Your 30 day guide to a top dollar sale

Mariko Baerg Realtor Headshot
Written By: Mariko Baerg, REALTOR of Bridgewell Real Estate Group
If you’re looking for a realtor to help you sell or buy a property, call me today

preparing your home for sale

It’s not always the easiest thing, but you’ll make it through – and by the end of it all it’ll be well worth it!

If you want to sell your home as if it were a new home it has to look like a new home, feel like a new home, smell like a new home. Preparing your home for sale can be a big, daunting list of tasks. Not sure where to start? We’ve broken it down for you day by day, so that you can slowly chip away and have your home ready for a top dollar sale in 30 days maximum.

DAY 1: Find boxes and plastic bins for packing
You will need to put a few things away to make your rooms look as spacious as possible. Maybe it will even help get ready to pack for your move and get rid of those unwanted items you have left around. Find boxes to store your belongings so you can easily store them out of sight. Maybe it’s time to look for a temporary storage facility or pile them up in your attic if you have one.

DAY 2: Book a storage unit
Once you’ve got your boxes you’ll need a place to put them. If you have a lot of stuff, we definitely recommend getting a storage unit.

DAY 3: Put in white lights & update light fixtures
Lighting is incredibly important when it comes to showcasing your home. For every showing and open house the first thing we’ll be doing is turning on the lights! Lighting makes the rooms feel warm, welcoming and easier to look at. Lighting also plays an important role during the photography process. Switch out your yellow bulbs for LED lights, and think about updating your light fixtures if they’re outdated.

DAY 4: Organize the closets and storage
Just like potential buyers will be opening kitchen drawers to see how they’ll fit their pots and pans in, they will also be opening up closets and storage space to make sure their clothes, holiday decorations, shoes, and other items will fit. It’s important that they don’t open up to an absolute mess. Work on organizing your closets and the storage spaces – keep them neat.

DAY 5: Know your “big bill” replacement dates
Potential buyers will want to know about the big bills that they might have coming up. When was the roof last done? When was the hot water tank replaced? When was the furnace replaced? When were the windows replaced? If any of them are on their last leg, you might want to think about repairing them. If you’ve just replaced any of them, make sure your realtor knows so it can be outlined in the marketing material to appeal to buyers.

DAY 6: Prepare the paperwork
Potential buyers may ask questions about your utility bills, renovation details, warranties and rental contracts. Keep that information in mind until the day comes as we want to make sure we are able to answer all questions of the buyers and make the transaction smooth and transparent to keep up the momentum. You’ll want to give these to your realtor once you’ve hired them.

DAY 7: Touch up the walls and doors
Get rid of the scuffs all around the place. Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser can work wonders. Make sure all the handles are in proper working order as buyers and inspectors will be testing these as they walk through your home. If they go to open a door and the handle falls off they’ll start to wonder what else is wrong with the home.

DAY 8: Make sure every room is staged to its optimal use
Take a step back and take a tour of your home. Check to make sure that every room is staged to its optimal use. Is your kitchen being used as a kitchen, or a closet? Is your living room being used for living? Is the bedroom being used as a bedroom, or is it currently staged to show the buyer otherwise (i.e office)?

DAY 9: Prep the front yard for a 10/10 first impression
Curb appeal – this will be part of the 15 seconds first impression. The lawn and garden should be kept tidy. Pressure washing your driveway and entrance will be a good one. Sanding down and putting a new coat over peeling and chipped paint can work wonders to how a buyer perceives your home. Make sure the garbage and recycle bins are carefully tucked away so the first impression isn’t a big whiff of smelly garbage.

DAY 10: Spruce up the back yard
Just like the front, keep the lawn and garden tidy. If you have concrete or stone in the backyard, pressure wash that too. Give the patio furniture a nice clean – maybe even a power wash depending on the material. Watch out for peeling paint. If you store things in your backyard, try to keep them away somewhere or hide them under a tarp.

DAY 11: Touch up interior paint
Paint is a quick and easy way to get your home looking closer to brand new. Neutral colours work the best and are the easiest to paint over. Dark and bold colours are the usual turnoffs for buyers and can be seen as a more expensive paintjob that may require more coats to cover it. Try to do some touch ups here and there. If you feel you need an entire re-paint it will definitely take longer than 1 day so account for that.

DAY 12: De-personalize
One of our goals when potential buyers are coming through your home is to have them picture themselves living there, so that they obtain an emotional connection with your home. To make this easier for them, everything should be as neutral as possible. Do your best to remove family photos or items that have your personal stamp on them. Your home is now a product for sale, and without de-personalizing your home a number of buyers can feel as though they’re intruding. To keep your home from feeling too “cold,” switch out your family photos with something like flowers!

DAY 13: Tidy up the living room
If you haven’t already de-personalized the living room, try your best to do so today. Tidy up the TV wires. If there are any stains or rips, try to clean them up or hide them with a small blanket. Make sure all the furniture is aligned as straight as picture frames. If you have carpets and stains, you might want to consider getting those washed if you can’t hide it with a well-placed rug. If your living room is too crammed, you may also want to move some furniture in to the storage unit.

DAY 14: Prep the dining room
If you have scratches on your dining table consider investing in a nice table cloth to cover it up. If you have noticeable stains on the dining chairs we can try and keep them tucked under the table or consider think about getting them reupholstered.

DAY 15: Tidy up the bathroom
Bathrooms are one of the most important rooms for buyers. You know how public washrooms have a bad stigma when it comes to how sanitary they are. Make sure your washroom looks brand new and shiny as if you are preparing it for a germophobe. Get rid of that grime and dried up toothpaste or bath soap. Time to make it sparkling clean.

