Making your home sale ready

What do buyers look for in a new home? Although people might like to think they make these decisions rationally, in fact their choices have as much to do with emotional reaction as an assessment of square footage, the condition of the building or the reputation of the local area. This means that a little effort on the seller’s part can potentially generate far more interest and persuade buyers to part with a significantly greater amount of cash.

Cashing in on the kitchen

The kitchen is the traditional heart of the home and it is here that prospective buyers focus first. Investing in a single, new, good-looking kitchen appliance can be well worthwhile because it will provide a point of focus and create an immediate good impression. Simple domestic touches like a fruit bowl and a vase of fresh flowers on the windowsill can be a big help. Pet-related items such as food bowls or litter trays should be cleared out of the way, because even prospective buyers with pets of their own tend to associate these with a lack of cleanliness.

Bringing in the light

Homes that sell in summer often fetch higher prices. This is because the buyer who is looking around is imagining what it would be like to live there, and it’s always more appealing to imagine life in summer, with light streaming in through the windows. A brightly-lit home always helps to create that illusion, so curtains should be drawn well back to let in more natural light and lamps should be lit in strategic places. In winter, candles or an open fire, creating flickering light, can make the home feel warm and cozy.


Part of enabling buyers to imagine their own lives transposed into the new home involves taking away reminders that another life is already being lived there. This means making a particular effort to remove personal items such as pictures of friends and family members, as well as items indicative of unusual tastes, like collections or niche art pieces. Repainting the house is a good idea in order to brighten it up, and it’s generally recommended that this be done using neutral colors. Wallpaper in dramatic colors or patterns should definitely go, and using pale colored bedcovers has the double effect of depersonalizing the bedrooms and making them seem larger.

Cleaning it up

Naturally, people are inclined to pay more for things that are clean to the point of looking shiny and new. Beyond painting the walls, this should extend to redoing the paint around doors, window frames and fireplaces, and using restorers’ crayons to hide scuff marks on woodwork or leather furniture. If the house has been inhabited by pets or has suffered from the kind of water damage Water Damage  that Toronto residents have encountered with leaky windows will be all too familiar with. Getting the carpets deep cleaned is also a good idea. Even if buyers don’t notice stains or pet hairs directly, they will often pick up on such issues subconsciously. Once the negative issues have been dealt with, it’s time to do something positive. Adding a few houseplants instantly gives the impression that the home has been cared for, and makes people perceive it as cleaner and fresher.

Not too tidy!

Cleaning and tidying are not the same thing. While most people’s instinct is to try and make the place look pristine, it’s important to remember that the buyer is trying to imagine what it will look like when full, so the presence of a livable amount of furniture, which still leaves plenty of space, creates the illusion that it’s more roomy than it really is. Similarly, half-filling cupboards will make them look as if they have room for double a normal person’s amount of stored stuff – they will seem more spacious than they would if empty.

Home sweet home

A home that’s really ready to sell has to appeal to all the senses, not just the eyes. In fact, the most effective way to make people feel at home is by taking advantage of their subconscious reactions to certain smells. The most powerful of these is the scent of freshly baked bread, with freshly ground and roasted coffee coming a close second. These are easy finishing touches to add to the home and they can make all the difference when it comes to clinching that sale.

All these things may sound like a lot of trouble, but they could elevate the final sale price by thousands of dollars. That’s time well spent!