Get Your Home Ready to Sell in 30 Days

Are you planning on listing your home in the fast-approaching spring market? Are you ready?

Don’t worry, you’re not too late! Here we provide you with a 30 day plan to get your home ready to sell!

Day 1 – Get some moving supplies!

Although you may not move for months, now is the time to start de-cluttering so you will need something to put your stuff in. While it is definitely possible to track down free boxes from local retailers, we highly recommend investing in proper boxes and other supplies. For under $100, you can easily buy enough supplies to get you through the entire move! If you don’t already have one, get a packing tape dispenser; this is a small investment that you won’t regret!

Day 2 – How’s the lighting?

Today you will take a tour of your home and look at all the light fixtures. Replace any burnt out bulbs (we all have a few!); you want your house to be nice and bright for potential buyers. Also, take a look at your light fixtures and if they are dated; consider replacing them. This is a very cost effective way to make your home look more modern.

Day 3 – Dig Out Your Paperwork

In order to list your home, you will need to provide your most recent annual property tax amount but while you are looking for that statement, dig out other documents that may be of interest to prospective buyers: utility bills, rental agreements, warranties, receipts from major renovations, surveys, and your mortgage details. Don’t be fumbling later; have it all ready to go now!

Day 4 –  Clean Up the Bathroom

We’re not talking about the weekly chore here. Take some time to remove all your extra toiletries and if you can’t live without them for while, think back to your college dorm days and get a cheap shower caddy; this will make it easy for you to take them in and out for open houses and showings. If you don’t already have them, invest in some affordable matching accessories (don’t forget that you will want clean and crisp towels to hang out). Now is also a great time to do a deep clean. Spend some time ensuring all the crevices and grout are nice and clean!

Day 5 – Make an Extra Set of Keys

When your house is listed, agents and their clients will schedule showings and they will enter your home using a key that is left in a mechanical lockbox on the outside of your home. If you don’t want to have to use that lock box everytime you come and go, spend a couple of dollars today to make a spare set.

Day 6 – Spend Some Time in the Kitchen

Buyers put a big priority on kitchens so you want to put your best foot forward with this room. Today’s the day to make your kitchen shine. Start by removing the clutter. All those small appliances that we all have on our counters have got to go! Hide them in a pantry, cupboard, or even in the basement. Clean and organize your cupboards. Pull everything out, wash down the shelves, and replace them in an organized fashion. Pack away items that you know you won’t use again before you list (that Christmas platter is just taking up space and making the cupboard look cluttered!) Clean out your fridge and remove all the magnets and personal items from the outside. Clean the oven (check your manual to find out how). Last but not least, think about décor: fresh flowers and fruit bowls can have a big impact.

Day 7 – Take a nap, then tackle the bedrooms!

You want the bedrooms to be cozy and inviting and the biggest key to this is decluttering! You will want to remove all personal items (this includes photos) and pack them away for your new home. Think about your wardrobe and pack away anything you are unlikely to wear in the next few months; a jam-packed closet implies a lack of space! Head out to the store and pick up a crisp new neutral duvet cover and a few throw pillows for staging. Oh and take some time to do some deep cleaning; get rid of those pesky dust bunnies hiding under the bed!

Day 8 – Dining Room’s are for Eating!

Many of us use our dining rooms for a variety of purposes but you want to bring it back to its original purpose; it’s a place to eat. Remove the kids homework and other paperwork from the table and tidy up the hutch. Now would be a good time to invest in a table cloth if you don’t already have one! If your chairs are badly stained, you may want to consider switching them out or re-upholstering; although you won’t be selling them with the home, these are things that may stick out in potential buyers’ minds. When it comes time for showings, flowers make a great centerpiece for any table!

Day 9 – Tidy Up the Living Room

Take some time to clean your furniture properly! Vacuum away the pet hair and if they are stained, you may want to consider steam cleaning or an upholstery cleaner. Invest in some new throw pillows and décor to help the room pop. And once again, de-clutter! Get rid of magazines and all personal items.

Day 10 – De-Clutter the Basement

Basements tend to be one of the most cluttered places in a home so this may take more than a day. Because it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind and it often gets neglected. Take some time to go through the stuff in your basement; if you haven’t used it in ages, it can probably go (you don’t want to take it to your new home anyways!). Purge! Purge! Purge! Once you’ve done this, take some time to organize what is left. Storage bins or boxes that are all one uniform size will make the space look neater. Remember, you don’t want your basement to look cluttered and full; you want buyers to feel like they will have tons of space for their own stuff! If you just have too much stuff that you can’t part with, consider renting a storage unit. If you have many boxes of holiday décor (which many of us do), see if you can find a friend or family member to house it until after the move since you won’t need it anyways.

Day 11 – What’s in Your Closet?

