The Big Move: Prepping your House for New Occupants

Oh what a month!

I am sitting in our new living room right now after our very first night in Winnipeg. The last few weeks have been a blur, with getting our previous house all ready for someone else to live in, to organizing all of the particulars of our move and new life in another province, to making the very long trek across the county.

I will update you on each aspect of the move, but should start out chronologically with the preparation of our home for our tenant. We chose to rent out our place, however the following tips will also apply if you are prepping to sell your house, or just want a refresh on the home you're living in.

Tips for Getting Your House Ready for New Occupants!

1. Refresh your grout! Nothing says "lived in" more than dingy grout. I've tried every kind of grout cleaner imaginable, scrubbed with a tooth brush on hands and knees, and have never been able to get that new house grout look back. I was sceptical when I brought this grout pen home with me from Home Depot, but I was pleasantly surprised. Obviously the inventors of this stuff have realized that no amount of scrubbing will clean grout, so painting it becomes the next best option. The pen is like a big white highlighter with a white paint that readily covers the grout. I used this for our ensuite floors and the wall tile in our guest bath (although neither were bad) and was very happy with the result!

2. Touch up nail holes with a cotton swab. I got this cheater tip from a property invester, and it certainly works! If you have some small nail holes that need to be filled and painted, try dabbing on the paint with a cotton swab so you don't have to paint the whole wall!

3. Flip the shelves in the kitchen cupboards. After wiping down all of the kitchen shelves, a light bulb went off. If I flip the shelves, not only will the new surface be untouched and perfectly clean, but any bowing that occurred from all my heavy cans and jars with now be flattened out in the other direction! How did I never think of this before?

4. Seal that stone! If you have granite, marble or another natural stone surface or backsplash, make sure to seal it. If you are renting out an investment property, you will want to make sure your more expensive fixed fixtures are protected, so this is a must. If you seal it right before you go, you know you have at least a year before it needs to be done again. If you're selling, it's just a nice little touch to alleviate some of the stress on the buyers end.

5. Leave a care package. Light bulbs for your lights, cleaning supplies, etc, are all a nice touch for the next occupant. Bonus is that it will also be less bulk you’ll need to pack for the new place (if you’re moving).

6. Magic eraser. I’ve been scared of that spongey little block of super power since I was told by my handy man that it can really affect the finish of the paint. I threw all to the wind and went for it anyways, and it helped get the scuff marks off the walls and baseboards and saved us so much time repainting. Just make sure to test the wall in an inconspicuous area to make sure your paint finish is hardy.

7. Wash the walls. A solution of warm water and PineSol with a clean rag is an easy way to get those walls nice and clean and bring out the natural shine of the home (it’s like a hair commercial for houses!).

8. Colour match the wall, not the paint code. If you painted your walls five years ago, and want to touch up some spots with that same paint, be warned. After five years on your walls, the paint has surely cured and changed to a slightly different hue than what's in the paint can via the paint code. Chip off a fleck of paint on the wall about the size of a quarter and take it to the paint store to match.

9. Use a natural cleaner for the fridge. If you aren’t already, choose a natural cleaner with essential oils for the fridge. I used a rosemary mint cleaner and it made the fridge smell amazing and not chemically, which is what you want in a place where you store your food. It's little things like this that help take your home from well used to well loved, and the fresh scent will give the new occupant that new car fridge feeling!

10. Re-caulk. If it doesn't look perfect anymore, peel off your old caulking in the kitchen and bath with a utility knife and re-caulk. It makes everything look new!

Do you have any great tips for getting your house ready to sell or for a renter? Have you tried any of the ones on this list? Let me know your thoughts!

And don't worry - more posts to come chronicling the big move and the new place! So much to share, so many boxes to unpack! Wish me luck ;)


  1. I stumbled upon your blog yesterday and have spent a few hours catching up.
    Best of Luck!

  2. These are great tips!!! I will definitely refer back to this post when our condo is between tenants in the fall.

    I also collected take out and delivery menus from local restaurants. I also went to the gym across the street to see if they had any coupons that I could pass onto the new tenants.

    1. Thank you for that idea! Brilliant suggestion and so thoughtful!

  3. Welcome to Winnipeg!!! Can't wait to hear about the new place.

    1. Thanks Julie! Plenty of Winnipeg posts to come! :)

  4. That grout pen is a great find! Will definitely do that, even if I’m not yet renting/selling the house, just to make it look brand new. Heh.

    That paint and cotton swab is a good tip, even if you’re just renovating; but unfortunately I can’t use the shelf/cupboard flip maneuver, since they’re pretty much nailed to the frame.

  5. I am a Realtor and am going to share your tips with sellers. I am also going to be selling my home soon and your tips sound awesome. Thank you.

  6. Your ideas are great! I am a Realtor and will share these ideas with my clients. I am also moving soon and will use the tips myself. Thank you


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