If you are selling your house, your agent has (or should have) told you that preparing your home for sale and show is perhaps the most critical part of the sale process. The first impression will instil in the potential buyer a desire to purchase and could affect the speed at which they will make an offer. If their first impression is awesome, their initial offer may also be higher.

There are two basic principles that apply to the fix-up process. Keep them in mind as you read this report and as you prepare your most valuable asset for sale:

  1. The perception of abundant space is often more important than the actual size of the property.
  2. Most people envy those who can claim a place of calm amongst the storms of life. Your home must look lived in, but radiate the order that most home buyers strive for.

With these principles in mind, here are a few tips you can use as a starting point to prepare your home. The list is by no means exhaustive – you know your own house far better than we do. Add to the list and check off each item that is important for you to get done. Bear in mind that some exercises (such as applying a coat of paint) cannot be done at the last minute.

In the garden/exterior

1. Keep the lawn neatly trimmed.

2. Weed and water all garden beds, ensuring that they are neat and well kept.

3. Put a potted plant outside the entrance of your house.

4. Make sure walkways are weed-free and that all potholes have been filled.

5. Ensure that wooden outdoor furniture has had a fresh coat of varnish and that all outside metal is rust-free.

6. If you have a shed, clean it out completely, leaving only enough to show continual use.

7. Apply number 6 to your workroom as well, ensuring that all tools are stacked neatly.

8. Straighten and/or repaint your boundary wall, ensure that your mailbox looks good and make sure your gutters are in good condition.

9. Ensure that your front doorbell or intercom is in working condition.

10. Tighten loose doorknobs and oil squeaking hinges.

11. Repair all broken windows.

12. Ensure that staff quarters are neat, clean and well kept.

13. Clear out the garage of everything but cars.


In the house

1. Shampoo the carpets.

2. Clean the blinds, walls and tiles.

3. Wash the curtains and make sure they are hung correctly.

4. Remove items from your cupboards that do not need to be there, including excess clothing. Give your cupboards a neat, uncluttered look as potential buyers will be looking into them to assess the amount of storage space available.

5. Create space by removing excess furniture from your property.

6. Arrange furniture so that walkways through the home are unobstructed.

7. Pack away your personal keepsakes & photos.

8. Ensure that your children’s bedrooms have images that are conservative i.e. that their wall posters have been scaled down to a minimum.

9. Open as many blinds and curtains as possible to ensure the maximum amount of light.

10. If you decide to repaint, choose lighter colours as these give the impression of more space.

11. Remove excess appliances from your kitchen – make it look used, but spacious.

12. Keep your sink free of dishes at all times.

13. Organise your kitchen cupboards. If necessary, remove some of the dishes and glasses.

14. Clean your oven.

15. Keep fresh flowers in your kitchen – preferably those that have a pleasant smell.

16. Place plants in strategic spots in rooms – the bigger, the more glamorous (if space permits).

17. Ensure that taps are not leaking and that toilet cisterns are 100% functional.

18. Ensure that all lights are working fully and replace broken bulbs.

19. Hang mirrors where they will reflect outdoor light as this will make the room look larger.

20. Remove debris from all light fixtures.

21. Remove clutter which gives an impression of insufficient packing space.