We are all guilty of hiding things in the closet when we have company coming. They seem like the perfect place to put things so they are out of sight but when you are showing your home, you have to expect that buyers will open them up to inspect the space. They will want the closets and storage areas to feel spacious and have lots of room to store their own stuff. Take this as an opportunity to go through all your stuff and decide what you really need. If it’s seasonal, it can likely get packed away. Dust any shelves and make the spaces look neat, tidy, and organized.

Day 12 – Store, Donate/Sell, or Garbage

You have spent the last week going room to room in your house determining what can stay, and what should go but now what do you do with it all? Make 3 piles: keep (store), donate/sell, or garbage.

When deciding what you are going to keep, remember that you will have to find somewhere to put it all. If you have very little in your basement and garage, this might be a good option but otherwise you will likely have to store it off site, which is not ideal! For things that you will be keeping, pack them away neatly in bins and boxes, and take some time to make sure that they are organized. Label them so you’ll know where they need to go when you get to your new home.

Items that are still perfectly good but are no longer of use to you can either be donated or sold. There are many ways to go about this but you want to make sure that whatever you choose will get it out of your home quickly as you will be listing it in a few weeks! Social media and sites like kijiji are great for selling items but if you lots of things, it can get quite time consuming. Set a deadline and if it doesn’t sell by that date, you will donate those items.

Items for the garbage are no longer of use to you and would be unlikely to be of use to anyone else. Remember to think of the environment and recycle anything you can!

Day 13 – Get Rid of Your Personal Items

You will want to pack away all of your personal items. Grab a box and go room to room. Any  personal photographs need to go for two reasons: for your privacy and you want the buyers to picture themselves in your home (not your family). If you have any religious artefacts, you may also want to pack them away for the same reason. Find somewhere hidden to store your mail and pack away any jewelry. Remember, you want the buyer to come in and picture themselves living in your home; you don’t want them to be picturing your family!

Day 14 – Focus on the Entryway

This is where buyers will get their first impression of the inside of your home so make sure it’s a good one. A new door mat and interior rug will make the space look clean and inviting. Remove all the extra shoes and boots and stow them away; you will not be leaving them out for showing anyways. Things like shoe racks are very practical for everyday life but may look cluttered for showings. Also take some time to sweep your front step.

Day 15 – Hire a Realtor

Choosing the right Realtor for you can seem like a challenging process. You will want to find someone who will be the perfect fit for selling you home. Here are a few things to consider:

  • How much experience has this agent had and what is their track record?
  • Do they focus on your neighbourhood?
  • What will they do to promote your listing?
  • Can you get a referral?

We at West Ottawa Real Estate would be happy to meet with you. Contact us today!

“I’ve worked hard for years to provide a high level of service; and I put my name on the line every day. I also have a “client for life” philosophy: My goal is to give your real estate needs the utmost attention and focus so you will have the best possible real estate experience.” – Andy Oswald

Day 16 – Make the Windows Sparkle

This can be a big job depending on your home so make sure to leave yourself lots of time or hire a professional. You don’t want buyers to be checking out the wonderful views and only noticing the grimy windows. You need to clean both the inside and outside and there are many great products and tools out there that can help you do this.

Day 17 – Clean Up the Front Yard

As the snow melts, start taking inventory of your front yard. This will likely be an ongoing process throughout the spring but you can definitely start now. Rake away any leaves or garbage left from the winter and start tidying up your gardens. Sweep your driveway and walkways to remove all that dirt, sand, and salt that accumulated over the winter. As spring progresses, you will want to stay on top of your front yard (maintenance and planting) so today would also be a great day to make a list of all that you will need to do.

Day 18 – Create a Repair List

Do you have a door that sticks? A knob that has come loose? A cracked floor tile? Go room to room and note any repairs that you may need to do. Once you have gone through the whole house, take a look at your list and decide what you will be able to tackle yourself and what you will have to hire someone to do. If it’s within your budget, consider hiring a handyman to come in and do it all. Then you won’t have to do it; if you’ve been living with it this long, chances are you either don’t know how or don’t really want to fix it anyways.

Day 19 – Make the Backyard Awesome

Just like the front yard, as the snow is now melting away, you should start cleaning up. Rake away leave and garbage and clean out your gardens. Sweep patios and decks. As spring continues, make sure to stay on top of the regular maintenance. Don’t forget to pull your patio furniture and BBQ out of the garage or shed. You will want to make your backyard look like the warm weather oasis!

Day 20 – Repainting and Paint Touch Ups

While you were doing your earlier walk throughs, you likely noted spots where the paint needed touch ups or rooms that needed to be repainted altogether. A fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference in the first impressions of a room. If it’s within your timeline and budget, you may want to consider repainting the whole house. If it’s not, focus on rooms that need the most attention. It’s also advisable to have the rooms painted in neutral colours. Bright purple might have worked well with your décor but it may be a tougher sell to buyers.

