Transitions-Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga Real Estate Blog: Getting the Exterior of a House Ready to Sell

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

Getting the Exterior of a House Ready to Sell

You've made the decision to sell your house or perhaps you are in charge of selling a house for an estate or via power of attorney. A successful sale in a short time period, with a maximum sale price, is an achievable goal if you take the time to properly prepare the property in advance.

There are various things you can do to prepare a property for sale and I'll take you through each step as though we were looking at things through a prospective buyer's eyes. With this in mind, I ask you to grab a clipboard with paper and pen now and let's take a walk around the property.

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 for the property and most 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 for your property.

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 come over and give you my advice.

There is no cost or obligation for this service and having an outside party who will look at your property through the eyes of a buyer, will help you to focus your time and efforts on the areas where it will be the most beneficial to a successful and smooth sale of your property.

There You ARE!  I've Been Waiting For You!!!
Let's Get to Know One-Another:

Comment balloon 16 commentsJo-Anne Smith • March 09 2008 04:47PM


Hi Jo-Anne,

I have had clients put off putting their home on the market for months because they thought it "wasn't perfect." 

Posted by Leslie Bloss, Bellevue Real Estate Professional about 12 years ago
Those are great tips...especially with spring around the corner and the ability to do all without snow! Great pointers that the consumer will gobble up!
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) about 12 years ago
First impressions are so important. I know it is work but it can help buyers choose one house over the other.
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) about 12 years ago


Things will never be 'perfect', however a truly motivated seller will take care of many of the items on the above list if they wish to be brought closer to netting top dollar for their property. The majority of the above list is low cost or no-cost.

If a seller is unable to do a lot of these things due to time or health restrictions, their real estate sales representative will be able to recommend contacts to them who do these sorts of things for a living.

As well, there may be family and or neighbourhood teenagers who wish to make some spending money and would be more than happy to tackle some of these things.


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith about 12 years ago

Hi Sally,

Thanks for stopping by and for your appreciative comment!
We had another big snowstorm here yesterday, however spring is right around the corner and now is certainly the time to be thinking of all of these things.



Posted by Jo-Anne Smith about 12 years ago


Nothing worth having comes easy or without effort.....and as you've indicated, this goes for a smooth and financially rewarding property sale too. 



Posted by Jo-Anne Smith about 12 years ago


Great checklist for those selling!!! Good bookmark post! I'll be sure not to let my wife see it...she'll want to use it for her honey do list this Spring!!! :^) Thanks,   Fran

Posted by Fran Gaspari, "The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ (Patriot Land Transfer, Inc.) about 12 years ago
Jo it is all about the first impression when you drive up in most cases. Great Post!
Posted by Linda Futral about 12 years ago
There are some great tips Jo...I'm saving it. It's a perfect check list!
Posted by Joan Mirantz, Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire (Homequest Real Estate) about 12 years ago
Jo, Wow what a list you put together.  I especially love "A gallon of paint will pay for itself many times over."  That is SO true.  I don't know how many people really put that much thought or effort into the exterior and it's so important.
Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 12 years ago

Hi Fran,

Your comment brought a smile to my face. I believe that with the help of your sons you do a great job of taking care of all of the items on the 'honey-do' list your wife gives you. You just seem like that kind of guy....

thanks for your nice comment 



Posted by Jo-Anne Smith about 12 years ago

Hi Linda,

I agree.

Curb appeal is everything! It sets the tone for the rest of the viewing and if it's a positive curb appeal, the buyers are more likely to feel good about the entire showing.


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith about 12 years ago

Thanks Joan!

It's a good benchmark list for clients to go over their properties with prior to listing.


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith about 12 years ago


I'm sure you, as a feng shui consultant, have some excellent knowledge about why the outside appearance is so important. I believe it must also help with contributing positive energy to the whole process.


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith about 12 years ago
That's a very comprehensive list Jo that you clearly put a lot of time into.  Curb appeal makes such a difference, doesn't it?
Posted by Marg Scheben, Edey - Collingwood, Ontario (RE/MAX four seasons realty limited) about 12 years ago

Hi Marg,

Curb appeal is a huge factor....especially in the spring, summer and fall.

Thanks for stopping by!


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith about 12 years ago

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