Transitions-Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga Real Estate Blog: Getting Your House Ready for Sale in Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton or Mississauga

Real Estate blog about property, home buying and selling, life in Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga Regions of Ontario, Canada.

Getting Your House Ready for Sale in Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton or Mississauga

Getting Your House Ready for Sale in Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton or Mississauga.

A successful sale in a short time period, with a maximum sale price, is an achievable goal if you take the time to prepare your property before you put it up for sale.

Determining your home's 'curb appeal' is one of the most important things you can do.

Starting just beyond the property line at the front of the house, face the property and determine what catches your eye first.

Are there unkempt garden areas and overgrown shrubs and weeds?

Is the front entrance area/landing cluttered with items that perhaps could be stored away in the basement or a garden shed?

Is the siding clean and bright and is the wood trim tidy and not peeling or damaged?
 Is the garage door clean and in good condition without any peeling paint or scuffs, dents and scrapes?

How's about the drive and walkways? Are they weed-free and have any glaring cracks or heaved areas been repaired?

Are the driveway and walkway's clean and clutter free?

Remember as we walk around, observing things from a buyer's eyes, that first impressions are extremely important and can set the tone for the rest of the viewing and the subsequent decision on whether or not to make an offer on the property and how much that offer will be.

As a buyer observes your property, they notice all things that need repair or replacement and they keep a running mental list of the costs that may be involved.

The amount of money that they determine the house is going to need will impact greatly on what amount they decide to offer you and oftentimes will make deductions from the list price according to how much the house needs to bring it up to par.

With these things in mind, make a copy of the following checklist and lets take a walk around your property to see what passes and where a bit of time invested now will bring the greatest price and quickest sale.

1.Lawn area:

  • Weed-free__
  • Bare patches reseeded__
  • Litter free__
  • Mown__
  • Well watered and healthy in appearance__
  • Not encroaching onto walkways and garden areas__
  • Holes/depressions filled in and seeded__


  • Crack-free__
  • Relatively Spot-free__
  • Clutter and weed-free__
  • Crisp borders with lawn and garden areas__


  • Weed free__
  • Clean and freshly delineated from garden and lawn areas__
  • Attractive__
  • Safe__
  • Clutter and litter-free__
  • If winter, are walkways and front stoop neatly shoveled, salted and all ice removed?__


  • Are trees and shrubs neatly trimmed and attractive?__
  • Does the choice of shrubs/plants suit the architecture of the house?__
  • Are there colourful points of interest such as brightly coloured flowers and planters?__
  • Is any of the landscaping causing damage to the foundation or siding of the house?__
  • Is there proper grading that leads water down and away from the foundation of the house?__
  • Excessive vines trimmed away or removed, particularly from sides of house__
  • Clutter and litter free back and side yards?__
  • All garden tools, toys, etc neatly stored in shed or other storage area?__
  • Gardens neatly weeded and attractive?__
  • All pet areas clean and scent free?__
  • Dead trees/branches removed?_
  • Outdoor ornaments/furniture attactive, clean and in good repair?__

5.Outside appearance of house structure:

  • Eavestroughs firmly attached, clean, in good condition and freshly painted__
  • Soffits and fascia clean and in good repair__
  • Proper downspouts that lead away from the foundation of the house__
  • Clean exterior siding/brick__
  • Exterior siding/brick is in good repair__
  • Windows clean and sparkling__
  • All ripped/broken window/door screens and glass repaired/replaced__
  • Window trim in good condition and freshly painted__
  • Window sills in good condition, clean and/or freshly painted__
  • Doors in good state of repair, clean and/or freshly painted/stained with all hardware functioning properly__
  • Foundation clean and in good repair with no cracks__
  • Roof clean and in good repair with no damage or clear signs of wear__
  • Tree branches not rubbing on roof shingles/roof__
  • Chimneys clean and in good repair with no signs of damage__
  • Central air conditioning unit easily accessible, clean and in good repair__
  • All hornet/bee/bird nests removed from house structure and any entrances into attic from outside patched and repaired__
  • Deck clean, in good state of repair and freshly stained__
  • Stairs clean, in good repair and freshly stained__
  • Proper railings on all stair/deck areas__
  • Fences in good state of repair, attractive, clean and/or freshly painted stained__
  • Remove any unseasonal decor such as Christmas lights, wreaths, etc.__
  • Attractive window treatments/blinds can help a house to look more attractive from the outside. Consider white or neutral tone lace curtains or drapes__
  • Door mats are in good repair and are clean and attractive__
  • Mailbox is attractive and in good state of repair__
  • Exterior lighting all works (replace any burnt out bulbs or non-functioning fixtures) and is clean__


  1. A gallon of paint will pay for itself many times over.

  2. You only have one chance to make a positive first impression.

  3. Buyers do not want to buy a property that is dirty, unkempt, unsightly or in need of many repairs.

  4. If you do not have a green thumb and do not want to hire a landscaping company/gardener, consider planting some geraniums in flower beds or planters. Red flowers attract the eye and make a property appear more cheerful and inviting.

