Selling Your Home

Preparing Your Home For Sale

Step 1

De-cluttering and De-personalizing

We all have too much stuff, and too much stuff can be distracting to potential Buyers. When preparing your home for sale, you want to eliminate as much clutter as possible-books, knick knacks, storage boxes, off-season clothes, your giant shoe collection, etc. It’s also important to neutralize your space as much as possible so that potential Buyers can see themselves living in your home-and that means putting away personal photos, mementos and collections.

Step 2


Think of the cleaning you need to do to prepare your home for sale as what you'd expect in a hotel room. Wash the baseboards, remove the cobwebs from the ceiling, clean inside your fridge and oven, clean inside your closets and kitchen cupboards, dust under your stuff and have the carpets professionally cleaned. Sadly, the cleaning won’t stop when your house goes on the market–every day, you’ll need to make your bed, do the dishes, wash the floors and clean up after the kids.

Step 3


Staging involves optimizing the use, look and feel of every room in your home. It might mean converting your home office to a third bedroom, adding, removing or re-arranging furniture, painting the walls, replacing light fixtures or investing in some fluffy towels for the guest bathroom. Whether you bring in a professional stager or just work with your REALTOR, making your home appeal to the greatest number of Buyers doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will take time. But remember: the effort you put into transforming your home will impact how long it takes your home to sell and of course, the price you get.

Step 4

Repairs and Renovations

Let's face it, we all have a tendency to procrastinate fixing the little stuff - the leaky faucet, the peeling wallpaper, the dent in the kitchen cabinets, the loose gutters. Bringing in a handyman to complete all those little fixes will go a long way to communicating to potential Buyers that your home has been well-maintained (and you’ll wonder why you put it off so long). And make sure there are no burnt out light bulbs!

Step 5

Pre-listing home inspection

If you own a house, completing a pre-listing home inspection before you put your house on the market will help you identify any issues with the home that might be objections for Buyers. For example, the home inspector may determine that your house needs a new roof. Armed with that information, you can choose to either a) fix the roof before putting the house up for sale, or b) factor it into your asking price. Either way, having accurate information puts you in control of how the deficiencies in your house will affect the price you get for the house. If you’re pricing your home for a bidding war, making the pre-listing home inspection available to Buyers will encourage them to make offers.

A Pre-listing Home inspection is a home inspection that is performed by the current owner before they list their property. Essentially, a Seller hires and pays for a professional home inspector (around $500 for a 3 hour inspection) to provide a written report of the condition of their house (inside and outside) and then makes the report available to potential Buyers. We believe that pre-listing home inspections are critical to getting top dollar for your house in Toronto. In fact, we believe so strongly in the power that it gives our Sellers that we pay for pre-listing home inspections for our Seller clients. And yes, our clients get to pick their own home inspector.

Here's why:

  1. Knowing what’s wrong with your house before you list it gives you the opportunity to fix it so it doesn’t become an issue for potential buyers. Home Buyers (especially first-timers) can be easily spooked by minor issues like reversed polarity of electrical receptacles, leaky faucets, downspouts that haven’t been disconnected and double taps on your electrical panel. These are super easy (and cheap) things to correct and will go a long way to giving potential Buyers peace of mind. As a Seller, there’s nothing worse than when a Buyer backs out of an offer because of a list of easy maintenance fixes; not only do you have to start the sale process over, you have to convince every future potential Buyer that your sale fell apart for minor reasons, not because the foundation is cracked and the house is about to fall over.
  2. You can’t accurately price your house unless you know what's going on deep inside. If your house needs $15,000 in water proofing and a $12,000 roof, you need to account for that in the price. It’s never fun to have a potential Buyer educate you about your own house during a negotiation – and that’ll cost you money.

Step 6

Avoid price re-negotiations post home inspections

If your Buyer’s offer was conditional on a home inspection and it uncovers something they didn't know about, many Buyers will try to re-negotiate their offer price. And negotiating the removal of that buried oil tank after you’ve accepted an offer and they’ve seen all your cards will undoubtedly result in a lower price than if you’d accounted for it upfront in the price. You can’t hide from your house – people will uncover the truth eventually. By knowing the condition of your house BEFORE you list it, you’ll be able to take into account any fixes that needs to be performed in the asking price.

Step 7

As a home owner in Ontario, the law requires you to make disclosures about things that could potentially impact the value or enjoyment of the house. Click here to read about disclosures. A pre-list home inspection gives you all the information you need disclose. It might also help prove what you did and didn’t know in a future lawsuit.

Step 8

Encourage multiple offers

If you're looking to generate multiple offers (ie a bidding war), you want to give potential Buyers as much comfort as possible, so you can get offers with as few (or no) conditions as possible. If people have to shell out $500 each to get a home inspection before they submit an offer and aren’t guaranteed to get the house, you’ll likely get fewer offers. Fewer offers likely means a lower selling price.

Having a pre-listing home inspection available to would-be Buyers (performed by a reputable home inspection company of course) often gives Buyers enough comfort to put in an offer.