Preparing a property for sale — choosing the right agent, preparing the property, and attending to the details — always puts more money in the seller's pocket and makes all parts of the sale smoother.

Preparing a property for sale

A favourite part of my job is preparing a property for sale:  getting light fixtures, choosing new paint colours, hiring a team of cleaners and contractors, and setting the stage to take the property from average to sparkling.

When it’s time to sell your property, you want to do everything you can to get your best return. This list of suggestions will get you started.

1. Prepare the property.

Putting a property up for sale is like preparing for a first date. Impressions count. It takes just one-tenth of a second for us to judge a person and form a first impression. Your property has only a minute or two longer. 

I know what buyers want and I will give you a list of things to do before putting your property on the market. A collection of little details will make the difference, even in a market with several buyers and multiple offers for almost any property. When buying income properties, buyers will pay attention to the return, but they also look for properties they like. A clean, well-maintained property that shows well is going to sell better than one that is not.

If needed, I can arrange and co-ordinate all the work to be done.

2. Take care of the details.

It’s important to also take care of the legal and financial details. This work can be tedious, but it’s important that it is done. This includes:

  • Checking with the city to confirm legal use
  • Gathering all the information about tenants, rents, and expenses
  • Itemizing standing costs such as property taxes
  • Making a list of major repairs and renovations and when they were done

Expect this stage to take a few days to a few weeks.


Property Preparation List

— Cleaning: Give the property a through cleaning, from the main corridors to the furnace rooms and common areas. Have the windows cleaned.

— Garden: Make the garden (front and rear) tidy and trimmed. Trim hedges and, depending upon the season, plant flowers, bushes, and re-sod if needed. There are many urns and floral arrangements that are designed for early spring, late fall, or winter. If it’s the fall, make sure all the leaves are regularly raked. In the winter, make sure the snow is cleared away from the driveway and walkways. 

— Repairs: Go through the property, including each of the units, and make any needed repairs. If a faucet is leaking, replace it with something that is both appealing and functional (rather than buying the cheapest one). Fix loose door knobs, scrape and paint old eaves and soffits, and consider a new coat of paint on the front door. 

— Lighting: Look at all the lighting in the common areas. If the fixtures are old, dull, or barely functional, replace them with good quality, brighter ones. Consider window shutters if they will make the property more appealing. While no one can give a direct return for each item, the overall presentation will get a buyer to pay more. 

— Tenants: Let your tenants know up front that you are listing the property for sale. While this may raise their anxiety about being “kicked out,” it’s always better to deal with questions and anxieties before showings begin. Explain to tenants that a buyer can only ask them to leave if the buyer or their immediate family plans to move in. 

— Empty Units: Keep vacant units vacant. This makes showings easier and leaves more options for the  buyer. Buyers purchase income properties for a variety of reasons. These days, many want units for either themselves or family members or both.