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Get ready to sell: Part 1 - Interior

Blog by Robert Matthews | March 12th, 2020

You always want to maximize the sales price of your home. But the process of getting a property ready to put on the market can seem daunting enough. There’s clearing the clutter, endless amounts of cleaning, organizing and scrutinizing your property with a fine-tooth comb. What needs attention and what can you leave alone?


The absolute first priority is to fix or replace damaged or worn interior items. Most buyers don’t want to have to fix things as soon as they move in. A few weeks before you’re ready to show your home is the time to do minor interior repairs and maintenance. 

Let’s face it: buyers buy with their eyes, so review your interior in detail. Here's a list of typical items which may need repairing or replacing. As you work through this list you'll no doubt identify additional minor repair and maintenance items. (And stay tuned for next week's blog as we review exterior fixings to increase value).

  • Badly worn hardwood

  • Worn carpets and area rugs

  • Cracked floor tiles; loose laminate

  • Missing caulking or grout

  • Broken or sticky window and door latches

  • Loose doorknobs; squeaky door hinges

  • Leaky taps or toilets

  • Tired bathroom lighting, mirrors, and toilet seats

  • Closet or screen doors not smoothly working

  • Damaged, torn or worn window coverings (drapes, shades, blinds)

Just focusing on repairs is sometimes not enough. You also want to modernize and freshen your home. For example, the kitchen is always huge with buyers. Even if the buyers barely know how to boil water, they always envision themselves in the kitchen cooking and entertaining or perhaps auditioning to be the next Food Network TV star surrounded by sleek appliances and cabinetry.

These are the updates I recommend that can really help to get a home sold for top dollar:

  • Replace overhead lights with modern fixtures.

  • Update light switches and plug outlets to a modern style.

  • Replace cabinet hardware in the kitchen and bathroom.

  • Add or change out a dated kitchen backsplash; update appliances as required (this last one can make a huge difference!).

  • Consider regrouting your bathtub. This alone can make the entire bathroom seem fresher and cleaner.

  • Consider a fresh coat of neutral-coloured paint for walls, ceilings and trim. The time and money invested here may bring a better offer price. A neutral palette will transition well with any buyer’s furniture.

But that's not all. You also want to review structural and mechancial aspects.  It might not be glamourous, but buyers are looking at big-ticket items like heating and cooling systems, water heater, electrical panel and pipes.

I'm not saying all have to be replaced, but if any of these components are on their last leg, you might seriously need to consider replacing them as these items could be inspection issues as well as factor into the kind of financing the buyer is able to obtain, and the insurability of a property.

Replacing these items if they're close to the end of their lifespan before putting your home on the market will go a long way to solidifying buyer confidence in deciding to make an offer.

The buyer (and you) won’t have to sweat what an inspector says, deal with a potential renegotiation before closing or face a price reduction. The last thing you want to be doing is swapping out a water heater or repariring your furnace in the midst of trying to pack.

If you lack the budget to replace these items, get estimates on the cost involved to replace. You can always offer to contribute to the replacement cost in the form of a credit to the buyer’s closing costs or factor it into the price negotiations. 

In getting ready to sell, strike a delicate balance between what to fix and what to leave alone, but in the end, make the right improvements that will result in a faster sale for top dollar. 

(Some content courtesy of Cara Ameer, reprinted from Inman.com, http://bit.ly/2a5Yc3R)