Day 21 – Clean the Carpets

Today is the day to clean the carpets. You will want to either hire professionals or do it yourself with a high quality machine (these can be bought or rented). If you’re doing it yourself, make sure to pre-treat stains and high traffic areas. A proper cleaning will not only leave you with beautiful carpets but it will also leave your house smelling much fresher.

Day 22 – Wash the Walls and Doors

Scrub! Scrub! Scrub! Any walls and doors that are not freshly painted need to be washed. Water, a sponge, and some elbow grease is all you really need for this one! Be careful using cleaning products on walls as some may fade the paint or leave marks; test them first! Spend extra time on high traffic areas where there may be handprints and don’t forget the door knobs!

Day 23 – Polish the Floors

It’s time to polish those floors. Sweep, mop, steam: do whatever is appropriate for the types of floors you have! Today is not about spot cleaning; work from one corner of the room to the other and make sure to pull out furniture and appliances (when was the last time you cleaned under the fridge and stove?) At the same time, make sure to dust the baseboards if you haven’t done that already. This simple task can make a house look so much cleaner!

Day 24 – What About Pets?

If you have pets, extra care will likely be needed to ensure that there are no odours or stains left in your home. You don’t want prospective buyers to know you have pets so you will want to eliminate all signs of them. Today is not about getting rid of your animals but rather cleaning and planning. If you have a cat, make sure that the space around the litter box is clear of litter. Now is also the time to remove any stains on carpets and flooring. Pick up any dog piles in your yard. You will need to maintain these things as you go, but starting fresh will help keep it a manageable task.

One last tip: get a friend or relative to come into your home to check it for odours. When you live in a space, you may become oblivious to odours within it so a fresh nose is always advisable. They will help you pinpoint the spaces that need the most work.

Day 25 – What About the Kids?

Let’s face it, kids are messy. While a space for children can definitely be a selling feature, you don’t want your house to scream “daycare” as people walk through. Pack away most of the toys  and make sure everything is neat and tidy. Get down to their level, it will help you see some of the grime they have created!

Day 26 – Time to Deep Clean

If you have kept up with the day by day tasks, this one shouldn’t be too large since you have already done a lot of the big cleaning tasks. Your house will be going on the market in a few days and your Realtor will likely be taking pictures any day now. You want it to be perfect. Go through room by room and clean it again. Vacuum all the carpets, even in low traffic areas and scrub, scrub, scrub. Once your house is listed, you will also want to do this on a weekly basis to ensure that your house is ready for showings.

Day 27 – Make It Smell Good

As mentioned above on the day about pets, we become oblivious to the smells in our own homes as we get used to them. If you haven’t already, get someone you trust in to let you know of any odours that may be lurking. Once you find some, try to get to the root of the problem and clean it properly. If you spilled milk on couch, deep clean the couch to get it out. While some sprays can work as a temporary odour blocker, they are not a long term solution. If you do go the spray route, please choose unscented as some the scents can be overbearing. Think about what you can do for showing to make your home smell fresh; airing it out with the spring breeze, bringing in flowers, or baking can all achieve this goal.

Day 28 – Do a Final Once Over

You are getting so close. Now is the time to put away all those things that you thought you couldn’t live without a few weeks ago. Get rid of any clutter! Once you’ve done that, it’s time to pretend that you are a prospective buyer. Start out at the curb and take your time moving through your property and home. Be critical and look for the little things. Think about the impressions you would get if you were looking to buy this house. Make any last-minute adjustments from what you found through this walkthrough.

Day 29 – Make some plans for showings and open houses

Once your home is listed, there will certainly be times where you will need to leave to accommodate open houses or showings. Now is the time to plan for that as sometimes you may not have too much notice beforehand.

Make a list of all the tasks you will need to do. These are the last-minute cleaning tasks like cleaning the toilets, taking out the garbage, making sure all the dishes are done etc. Write it down and keep it handy. This way you can work through when you need to.

Make a list of all the things you need to remove from your home for showings. Depending on your situation, this list could be long or short. Sometimes it’s easier to throw some items in the car, rather than pack them away. Things you will want consider would be litter boxes, animal items, personal and valuable items, and toiletries.

Last step is to come up with a plan for where you will go. If you don’t have children or pets, this is much easier but if you do, you will need to consider them in your plans. It is highly recommended that pets be removed from the house for showings so you will need to have a place for them to go. If you have children, think of kid-friendly options that will work within your schedule.

Day 30 – Take a Deep breath, you are done!

You did it! Your home will be listed tomorrow and you couldn’t be any more prepared. It was a very  busy month but as you look around, you should be proud of what you accomplished. The time you took should make all the difference as buyers consider your home.

Just remember, you have to maintain all that you did so set aside time on a regular basis to do so! Good luck!


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