Preparing Your Home For Sale
There’s Always Competition
There is a lot of competition out there in the housing market. Whether it’s other listings in your area, a homeowner under heavy motivation to sell, or a new housing development, buyers will always have other options. Your home needs to show well to stand above the competition, which will lead to not only an easy and quick sale, but potentially more money for your home. The steps below will help you prepare your home for listing and help spot any “problem areas” that would need to be touched up at minimal expense for maximum return.
Fix it Ahead of Time
Any work you need to do to your home should be completed before the “For Sale” sign goes up. Not everyone can see the potential of your home, and instead need to see the strengths put on clear display. While you may look at your home and see the greater potential there, remember that you have lived there and spent a great while thinking of any renovating or upgrading options. A potential buyer will have a harder time. As well, no buyer is interested in the promises you may have after they agree to purchase. Any intentions you have of fixing a squeaky step, or painting a wall, can be done ahead of time. It is very likely that any work you WILL do won’t boost your property value, as buyers will always remember a home that is in any state of disrepair above any promise.
Most serious buyers will insist on having a professional home inspector inspect your home in search of any deficiencies. Nothing can make a deal go sour like a bad surprise after such an inspection. You may consider hiring your own professional inspector to identify any problems and have them repaired ahead of time. While this may cost you some money, it’s better to have the problem areas taken care of before an offer comes through.
Inspect It Yourself
Hiring your own professional inspection may not be for everyone. Just because you’re not a professional inspector does not mean that you can’t help identify some areas that need a little touching up. Best of all there may be a cheaper way of fixing these deficiencies or even highlighting the strengths your home already has. The following is a check- list of repairs and maintenance you can do to your home by area.
The best place to start is outside your home. The curb appeal of your home is the value and appearance your home has from the front of your home. This is the first impression potential buyers have, and is likely the most important. A strong first impression will follow through the rest of your home.
Things to Do
Remove any clutter from your yard. While you may have pride your home in being the ultimate family home, it doesn’t mean a young family will buy it. If toys are left scattered about, just remember, those are your children’s toys, and not those of the buyer.
Fix any bald spots you may have about your yard. Dispose of any dead wood and weeds. If the season and weather permits, place a few flowers within your garden, but not so much that a buyer may find the gardening work too much for them to maintain.
Does your front door or patio need any paint? Painting your porch is a cheap way of enhancing the curb appeal of your property. It’s a cheap and cost effective investment that will yield a return. As always, neutral colours are best.
Are your windows clean? Do they need any re -caulking?
Are your eaves and downspouts clear and in good repair?
Do all the outside lights work? Are there any burnt out bulbs?
Remove any cobwebs from your light fixtures and porch area.
Does your roof have any sagging sections, pooled water, or curling shingles? If so it may be time for a replacement or repair.
How does the exterior paint of your home look? This is a cheap and effective way to boost the curb appeal of your home. This also applies to your front door and garage. If you do need to repair, neutral colours are best.
Your potential buyers will enter through the front door. As such, maintaining a tidy, clean, and overall pleasant atmosphere is paramount.
Things to Do
Make sure all clutter is out of sight, and that your carpets are clean and stain free.
Take careful consideration of the amount of personal and family memorabilia you have showing in your home. Try to remember that your objective is to have your potential buyers feel that they could live there, and that your home could be their home. The more memorabilia and other family items about your home the harder it is for a buyer to mentally place their own possessions.
If the budget allows, consider upgrading your bathrooms and kitchen. These areas, along with flooring, tend to make or break a buyers’ first impression of your home. Again, this could be very costly, so carefully consider how much any and all upgrades could boost the value of your home.
Check your stairs for any imperfections such as loose boards, ripped carpeting, or loose handrails.
Make sure all your doors and windows open and shut properly and don’t stick.
Keep y our furniture to a minimum. Too much furniture can give the impression that the room is smaller than it actually is. Also, buyers will need to be able to navigate through your home easily and without having to step over and squeeze through spaces. Should you happen to have a bookshelf, consider putting most of the books away. You want people to admire your home and not your personal library.
Keep your closers free of clutter. Keeping them fully organized and uncluttered will make them look more spacious.
Ensure that your jewellery and valuables are kept locked away. This can also include money, cameras, watches, etc.
Bathrooms and Kitchens
Clean your bathrooms and kitchen completely. This also includes all appliances, countertops, cabinets, and backsplashes. Scrub your sinks, tubs, and toilets. Clean the light switch plates, and grouting about your tiles. Remove mildew from showers and bathtubs. The kitchen and bathroom are the two rooms buyers are the most judgemental of, so you want them to look their best.
As with all rooms in your home, you want to keep your kitchen and bathroom uncluttered. Remove artwork and magnets from your fridge. Keep countertops clear so that you’re highlighting any countertop space you may have.
Inspect your faucets, sinks, and toilets for any leaking. If your toilet is sweating your bathroom may have a high humidity level which can be fixed with an exhaust fan. Any water damage to their of these rooms will make a buyer extremely cautious and set off a few alarms.
While your basement is a great place to store some of your belongings from other rooms, consider packing everything away neatly. You will be moving anyways, and a large basement will attract the eye of a buyer who would renovate.
If your basement is damp or musty, use a dehumidifier.
Search for any deficiencies in your basement such as crumbling concrete, cracks, water seepage, etc. Consider asking a professional what the repair costs would be.
If you have a pet who uses a litterbox, make sure it’s clean.
Have your furnace cleaned and change the filter as well. Buyers will ask for this to be done regardless.
Dispose of your old and empty paint cans, broken bicycles, car parts, or tools. Keep it clean and uncluttered. Most buyers will want to know how one or two of their vehicles will fit in the garage, so having it clear and organized will certainly help.
Showing Your Home
Now that you’re inspected your property and made the proper repairs, modifications or clean-up, you’re ready for the buyers to start coming in! A proper plan of action for each showing time will help market your home in the best way possible.
Turn on all lights and open all the blinds and drapes. A bright home is always better than a dark one.
Try to open your windows for a little while beforehand so that your home may be aired out.
Always get rid of all garbage and clutter. □Remove pets from your home, or put them outside. If you have to put one in the basement or a separate room, make sure you leave a little note by the doorway to alert potential buyers.
If you have any pictures of your home in the summer and are listing in the fall or winter, leave these pictures out so that people can see them.
If the weather is awful, try to leave a floor mat out at the front door. Your Realtor® will provide a sign requesting people to remove their shoes and boots.
Leave the house during showings. Your Realtor®, or the representative of the buyer, is always the best choice to market your home. They are more informed of what should and should not be disclosed. Also the buyer would not want to feel crowded.