Market Preparation Countdown


Successfully selling your house is not just a matter of deciding to do so and putting a sign in the yard. You can do that. But if you go that route you are sure to leave some money on the table. A far more successful track is to plan ahead and prepare.

I can help you do that!

Some things to keep in mind…

  • Everything will take just a bit longer than you think.
  • The largest time investment will be in deep cleaning your entire house.
  • Quality packing materials (or reusable rented bins) are underrated.
  • A rented storage container or storage unit could make your job so much easier and pay for itself by making your home look larger.
  • Almost all the tasks on this list can be outsourced if you have more money than time.
  • If you truly want to just go the “I’m outta here” route, the most important items relate to the home’s entry where first and last impressions are made.


30 Days Out

Market Analysis Complete, Preliminary Pricing Decided, Listing paperwork filled out.

Order a professional home & sewer line inspection to identify any needed repairs.

Get packing materials – Uhaul sells sturdy boxes that don’t smell like cabbage; Frog Box
604-609-3764 provides reusable bins and packing materials. Many companies now offer portable storage containers and can take them off site once filled.
Additional supplies: packing tape, Sharpies, box cutter, zip ties, garbage bags, large zip locks bags, clip board for all your lists

Moving out before activating listing? Empty the house and skip ahead to Day 25



 Days 25-30 (this will vary widely depending on size of house and how long you have lived there. Take the time to do it right)

Purge & Pack – Declutter as much as possible to make your rooms, closets, pantry and cupboards look bigger. Think of a hotel room. It has everything you NEED, and that’s it! Now is the time for garage sales, donation drop off/pick up, and the inevitable dump runs. There are services that will haul away your unwanted items for you. A large truckload runs about $500.

*Attic & Basement *Under the stairs *Garage (including up in the rafters)
*Closets (bedroom, linen, hall) *Pantry *Kitchen Cabinets
*Bathroom Vanity & Cabinet *Bookshelves *Fridge/Freezer (yes people will look!)
*Under the kitchen sink *Laundry *Any outdoor storage
*Under the deck *Much of what is on the wall *Anything that looks like it lacks a home

Your goal is for every area to be half empty and free of personal items. It will feel weird. That’s ok.  It will look to buyers like the home has space to spare and that is very desirable. As you pack, set aside any house related receipts or warranty papers.



Day 25

Start Those Lists – Now that you can see what you are working with, and with inspection report and clipboard in hand, it is time to go through the house, room by room, with the critical eye of a buyer. What repairs should you do? That depends. If it’s a cheap and easy fix, like filling nail holes and touching up paint or replacing a piece of missing trim that is on the bench in the garage…do it. If it’s something critical to the house getting a bank loan, like broken window or leaky roof…you should plan to do that too. If, heaven forbid, there are signs of pests, you should definitely take care of that!



Other items that might be worth your time and money:

*New Front Door *Replace outdated light fixtures *New faucets (use caution with older plumbing)
*Recaulk tub & sinks *Clean or replace grout *Cracked lights switches or outlets
*Place colorful pots by front door *Replace or repair window screens *Fresh interior paint in a neutral color, exterior paint
*Replace old appliances *New sod *Replace old or worn carpeting
*Fix any doors that don’t open, close or latch *Fix or replace damaged downspouts, gutters *New house numbers, exterior light fixtures
*Replace noisy or non-functioning bath fans *Replace damaged interior doors, trim *New landscaping at front of house


Day 15-20                                                            

 Take it Outside – Focus first on what is seen from the street and as you approach  the front door.


*Pressure wash hardscape *Clean siding and trim *Clean gutters, remove moss from roof
*Fresh trim/door paint *New welcome mat *Mow & edge lawn
*Weed garden beds & add mulch *Trim Hedges *Wash/Paint/Stain garage door
*Neatly coil hoses *Put away toys *Wash outdoor furniture (or remove)
*Wash or stain deck *Clean/stain fence *Pack up “yard art”


Walk to the street & use your “buyer” eyes:         

  • Can you clearly see the house numbers?
  • Does the entry invite you in?
  • Can you definitively say “That is the main entrance.” Or is it unclear?
  • How does the house compare to neighboring houses?
  • Does it look well-kept and attractive?
  • Are there any messy areas that need tending? (garbage cans, I’m talking to you!)


Day 10-15

Clean, Clean, Clean – After packing, this will be the largest investment of time. Imagine the Queen is coming to stay. Seriously. Shiny. Top to bottom. No one lives like this. Clean!











Kitchen – top priority

  • light fixture
  • vent hood – replace screen
  • clear countertops, scrub sink, check caulking
  • wipe down cabinet doors and drawer fronts, vacuum and wipe out inside, tidy contents
  • clean fridge and freezer in and out, dispose of nearly empty and any items past their use by date
  • top of fridge and cabinets, top of any doors
  • floors and baseboards
  • remove art, photos and magnets from fridge
  • windows

Bathrooms – second priority

  • light fixture
  • countertops cleared and scrubed, sink
  • empty and wipe drawers and cabinets
  • windows, mirrors
  • scrub toilet, new seat?
  • floor and baseboards
  • tub, shower, enclosure, new shower curtain, check caulking

All other rooms – Start at the top and work your way down.

  • cobwebs
  • ceiling fans (vacuum, dust and wipe clean)
  • fireplace, mantel, bookshelves
  • dust floors and blinds
  • steam clean carpeting,  curtains (+furniture if you have pets)
  • trim and baseboards
  • windows

Exhausted just reading this? Depending on the size of the house you can have this cleaning done for $500-$1,000 including windows. You will definitely see a return on that investment.

Even if it is in an unfinished basement, put some effort into making the laundry area look clean and inviting. You can paint a cement floor or put down an indoor/outdoor rug (Ikea) and hang inexpensive curtains (Ikea again) to cover unfinished walls. A coat of white paint can make a basement ceiling with its pipes and ductwork and joists all hanging out look neatly kept. Taking care of little details helps buyers trust that you  also took care of the big details.


And when you are all done, take a walk around with a cold beverage, a damp microfiber cloth and some blue painters tape. Go room by room and admire your results. Flag with tape any items that still need attention, check for burned out bulbs, give doorknob, and light switches a quick wipe.

Our goal is for you is to get maximum return through this process.  If you every wonder “should I???”,  just ask. We will never advise you to make a repair or improvement that we don’t think is important or feel won’t pay you back with interest.

We look forward to working with you!

Karen & Cori