DAY 16: Bring out the tools & get the small repairs out of the way
Start tightening up those loose door handles, repair the leaking faucet, patch up the holes in the wall, grease up the door hinges. We all have things in the home that we’ve been meaning to do forever but just haven’t got around to. If you’re going to need some help with this one, think of hiring a handyman.

DAY 17: Go through the kitchen
Clear off the countertops to make it look more spacious. Make it as bright and shiny as your bathroom. Tidy and clean up the inside of your cupboards – some buyers like to test out the doors and see how far back those cupboards can go. Get that fridge shiny and free of anything on the surface including magnets and notes.

DAY 18: Prepare for temporary living for your pets

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE MY DOG. I’m actually obsessed with her. That being said, not everyone feels as strongly about pets as you or I do. There are a number of home buyers that feel as though pets make the home dirty, and in turn are willing to pay less money for a home with pets than one without. Since you’ve already put so much effort in to cleaning your home, you have to make sure it stays that way for showings and throughout open houses. If you can, try to arrange for your pet to stay at a friend or family member’s house during showings. At the very least, clean up after your pet every time before a showing, hide the food, pet dishes, and litter, and head out for a walk.

DAY 19: Wash the Carpets
If you want to go above and beyond, don’t just vacuum – steam clean. This can really help with the look and possible odours. If you have a pet, young children, teenagers, or are just admittedly messy, it can make a big difference.

DAY 20: Clean the floors & fix the tiles
Use the good ol’ Swiffer to capture the dust on the hardwood. Maybe give it a good polish if necessary. If you have stone inside, bring out the vacuum – they will also help get in between the cracks and tightly in the corners and edges. If there’s any broken tiles, make sure to have them replaced.

DAY 21: Clean the windows
Do your best to clean the windows inside and outside. The usual Vancouver rain will leave some marks plus there might be some fingerprint smudges on the inside. Squeegees work best because they get rid of the streaks.

DAY 22: Work the entrance
Also known as the first impression. Start off the tour of your home right by de-cluttering and storing all those umbrellas, coats and shoes somewhere else.

DAY 23: Start doing your homework
Start thinking about the realtor you’ve going to hire. What traits are important to you? Take the time online to do your due diligence. Talk to friends or family. Think about who you’re going to interview and why.

DAY 24: Make another storage unit trip + a final clean
Take a trip to the storage unit and make sure all of your extra stuff that doesn’t need to be in the house is out of there before the realtor comes to view your place. Once you’ve dropped everything off, go through your home and do a final clean before the realtor comes to your place.

DAY 25: Get an extra set of keys + book realtor interviews
Your REALTOR will probably need to show your home so giving him or her an extra pair may make it easier to coordinate the showing times. Once you’ve narrowed down your top realtor choices, give them a call for an interview in a few days.

DAY 26: Scent check: make your home smell good
Smell is a funny thing…. If you’re used to it, you don’t notice it, and if you’re not, well… it sticks out like a sore thumb.  Maybe you have a pet, so keep the kitty litter and dog’s bed away before showings if you don’t already have alternate living arrangements for them. Washing the carpets, couches, and bed could have already helped. Use Febreze and open the windows to air the place out. Absolutely do not smoke inside during the showing process. You’ll need to smoke outside at least until you have a firm deal, and more likely until closing. The smell of your home will absolutely set an impression on the buyer and is most definitely a deal breaker.

DAY 27: Conduct interviews and hire your realtor – sign the paperwork
Have realtors run a comparable market analysis for you and review active, expired, sold, and terminated listings that are similar to yours. Understand their marketing plan, their negotiation strategy, their expertise, and make a decision based on that. The listing price is a strategy, at the end of the day what matters is the realtor’s ability to get you the highest net profits. Make your decision based on that, determine a listing price, sign the paperwork, and get this party started!

DAY 28: Staging
Go through the home with your realtor and confirm what you can do to stage your home properly to show its best. If they suggest there’s too much furniture, take another trip to the storage unit and move some extra stuff there to create space. If you have a vacant home, your realtor will most likely suggest a professional stager to make it feel for home like.

DAY 29: Marketing mania
Your realtor should be booking a professional real estate photographer, videographer/virtual tour coordinator, and/or a measuring service for your home. Make sure that your home is perfect and ready to be shown to the online world properly and effectively – clean clean clean. In the mean time, your realtor should be organizing the print and remaining marketing material for your home.

DAY 30 AND ONWARDS: Clean, clean, and clean again! Keep it super clean and consistent all throughout showings.
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste. Cleanliness matters, and it’s not enough to just have it clean on day 1. You’ll need to keep it clean all the way up until you have a firm accepted offer in hand and showings are happening. If you want to sell like a new home, make it look, feel and smell like a new home.


A little overwhelmed? Don’t be. When you tackle a big list by breaking each task down to one day at a time, it’ll help to make the process more enjoyable or at the very least less stressful.

Need to get these done ASAP? Don’t have 30 days?  We’ve helped our clients get everything prepared in less than a week, and don’t forget, you can always hire professional help to save you some extra time. If you’re not sure if your house needs “the works,” it’s best to hire a realtor sooner rather than later, and have them come over to inspect your house and put forward recommendations on what needs to be done. Call us today for a free market evaluation or a list of people we trust at 604-765-0376. Prefer text? 604-319-0200. or email

Need to make sure your home sells quickly and for the most? We have you covered.


Want to talk right now?
Give us a call 604-765-0376 or text 604-319-0200.

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