Advice From Real Estate Experts

Tips for preparing your house, recommended by Janic Gosselin of Fraîcheur Déco.

When preparing your house for a visit by a potential buyer, look at it in its entirety, as if you were seeing it for the first time.

The importance of first impressions

As with an initial romantic meeting or a job interview, the first impression is the most important. This also applies to your house. When a buyer enters a house and sees finger marks on the glass in the front door or a cluttered hall, he or she may have a negative reaction. Similarly, strong odours may ruin a sale: pay attention to odours from pets, cooking or cigarettes in your house. Light pleasantly perfumed candles, or have cookies baking in the oven when your house is being visited. Fresh flowers, especially in the spring or winter, help enliven and brighten your house.

Get rid of clutter

Hold a sale or bring old furniture and surplus clothing or trinkets to a charitable organization that accepts them. Arrange your storage cabinets and shelves, and purge unnecessary items from your house. Make sure kitchen and bathroom counters are free of small appliances and personal items. It is also important to update your décor. There are many quick, easy and inexpensive tricks. Advice from a home staging professional becomes essential to distinguish your property from other houses on the market.

Everything should be clean

Make sure every room is clean, stain-free, dusted and uncluttered. Steam-clean carpets and wax wooden floors. Wash the walls, ventilation and heating vents, and light fixtures. Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms, making sure there is no mould on the ceramic tiles and the panels are rubbed clean. Clean the refrigerator, stove, washing machine and dryer (inside and outside). Don’t forget the windowpanes.

Drawing attention from outside

Exterior appearance influences a buyer’s decision to go and look inside. Paint or wash the outside of your house. Check the gutters and chimney, and do any necessary repairs. Grass should be cut and flowerbeds cleared of weeds. Clear the driveway and yard of children’s toys, and put away any garbage bins, which are never pleasant to look at.

Indicate walking spaces using vases, and make sure the flowerboxes are filled with healthy seasonal plants. Replace old or broken lights, and wash the outside windowpanes and sills. If you have a garage, make sure it is clean and free of any big piles of items.

Create an illusion of space

To make your house look more spacious, it is essential to remove unnecessary items and reorganize the space. Start by removing surplus furniture so that rooms seem more open, and move items of a size that is not suited a room. For example, oversized sofas may be quite comfortable but can give the impression the room is smaller than it really is. Clean and arrange closets, and remove any accumulations in any corner of the house. Place any unnecessary items away from traffic in rooms, or rent a temporary storage space. Well positioned mirrors can also create the illusion of space.

Embellish your back yard

Don’t forget the back yard. A visit to a house does not always end at the back door. In addition to size and layout, potential buyers may be influenced by your back yard’s condition. Grass, hedges and flowerbeds should be impeccable. Try to create a pleasant spot to gather (even in winter) by sweeping the terrace, cleaning or installing patio furniture and removing twisted barbecue covers. Buy containers for storing gardening tools, children’s toys and pool maintenance items. If you do have a pool, make sure the cover is off and the water looks inviting, with no algae at the bottom. Also, a visitor may want to look inside the shed; make sure it is clean and well organized.