Preparing your house for sale! Get top dollar!


 All sellers expect to get top dollar for their home.  While this is ideal, it doesn't magically happen.  Buyers who are willing to pay top dollar have high expectations regarding the condition of a home they are considering buying.  With some time and effort you can meet these expectations and reap the benefits.  Not only will you increase the value of your home, but your home will likely sell faster than others on the market that have not had the effort put in.



Mentally prepare for the sale. You are selling a piece of Real Property, it is a business transaction, you aren’t selling your memories. You are not selling your home, you are selling the house you have lived in.  You must emotionally detach yourself from your home.   Sure, you may have accumulated a lot of great memories over the years and maybe you love all the little quirks, cracked moldings and partially finished “home Improvement” projects in your house.  Well guess what?  Prospective buyers will not love them or overlook them and may not be able to get past them. They also have no attachment to your house, yet, and are not concerned that you are emotionally attached to it.  If you want prospective buyers to make an offer on your home, you have to get it in the best shape you reasonably can and depersonalize it so they can see themselves living there. You want as many people as you can to view your home, decide it is the one for them and bring you an offer.



Sorting, getting rid of clutter & preliminary packing. The goal here is to make your home appear more organized, more spacious and to get a jump start on packing.


-Get boxes- lots of them, and some garbage bags too.


-Set aside boxes for charity or a garage sale, boxes of things you're going to take to your new home and boxes/bags for garbage.


-Be ruthless!  If you haven't worn it, or used it in years, get rid of it!  Same goes for clothes that don't fit or are dated, books you'll never read, magazines, dishes, extra blenders, outgrown toys etc. Donate them to charity and feel good about yourself.

-Pack up all family photos, sentimental items, knick knacks, out of season clothing, and things you can do without until you move.

-Go through this process for every room, closet, the basement and the garage.

-Haul off all the donate items to a charty who will take them and get a tax recipt.a garage sale.

-Consider renting a storage unit, getting a POD or borrowing space in a friend's garage to store the boxes of things you have packed up for the move.  Piling them in your own garage or basement will make the space seem cramped.



Clean, no I mean REALY CLEAN!  Now that you've gotten rid of all the clutter it's time to bring on the elbow grease!    If you are too busy or unable, do a quick internet search for local cleaners.  If you are a customer or client of Coldwell Banker Prime Properties, call Sheila Kebler our Concierge Director at 518-640-4016 and she will give you a few great cleaners to work for you.

-Start from top to bottom so gravity doesn't dirty up where you've already cleaned.

-Light fixtures: clean and make sure they all have working bulbs.

-Windows: inside and out, screens, tracks and sills.  Wash curtains and thoroughly clean all blinds.

-Walls and ceilings: wash and remove all scuff marks.  Try a magic eraser for tough areas- they really work wonders.  Don't forget the baseboards.

-Closets: wash the walls, get rid of any odors, hang everything up neatly, fold things carefully, clear off the floor, and if you want to go the extra mile, group like colours together.

-Kitchen: Clean the cupboards, inside and out. Clear everything off the counters to make it appear spacious. No appliances, spice racks, oven mitts, etc. allowed!  Clean the backsplash, the appliances- inside and out, use a mild bleach solution to get rid of stains on the counters and in the sink, make sure all the chrome surfaces like the faucet sparkle.

-Bathrooms: clean dirty grout, clean out and organize the cupboards, make sure there isn't a spot of mold, mildew, or lime scale anywhere, clean the toilet- inside and out, make sure the counter tops, sink and taps shine.  Put away everything: buyers don't want to see hair appliances, beauty products, toothbrushes,  extra rolls of toilet paper etc.

-Wash the floors.  Do this by hand so you can get into the corners, behind the toilet etc.

-Vacuum the carpets and consider having them professionally cleaned if you haven't had it done in awhile.

-Wash all throw rugs and bathmats.

-Bedrooms: Dust all furniture, make sure your bed is made and your linens are clean.  Don't leave hampers visible and clean all clothing and everything else up off the floor. Make sure to put away all the things that accumulate on your dressers: spare change, receipts, hair brushes etc.

-Basement: since you've already cleared out the clutter you can sweep the floors, wipe the dust off the furnace and air it out if it's damp.

-Garage: Clean and sweep to make it appear as large as possible.

-Outside- power wash decks and siding. Clean your front door, steps etc.



The finishing touches. Now that your house is free from clutter and sparkling clean, it's time to address decorating and minor repairs and updating.


-Consider the colours throughout your home.  It's easier for buyers to picture themselves living in your home if the colours are light and neutral.  If you are unsure of what colour to choose, consider dropping by your local hardware store.

-Pick up some fresh, plush towels for the bathrooms to add a touch of luxury, but don't use them!

-Many people have too much furniture. Make your rooms feel more spacious by paring down. Store bookcases and extra chairs.  Make sure rooms are easy to maneuver without excess furniture impeding the flow.

-Make sure the outside of your house is inviting.  This is especially important because buyers who are turned off by the exterior may choose not to come inside.  Plant flowers, weed and prune overgrown gardens, trim your bushes, make sure your grass is cut in the warmer weather and the snow and ice is cleared from the sidewalks in the cold.

-Replace special items that you plan on taking with you. If you are particularly attached to your chandelier, for instance, keep it out of sight and out of mind.  You don't want to get a buyer's heart set on something she can't have and blow the whole deal over it.

-If your bedspreads are worn out, consider replacing them.

-Oil the squeaks out of hinges and make all those little repairs that you never got around to, like the running toilet, leaky faucet etc... Buyers notice these things.

-If your kitchen hasn't been updated in decades, give it an inexpensive facelift by painting the cupboards (again, consult the experts) and replacing the countertops.  This is a very cost effective way to appeal to buyers.

-Fix the things that need fixing!


 Setting the Mood


Now that you've gone through the list, you can pat yourself on the back because all the hard work is done.  The only thing left is optimizing the showing experience for prospective buyers.


-Turn on all the lights, even the lamps to make your home appear more spacious.

-Play soft music at a low volume.

-Bake something delicious so your house smells great.  Or course, the opposite is also true- avoid strong cooking smells, like onions, garlic, fish and curry before showings as well.


We as Realtors want to get you the most money when your house sells. Selling a home is a team effort. If you put in a little sweat equity at the start of the sale property we can get to the SOLD sign faster. If you need inspiration or what to check to see if your house is in the “top dollar” category, check out some pictures on Pinterest or Houzz and see how you stack up. When we sell a house and we want top dollar we need to channel our inner Martha Steward and hide our Al Bundy side.


Maryah Mac Donald

Maryah Mac Donald

Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Contact Me