In spite of the current drop in Real Estate prices, a desirable property can still get a good return.  If you are thinking about selling your property within the next 6- 12 months, now is a good time to start changing your home into a showcase.

I have had clients who are so busy with family, work and community commitments that house keeping just didn’t fit into their busy schedules despite their best efforts.  So for those of you that fall into this category hire some help!  Your Realtor® can recommend reputable cleaning services and contractors to help you to repair and spruce things up.


For those of you who can do it yourself,

here is a list of  10 Commandments to help prepare your property for market.


What can YOU do to get TOP DOLLAR in today’s real estate market?


1. Thou shalt have GREAT STREET APPEAL.

We all do it.  The drive-by.  If the front of your house is not looking appealing,  the buyers wont even book a showing.  Neat and tidy will not break the bank, a large potted arrangement, a freshly painted front door and a new welcome mat is worth the investment.  Do your own drive-by past your house, how does it compare with others in the neighbourhood?


2. Thou shalt DECLUTTER. 

Some people have a tough time with this one but always remember, “Less is best”.  Pack it away, discard, remove it! It will save a lot of work on moving day! Don’t forget those collections! The plate collection, the hockey card collection, the model car collection…..pack it away!


3. CLEANLINESS is next to Godliness (and will attract a better offer!)

This just goes without saying. Clean, Clean, Clean! Try to avoid using heavily scented commercial cleaning products. Natural products such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemons are less offensive to potential buyers and don’t smell like you are trying to hide something nasty! Pay particular attention to the bathroom and kitchen! Our brokerage offers a $100 cleaning credit to help you when you list with us!



Of course we our proud of our family photos, kids, pets, vacations, graduations, weddings and we have spent countless dollars on photographers, frames etc to create wonderful displays and galleries on our walls.  The buyers need to feel like this could be their home and your family photos can be very distracting and even invasive.  Also, photos of the interior of your home are going to be featured on the internet, Realtor.ca, Facebook, and Kijiji.  Your family may not be comfortable with their memories being shared on the world wide web.


5. Thou shalt not offend our sense of SMELL!

This is actually a tough one.  Our sense of smell adjusts over time. You may not even be aware that your home has an offensive smell.  I had a favourite perfume that I wore for years….I always got comments on how nice it smelled, but I was sad that I could no longer smell it myself.  This commandment probably deserves the most attention.  Houses that smell bad generally sell for a whopping 20% LESS than comparable properties!!  There are a lot of sources of bad smells…..that bag of hockey equipment, a damp musty basement, pets, the kitty litter, smokers, cooking with strong spices such as curry, (I love curry, but many people find it offensive). Find the source of the offensive smell and remove it. Flush your home with fresh air. Essential oil diffusers can help to clean the air. Change the filter on your furnace. Do not use commercial air fresheners….they smell like you are trying to hide something! Not to mention, many people are allergic to them.  Fresh baked bread, cookies, and fresh brewed coffee will add very inviting scents to prospective buyers for your open houses and showings.


6. Thou shalt not have a leaky ROOF.

There is a debate amongst Realtors® about having a new roof.  Some argue that this is a buyer’s preference and not worth the Sellers expense.  My argument is that a roof has a shelf life and not only can sway a buyer, but cause an issue if a bank appraisal is needed for financing.  One of the first questions asked by most buyers is “how old is the roof?”  A home inspection WILL reveal if there is an issue with the roof, which will bring a buyer back to the negotiating table.  The cost of repairing a roof or replacing it is absolutely in the best interest of the Seller, in my opinion, to take care of it.  Buyers will usually negotiate for twice the actual cost!


7. Thou shalt not have RENTAL EQUIPMENT.

In the case of a water heater….this is usually not an issue, so don’t worry about it, but furnace rentals or water systems etc should maybe be offered as a payout by the seller on closing if possible.  Companies such as Culligan will install water systems: reverse osmosis, iron filtration, and a water softener as a package to be paid in monthly instalments as a rent to own, common in country properties. Furnace rentals can be costly and need to be considered.


8. Thou shalt have UPDATED HYDRO SERVICE.

This is a particular issue for older homes.  Financing and insuring a home that is still using knob and tube wiring can be a challenge.  Fuse boxes will also deter a home buyer.  An updated breaker system that can support multiple appliances is much more attractive to buyers and will help to speed the sale of your home at a more marketable price.



Don’t scare the buyer with dark corners! For daylight showings, draw the curtains, open the blinds, & make sure the windows and sills are sparkly clean.  Make sure that all burnt out bulbs are replaced and all light switches are in good working order! Make sure that all light domes and fixtures are void of dust and dead bugs. Your house is on stage and needs stage lights to show it off!



Your Realtor® can advise you how best to show your property and how to price it competitively in the market.


Don’t have a Realtor®? Contact me!

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