  5. The time and effort you expend on the exterior of your property prior to listing it, will lead to many buyers coming in to take a look with a quick sale netting you a maximum sale price.

  6. Renting or borrowing a pressure washer to use on the exterior of your house, driveway, walkway and deck, will greatly enhance the appearance of your property and help buyers to feel a sense of confidence that the property has been taken care of and is a wise purchase choice.

If you are considering selling your property and would like a professional opinion of the most important things that you should do to prepare your property for sale, I would be happy to give you my advice.

Having an outside party who will look at your property through the eyes of a buyer, will help you to focus your time, money and effort on those areas where you will receive the greatest payback.

If you are considering selling your property in Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton or Mississauga and would like a professional opinion of the most important things that you should do to prepare your property for sale, I would be happy to provide you with this service, free of cost or obligation.

With spring on it's way, now's the time to set down a plan for those things your Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton or Mississauga property needs in order to net you the top selling price you're hoping for.



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Comment balloon 20 commentsJo-Anne Smith • February 20 2010 12:14PM


Great Post with great ideas.


Posted by Cathy Polan, Royal Lepage Proalliance Realty Sales Rep. (Royal LePage ProAlliance Realty,Brokerage) over 9 years ago

What a load of info Jo!  No wonder you're the expert in your area that everyone flocks to!

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 9 years ago


Great info!  I think I'll reblog -- whatever that is -- HA!  Have a great weekend.

Posted by Jane Taylor (RE/MAX Realty Group) over 9 years ago

Jo, thats's a great list that you posted. It doesn't hurt to be thorough. Thanks for posting

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 9 years ago

Jo, my goodness what a comprehensive list for your Sellers! I love the homes where they can check all these things off right when you first talk with them. Even if that is not the case what a helpful guide you have given your client!

Posted by Jeanean Gendron, Specializing in Selling Unique Properties (The Address Realty) over 9 years ago

Jo - thank you for this wonderful list of things to be aware of when you are getting your home ready for sale. I Provided some juice I rebloged it and flagged it.

Posted by Kathy Clulow, Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results (RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Jo, As I was reading your wonderful "must do" list of things, I noticed that you have to remind people to remove their old ornaments.  I'm sorry to say I still see them all over and I'm glad you added it to the list.  But you are SO right, pulling up to a potential home that is unkept can make you not want to get out of the car---you give some excellent advice!

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 9 years ago

thanks Catherine!

Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 9 years ago


You're too kind....I only wish everyone would flock to me. (-:


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 9 years ago

Thank you!


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 9 years ago

Thanks Malcolm....feel free to use this list with your clients.


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 9 years ago


If all of these are taken care of, a place just shouts WELCOME!


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 9 years ago

Thanks so kindly, Kathy!


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 9 years ago


I too don't understand the Christmas lights staying up so long...some people never take them down!


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 9 years ago

Jo - This is a fantatic list.  Last night I saw one house with its Christmas lights shining brightly.

Posted by FN LN over 9 years ago

Hi Jo,

A lot of sellers have a hard time distinguishing between make their home "sellable" and making it worth more.

When we sold our last house we took six months to get it ready for the market: gardens, painting the deck, cleaning up clutter, lifting up carpet, refinishing hardwood floors, minor repairs, and a new coat of paint...or two...throughout the entire house to make it fresh and clean.

And all that was not so we could get more money for it...all that was so we could be competitive. We stuck to what market value dictated our house should be worth, got multiple, competing offers, and sold firm in 20 days.

It's a pay now or pay later scenario, and it's always best to pay up before the house is listed.

Posted by Not In Real Estate Any Longer over 9 years ago

Jo, I was struck by how detailed this post is.  Although I knew most all of the points I still had to look at each one for reinforcement...very helpful info for all of us, especially the seller.

Posted by Nick T Pappas, Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource (Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL) over 9 years ago


Really? I see the odd one too, and come to think of it, it always kind of cheers me up and I pause to think maybe they have the Christmas spirit year-round.....


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 9 years ago


I'm not surprised that you got multiple, competing offers....kudos to  you for preparing in advance and netting top value for your home!


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 9 years ago

hi Nick,

Feel free to use this list with your clients, if you want...


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 9 years ago

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