When a potential buyer enters your home, you have to showcase the positive features of your home.  You only get one chance to create that first impression.  A small investment of time and money will help your home position itself in this busy real estate market. 

The first step is to put yourself in the buyer’s position.  Think back to when you were the potential buyer of your current home.  What caught your eye?  What were your first impressions?  What did you focus on?  Think about the positives and the negatives.  Ask your family what they first liked about the home.  The children’s opinion can be invaluable as well. 


Take a walk through each room of your home.  List out at least one positive feature of each room.  For the best impressions, each room should be unique and have a focus on the positives.  Simply stating, the dining room should look like a dining room, not an office or a craft centre. 


Identify the negatives of your home.  No home is perfect!  Be honest.  Most negative features of your home can be visually disguised.  For example, a circuit breaker box can be covered by an art piece.     


Now that we have a focus of positives and negatives you are ready to set up a game plan.  First step is:


Your home must be clean.  There is nothing more distracting than a dirty home.  Most often, potential buyers perceive the cleanliness of your home as a reflection of the upkeep of your home.  If you can not find the time to clean the bathroom, what are the chances you’ve maintained the bathroom pipes, or faucets.  This of course is not necessarily true, however, you get only one chance to create a positive first impression.

  • Clean the windows and blinds.  Clean windows will make a home sparkle and look extremely clean.
  • Clean the bathrooms, top to bottom.  Clean inside the cupboards.  Buyers are getting smarter and are checking for common problems, such as leaky pipes under the bathroom sink.
  • Clean the kitchen, top to bottom.  This is a room of great importance and focus for a large number of buyers.
  • Tidy the bedrooms.
  • Clean the carpets and floors.  Again, something buyers focus on, due to the high cost of replacing carpet or flooring.
  • Clean the front and back entry.  These are the areas which the buyer sees first.


Little flaws throughout your home may add up to a negative impression for the potential buyer.  It may give the potential buyers the erroneous idea of owner neglect and a poor condition of the home. 

  • Touch up paint and any chips
  • Re-seal bathroom and kitchen cocking and grouting
  • Fix loose door handles and knobs
  • Replace furnace filter
  • Fix leaky faucets and pipes


The first thing a potential buyer sees is the outside of a home.

  • Mow the lawn
  • Trim hedges
  • Clean up garden beds
  • Tidy lawn clutter, such as garden hoses and garden tools
  • Power wash any mildew or stains
  • Focus on the front door.  Clean the door, touch up with paint if needed.  Add a welcome mat or other welcoming touches.


Throughout the years a home accumulates a lot of items, anything from furniture to magazines and memorabilia.  Unfortunately, to a potential buyer this gives the impression of a cluttered space and it leaves the impression that a room is smaller than it actually is. 

  • Pack up all excess knick knacks
  • Throw away old magazines.  If you have a magazine rack, it must be tidy and not overflowing.
  • Consider storing excess furniture.  While you family may need three sofas, it really takes away from the spaciousness of a room. 
  • Clear out and organize linen closets and hallway closets.  Most potential buyers look for storage space throughout the house, and will often open closets.  They should look tidy and organized.  This also applies to bedroom closets.  Put away old or seasonal clothes.  Give the illusion of space and plenty of storage.
  • Organize the bathroom and kitchen.  Take down excess items from countertops.  This may include that cappuccino machine you never use, or that electric toothbrush collecting dust.


Colour attracts.  If you want to highlight an area bring focus with an arrangement of flowers, or a colourful accent piece

  • Turn on all the light and open all curtains when showing your home
  • Avoid overly eccentric personal decorating touches.  Colourful bright walls are distracting to a potential buyer.  Unless they have the same exact taste they will have a hard time looking past the fluorescent wall colour.  Consider painting rooms  neutral inviting colours. 


If you are a smoker or own pets, you are probably desensitized to those smells.  However, most potential buyer will notice strong odours immediately. 

  • Use room fresheners, such as candles or Freebreeze products
  • Vacuum carpets with carpet freshener powders
  • If you smoke in a certain area, consider having the furniture steam cleaned to eliminate the odour