How should I prepare to sell my home?
An attractive, well-maintained home sells quicker and for a higher price. When you prepare your home for sale, take a critical look at the exterior and interior of your property.
Tips for Preparing Your Home for Sale
Detach your emotions
Remember, you are about to sell this house and the goal is to create a space in which as many people as possible will be able to envision as their potential home. To properly prepare your home for sale you will have to pack away many of your personal items, including photos, souvenirs and other mementos.
Clean and reorganize
Clean your home from top to bottom and make sure all appliances are spotless. Reorganize the closets and pack away some of your belongings. Storage room is a priority for buyers and a full closet does a poor job of showcasing the amount of storage room available. If you're using a spare room for storage, pack away the clutter and ensure the space is properly furnished. .
Furnish empty properties and rooms
People buy homes not houses. Empty rooms make it hard for buyers to get a good sense of the space. Large rooms look cavernous and small rooms look even smaller when empty. Oddly shaped rooms make it especially hard for buyers to visualize how to arrange the room. Staging your empty property with the right furniture is key to ensuring that buyers will be able to visualize living in the space.
Brighten and lighten
Light-filled rooms are always appealing. Open blinds and make sure your windows are sparkling clean. If there are no windows in the room, make sure the lighting is adequate and keep all the lights on when showing the property, even during the day. A fresh coat of neutral coloured paint goes a long way to brighten up the space.
Spark your buyer's imagination
Set the dinner table for a formal dinner, light the fireplace on a cold day, and add some fresh flowers to your décor. Creating the proper atmosphere helps buyers envision themselves living in your home.
Fix minor repairs
Buyers prefer to see a home in move-in condition, even small things such as a dripping faucet can detract from the value of your home.
Don't be too unique
Keep your décor simple and modern with neutral wall colours. Unusual accessories and strong wall colours will limit your pool of buyers. This is also true for renovations. The right renovations can often boost the price of a home but be careful not to do it with too much flair. Your unique style may set you apart but it will also shrink your potential pool of buyers. Remember to keep it simple and modern.
Keep your neighbourhood in mind when renovating
Actual returns on renovations depend not only on the renovations itself but also on how your home compares to your neighbours'. If your home is already above market value for your neighbourhood, your renovation may not yield a higher return. Buyers looking at moderately priced homes won't be able to pay a premium for luxury finishes. Ask your Realtor to give you an assessment of homes in your area before embarking on costly renovations.
Household security is a sought after feature in homes and simple measures such as adding window locks and motion sensor lights outside can boost the attractiveness of your property. In densely populated urban areas, simple additions such as blinds and shutters are good additions to provide privacy.
Showing Your Home
How should I prepare for showings and open houses?
Your house should be ready to show at all times. Make sure it is kept clean and clutter-free. And, those last minute touches before someone comes to look at your home can make all the difference:
Turn on all the lights, even during the daytime, including outside entrance, closet, basement, and attic lights. Open all the drapes and blinds.
Turn off the television, stereo, and radio (easy listening music is OK).
On cold days, light a fire. If not in season, make sure the fireplace is clean.
Put pets in a fenced yard. Better still, ask friends to look after them. Some people may be allergic, others may be afraid of animals. Clear any pet odours.
Clean the kitchen and bathrooms. Leave windows and mirrors sparkling.
Set out fresh flowers, hang decorative hand towels in the bathroom, and place an attractive tablecloth on the dining room table.
If possible, leave! Some buyers are uncomfortable when the owner is in the house. In their hurry to get away, they may miss important features, or fail to ask important questions. If you must remain, be courteous, but try not to make conversation. The buyer's Realtor knows what the buyer is looking for. He or she can discuss features and answer questions.
Importance of Pricing
Why is listing my property at market value so important?
A realistic competitive price means:
Your property will sell faster. People don't bother looking at over-priced homes.
Your home doesn't lose its "marketability."
Offers are higher when a property is closer to market value.
A well-priced property can generate competing offers.
Realtors will be more willing to present your property to buyers (and be more enthusiastic when they do so).
Discerning Property Value
How is the market value of my property determined?
The market sets the price. Raj Marwah
will help you set a realistic price to match market conditions.
Your Realtor can give you a comparative market analysis based on similar homes in your area. It will show current listings, recent sales, and expired listings (a good thing to check because these houses are usually either overpriced or poorly marketed).
Your Realtor will help you develop a competitive price based on:
Market conditions (Is it a buyer's or a seller's market?)
Remember: The market determines price. Avoid the urge to price your home based on considerations that do not affect its market value. For example, the following do not affect the market value for your property:
How much you need to purchase your next home
How much you paid
How much you spent on improvements
The value of a similar home in a different community
The cost to build the same home today
Your personal attachment to your home (Yes, it's your house and you're proud of it, but this makes no difference to potential buyers.)
What renovations will give me the greatest return when selling my property?
The top three renovations that get you the most money* are:
- Bathrooms (75 to 100% return)
- Kitchens (75 to 100% return)
- Interior and exterior painting (50 to 100% return)
*Appraisal Institute of Canada's 2004 Home Renovation Survey
Other renovations and their average rate of return (the value they add compared to what they cost) include:
- Replacing roof shingles (50 to 80%)
- Replacing the furnace and heating system (50 to 80%)
- Renovating the basement (50 to 75%)
- Adding a recreation room (50 to 75%)
- Installing a fire place (50 to 75%)
- Up-grading floors (50 to 75%)
- Building a garage (50 to 75%)
- Replacing windows and doors (50 to 75%)
- Building a deck (50 to 75%)
- Installing central air conditioning (25 to 75%)
As an expert on home sale trends in your neighborhood, Raj Marwah
can advise you on whether or not renovations will add value to your home, and make it more saleable.
How important is the exterior look of my property?
First impressions really do count. If the impact of your curb appeal is strong, people will want to see what is inside.
- Cut the lawn.
- Cut and trim the shrubs.
- Remove dead tree limbs and other yard debris.
- Brighten up the garden with fresh shrubs and flowers.
- Get rid of the clutter. Put away toys and gardening equipment.
- Touch up peeling paint on doors, siding, and trim.
- Repair and paint the fence.
- Fix damaged roof shingles and flashing.
- Clean windows, replace broken panes, and fix torn screens.
- Clean gutters and downspouts.
- Wash the driveway and sidewalk. Patch cracks or holes.
- Clean up the garage and shed.
- Have the gas grill ready for use.
- Make sure outside lights and doorbells work.
What should I do to the interior of my property, before I list it for sale?
Every room should look as spacious, bright, and warm as possible.
- Wash walls, ceilings, and trim. Consider painting with light, neutral colours. Repair cracks.
- Tighten loose knobs, towel racks, switch plates, and outlet covers.
- Fix tight doors and windows, squeaky floorboards, and loose stair banisters.
- Clean and repair caulking around tubs and sinks. Fix leaky faucets; remove water stains.
- Clean and organize the basement and attic. (This is a good opportunity to throw out all the bits and pieces you don't want to move.)
- Organize closets. Get rid of the clutter. Limit the number of items stored overhead or on the floor.
- Clean out kitchen cabinets, and remove clutter from countertops.
- Clean drapes, blinds, and curtains. Shampoo carpets, and wax floors.
- Now's a good time to spray for bugs.
- Arrange furniture to make rooms appear as spacious as possible.
- Remove any items you're taking with you, such as chandeliers and mirrors.
To find out more about creating maximum impact for your house and garden, check out Raj Marwah's House Staging Tips