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Preparing Your
House to Sell

We recently downsized from our house of 28 years to a 2 bedroom apartment. We had a lot of stuff to get rid of. Debby got busy! Planning our garage sale, took pictures of items to be picked up from Restore - donations for Habitat for Humanity and took trips to Value Village. She helped us sort through several items and was a big help on moving day, organizing all the helpers and movers for us. She even came to our new place and helped get us settled in. Thanks so much! We couldn't have done it without you.


- Sheila, Recently Downsized

So you might be thinking of putting your house up for sale but not sure where to start. Here are some tips to get you ready both mentally & emotionally.

You might want to invite your family over to do a walkabout your home. Make a list of items you want to dispose of by gifting or reduce, reuse, recycle. Ask your family for feedback. 1 person can write down the comments or all of you write your own and compare later. This is not the time to explain or excuse why something looks the way it does. 





Think of yourselves as new home buyers. Keep in mind the cost of fixing and how welcoming the house is to you. Use all your senses…


  • Smells – Animals, Smoking, Musty, Moldy, Cooking

  • Sight – Clean, (look for cobwebs, dust bunnies), broken, cracked, overstuffed

  • Touch – Sticky handles, sharp edges, doors that stick, carpet & floors (even – tripping hazards)

  • Sound – Creaks, doorbell, strange noises.



Here is a breakdown of each area in your home. Questions to ask yourself…






















































































Once you have completed your walkthrough and taken notes, then you might want to do it again with a close trusted friend. They might be more objective since they do not have an emotional attachment to your home.

If you would prefer…this is where we – Allies in Downsizing come in.

Remember, when you are selling… it’s the house not your home. The potential owners need to picture themselves and their family living there…not you and your family. This is the time to disassociate you from the house. To make the decision to "let go" of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours. Say goodbye to every room and don’t look back. Look towards your future.

  • Remove family photographs

  • Purge (Less is More)

  • Clear all surfaces

  • Empty overstuffed closets, drawers & cupboards. (even though it’s your stuff the potential buyer won’t be able to visualize their stuff fitting in there)

  • Make repairs as needed



                     The more you edit now the less we have to pack later.

It’s time to fix, repair, remove.

Outside and Curb AppealDo you need to fix, repair, remove –

  • How does the driveway look? Can you easily park cars?

  • Gardening? (Dead, overgrown, ornaments in good condition)

  • The front, side & back of the house look? (chipped paint, bricks, siding, windows, doors, shutters, lighting, stairs, railings, fence)

  • Roof? (in need of repair, chimney, eavestrough, soffit & fascia) 

  • Is the front of the house inviting? (Containers, Mats, Furniture)

  • Back & Side yard? (safe, welcoming, tidy)





Garage - Do you need to fix, repair, remove –

  • Can you park a car inside?

  • Tidy?

  • Safe?

  • Area for storage?

  • Hooks to hang in good working condition?

  • Locks? Do they work?




Inside the house, do you need to fix, repair, remove –  



Entrance & Hallways

  • Welcoming?

  • Clutter free? (shoes, coats, stuff)

  • Closet? Overstuffed?

  • Hooks? Overstuffed?

  • Lighting? Good working order?

  • Mats, Carpet or Flooring? (Clean, tripping hazard, slippery)

  • Pictures? Mirrors?

  • Furniture (tables clutter free? chairs good repair?)



Kitchen, Livingroom, Dining room, Bedrooms, Office & Bathrooms -  

  • Welcoming? (Airy)

  • Too much furniture? Can some be removed to open up the space?

  • Family pictures – you may want to remove them, so the potential buyers can picture themselves living there.

  • Clean (no dust bunnies or cobwebs – look in the corners)

  • Sparkling – Kitchens & Bathrooms especially

  • Surfaces clear?

  • Safe – no hazards (tripping, electrical, plumbing)

  • Lighting? Good working order?

  • Closet & Drawers? Overstuffed?

  • Clutter free? (No papers, mail, stuff out of place?)

  • Flooring? (clean, carpet - add or takeaway)

  • Windows and coverings?






Attic - do you need to fix, repair, remove –  

  • Accessible?

  • Overstuffed?

  • Usable? (Attractive)








Basement - do you need to fix, repair, remove –  

  • Accessible?

  • Overstuffed?

  • Use your smelling senses.

  • Usable? (Attractive)

  • If usable – follow same questions as the other rooms.

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