make yours stand out. Properly prepared homes will sell quicker and for a better price. There are some things that most people do not think about but they are an important part of preparing your home for sale. Buyers want to envision themselves living in the house, and if the home is not presented in a manner that will allow them to do that easily, most buyers will move on.

Below are some checklists to help you prepare for the process:

Air Quality

  • Check for mold, mildew or water damage and have it repaired.
  • Depending on the age of your house, have it checked for asbestos and lead paint.
  • Inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace if needed.
  • Avoid cooking with strong seasonings and foods that have a lingering smell.
  • Keep the litter box out of sight and clean daily.
  • Remove as many signs of the pets as possible (e.g. food/water bowls, toys, leashes).
  • Remove or contain your pets while the house is being shown.

 Curb Appeal

  • Make a list of major repairs that are needed (e.g. roofing, siding) and make as many of these repairs as possible.
  • Make a list of minor repairs that are needed (e.g. painting, minor landscaping) and make as many of these repairs as possible.
  • Sweep or shovel walkways, driveways, patio/deck and salt in the winter.
  • Maintain front, back and side yard. Ensure lawns are mowed, shrubs are pruned and flower beds are weeded.
  • Add flowers or winter arrangements on your front porch and/or in front of the garage.
  • Remove all festive lights and decorations


  • Remove all personal/family photos and all memorabilia.
  • Pre-pack books, music and collections that do not appeal to a wide range of buyers.
  • Remove and pre-pack any items that could be potentially offensive or disagreeable.
  • Store away and organize children’s toys, games and books.
  • If your home is for sale during a holiday, decorate using items that are simple and preferably nondenominational.
  • Any holiday specific decorations need to be removed immediately after the celebrations.

Furniture Placement & Lighting

  • Consider how much furniture is in each room – too much furniture can make a room look small.
  • Arrange furniture to ensure proper traffic flow from room to room.
  • If furniture is oversized, remove some pieces to make the room look more spacious.
  • If furniture is worn, old or outdated, consider buying new pieces or renting furniture for while your home is on the market.
  • Ensure there is lots of light in each room, including corners.
  • Consider replacing light switches with dimmer switches.
  • If permanent light fixtures are dated or in poor condition, replace them.

Main Selling Rooms

  • Assess if any repairs or upgrades are needed on any of the room listed below.

 Front Entrance

  • Other rooms should look presentable when standing in the front entrance.
  • Create a spacious feeling in the entrance.
  • Put away all clutter, shoes, jackets and keys behind closet doors.


  • The kitchen should look and feel clean and crisp when you walk into it.
  • Determine what needs to be done if your kitchen needs some updating.
  • Paint cupboards or update hardware if necessary.

Living Room

  • Make the room feel inviting to show buyers that they can comfortably entertain here.
  • Be sure the room has a focal point.
  • Position the furniture to highlight the focal point.

 Dining Room

  • Ensure the room shows its function.
  • Ensure the furniture is positioned for dining and entertaining.

Main Floor Family Room / Great Room

  • Ensure the room has a clear function.
  • Ensure the furniture is positioned for proper traffic flow and comfort.

Master Bedroom

  • Create a feeling of calm in the room.
  • Position furniture to create space.
  • Ensure bedding is well displayed.


  • Clear clutter and personal grooming products from surfaces.
  • Replace old linens.


  • Consider painting if it has been more than five years since the room was last painted.
  • Determine whether or not your home has a warm tone or cool tone before selecting a paint colour.
  • Paint in neutral tones that appeal to the widest range of buyers.
  • Select colours that are restful on the eyes and create the right mood.
  • Remove wallpaper.
  • Freshen up doors and trim with a coat of paint.
  • Repair any holes or cracks in the walls and ceilings.
  • Paint the ceilings for a completely refreshed clean look.


  • Create a spacious feeling in each room.
  • Be sure your house sparkles from top to bottom.
  • Avoid powerful smelling cleaning products.
  • Pre-pack all items that you do not need while your house is for sale.
  • Pre-pack off season clothing and items.
  • Decide where you can store your boxes and extra items.
  • Clear clutter out of the garage to show buyers their vehicle will fit.
  • If your basement is used for storage, be sure it is organized and tidy.

 Updates & Repairs

  • Create a list of repairs that are needed.
  • Create a budget and timeline for these repairs.
  • Think of updates that you have been putting off that need to be completed.
  • Repair or replace even the smallest items.
  • Consider the condition of your windows.
  • Consider the condition of your permanent light fixtures.
  • Consider the condition of your doors and trim.
  • Repair any holes or cracks in the walls.
  • Keep in mind that if significant updates are needed, kitchens and bathroom updates will provide the greatest return on investment.