Pre-Listing Tips: 10 Things To Do Before Listing Your Home

Family, for sale sign and house.

You’ll need more than a “For Sale” sign to get high-quality buyers (Mark Moz, Flickr)

Just because you live in a hot real estate market like Toronto doesn’t mean your property will sell. And if it does, it might not be at the price you want….

So how do you turn the possibility of a sale into a guarantee? How can you avoid costly mistakes, delays and unnecessary stress?

And most of all, how can you get the best price for your property?

Here are 10 things to do before listing your house or condo for sale….

Pre-Listing Tip #1: Get Estimates on Everything

Pre-Listing Tip for sellers about budget and estimates with wallet and measuring tape.

How much can you afford to spend? (Pixabay)

If you want more buyers, bids and bucks, you need to repair and renovate your property.

But before you do that, you need to know how much everything costs.

For example, will you be replacing the cabinets, bathtubs, floors, windows, furnace or light-fixtures?

If so, you’ll need to hire people to do the actual work.

Having an estimate of such renovations helps you factor them into the final asking price, and also gives you leverage during negotiations.

Pre-Listing Tip #2: Hire Professionals

Another pre-listing tip for sellers. This one shows carpenter and drill up close.

Hiring a professional means spending a bit more, but also getting more in return (Pexels)

While you may be handy with a nail gun, a professional carpenter doesn’t just get the job done—they increase the value of your home.

The same is true for painters, cleaners, landscapers, realtors and other experts.

For example, a real estate agent can help you with pricing, promotion and negotiation.

They can also show buyers around your property, connect you with home-inspectors and lawyers, and make the selling process far less stressful.

Pre-Listing Tip #3: Don’t Over-Renovate

New kitchen and appliances, showing importance of renovating/renovation/renovate.

Spend money only on necessities and things that add value.

Perhaps the single most important renovation you can make is the kitchen.

According to HGTV:

You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is.

In fact, the benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and you’ll probably get back 85% of the money you spend!

So focus on the kitchen first, and everything else second.

Other renovations to consider:

  • Painting the walls (neutral colours work best)
  • Redoing the bathrooms and floors
  • Replacing your old furnace and water heater
  • Patching up the roof and garage
  • Fixing any loose handles, dripping faucets, and drafty windows

Pre-Listing Tip #4: Declutter & De-personalize

Pre-Listing Tip 4 shows an attic full of bags and luggage.

Have a lot of things you don’t want to get rid of? Consider renting a storage unit (Pixabay)

Go through every room, organize your belongings, keep what’s necessary, and throw away anything that isn’t.

It’s also a good idea to remove personal items like family photos and trophies.

Why? Because buyers like to imagine themselves living there, and less clutter and fewer personal belongings helps them do that.

Pre-Listing Tip #5: Create Curb Appeal

House and beautiful front yard showing importance of creating curb appeal pre-listing tip for sellers.

Exterior touch-ups are just as important as interior ones (Pxhere)

Want to improve curb appeal?

Paint the front entrance and garage door, cut any dead tree branches, rake the leaves, and trim the hedges.

It’s also a good idea to park down the street and install outdoor lights for nightly visitors.

A fresh coat of paint and a well-cut lawn can go a surprisingly long way, creating a great first impression on buyers.

Pre-Listing Tip #6: Prep Your Paperwork

2 huge stacks of papers showing next pre-listing tip for sellers and importance of having all paperwork ready.

Have all important documents on hand (Pixabay)

Buyers and real estate agents will ask lots of questions.

These can be basic inquiries from the age of your house or condo to highly-specific questions.

For example: utility bills, property taxes, mortgage details, and warranties on recent renovations or appliances.

So instead of rifling hectically through old filing cabinets at the last minute, have everything ready beforehand.

This will also make you seem far more professional and far less desperate to sell.

Pre-Listing Tip #7: Know Your Neighbourhood

Birds eye view of house and streets.

Location makes or breaks a property (Pixabay)

Knowing your neighborhood means you can target likely buyers while avoiding unlikely ones.

For instance, a 3-bedroom house in the suburbs has a better chance of attracting families than young professionals.

But the exact opposite is true for a 1-bedroom condo in downtown Toronto.

Whereas families care about a home’s proximity to excellent schools and parks, young buyers value great shops, restaurants and nightlife.

So, know your neighborhood’s strengths and demographics, and use this information when putting together your listing.

Pre-Listing Tip #8: Professionally Stage Your Home

Gorgeous professionaly staged home with sofa and tables and decor.

A staged home is a beautiful home (Pixabay)

Staging your home can help it sell 73% faster and increase its value by 6-20%.

You have 2 options: 1) stage it yourself or 2) hire a professional.

If you’re on a tight budget, has 10 DIY tips for staging a home. And if you can afford a professional, ask your realtor for references.

Either way, staging is a must-do for sellers.

Pre-Listing Tip #9: Hire a Professional Photographer

Professional photographer and Camera lens up close.

An iPhone doesn’t quite compare to a state-of-the-art camera (Pixabay)

85% of buyers say photos are the #1 factor when deciding which homes to actually visit.

The real estate website Trulia finds:

…the benefits of staging can be enormous, and the return on investment can be very impactful. If you invest even a small amount into the staging, you can often garner a much higher price…

And the best way to show off your staging is by using a qualified photographer.

Need help finding one? Just ask your real estate agent.

Pre-Listing Tip #10: Social Media Stardom

Close up of phone screen showing social media apps.

Once you’ve photographed your home it’s time to advertise it (Pexels)

One of the most effective ways to advertise your property is through social media and digital marketing.

According to Forbes:

Give your home as much social media exposure as possible. …Many realtors use YouTube videos, Pinterest groups, and blogs to obtain potential buyer lists and market their services.

This is why hiring a realtor is so important.

Since 90% of people start the home-buying process online, a good realtor can expose your property to far bigger audiences.

Here’s just 1 example of a condo I recently sold with the help of my blog, a YouTube video, and social media.


Close up of handshake, showing seller and buyer in successful transaction.

What does it take to reach a deal? (Pixabay)

Most homeowners think selling is when the real work begins, but the truth is it starts before you even list your property.

Cleaning, renovations, staging and photography—there’s so much to do prior to that first open house.

But if you work with a professional realtor and follow these 10 tips, you can give yourself an edge.

Want more pre-listing tips? Contact me below for more information.


Wins Lai - Realtor - Toronto Real Estate Agent and Broker - Signature

Wins Lai – Toronto Realtor

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