Sometimes the hardest part of the sales process is not making the decision to sell or negotiate the offer, for some, the hardest part can be preparing your home for the market.
In today’s market, buyers are picky and have high expectations. Homes are stagged to look like magazine covers, not necessarily a reflection of how you live in it as a family. I try to prepare my clients to walk through their home with a critical eye, that scuff mark, that scratch, that dated chair in the corner or the messy storage under the stairs , all need to be addressed. Sometimes when you live with these little imperfections you can easily become used to them and turn a blind. Unfortunately in todays market, that’s not going to cut it, those imperfections could mean the difference between an offer or a pass.
Here are some industry selling tips that can help. HGTV has put together a relatively comprehensive list that I have reviewed and added to based on my own experiences. Hope these helpful tips inspire and get your home SOLD!
Selling Secret #10: Pricing it right
Find out what your home is worth and be realistic about the price. In today’s market some sellers are looking for multiple bids and reducing their price 10-15%. Multiple bids can be risky, so you really need to understand your neighbourhood and have courage and some just don’t want to risk it. My best advice is to have this conversation with your agent, discuss all the pros and cons of this strategy and decide what best suits you and your family.
Selling Secret #9: Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Purge the closest and as a rule of thumb take half the stuff out of your closets, then meticulously organize what’s left in there. Buyers will open every cabinet and door (trust me, they snoop) so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.
Selling Secret #8: Light it up
Maximize the light in your home. Light can set the mood in a home, so keep it bright. If necessary, take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.
Selling Secret #7: Choose the right Agent
A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – tech-savvy is an advantage in getting house sold in today's industry. A broker that has a solid brokerage behind them is an asset. Sometimes the cheapest is not the best in the world of real estate, so know exactly what services are and are NOT included in your sales commission agreement. Do your homework.
Selling Secret #6: Conceal the fur babies
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover (imagine!) Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the fur babies away for the day.
Selling Secret #5: Don’t over-upgrade
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Major renovations, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project (new addition) before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off such as kitchens and bathroom upgrades. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout and any stains. Its well worth the small investment.
Selling Secret #4: Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal items in your home, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living in the space. Rule of thumb is to remove a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space. It can make a huge difference in the appearance of your home.
Selling Secret #3: The kitchen comes first
The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get most your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops, I've seen buyer's knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style.
Selling Secret #2: Always be ready to show
Your house needs to be "show-ready" at all times – you never know when your phone will ring for a showing appointment and your buyer is going to walk through the door. You must be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, dirty laundry in baskets, ensure the bathrooms are sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. Yes, it can be a lot of work and a little inconvenient (especially if you have smaller children) but it will get your house sold.
Selling Secret #1: The first impression is the only impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. Investment in your curb appeal can go a long, long way. Ensure the grass is cut, shrubs are pruned and there is no debris around the house. Entryways are also important. Make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, pillow, a vase of fresh-cut flowers and ensure it is clean.
For more tips on how to make your home marketable and for some more secret selling tips , please feel free to reach out to me.