Selling your home can be very overwhelming. You must commit to showing your home frequently and have SHOW IT WELL. I decided to make a blog about how you could have your home showing at it’s best, sell faster and in turn get a better resale value. Really, it’s all basic stuff. But most people have lived in their home for many years and have become “nose blind” to what needs to be done. This is where I am upfront, honest and I am able to make recommendations to help you get the sold sign up.
I hope you find this post effective! Let me know your thoughts. As always, feel free to give me a call if you thinking of selling. We offer free home evaluations. Happy reading.
1. De-clutter. Organize. DEEP CLEAN!
I may sound like a broken record when I say this… but a house with minimal furniture, minimal stuff sells faster. I repeat, less is more. It makes the space feel bigger, lighter, brighter, and all those fun things that buyers are looking for. Best way is to start room by room. Make a list. Go through every box, every cupboard, drawers. Remove anything you don’t use daily. Store it in a moving box, give it away, sell it or throw it out. I like using rubber-maid containers for storage. I label them as well. Then, the next time I move I can re-use them or just keep the stuff stored that I don’t use frequently. Store it in the basement, garage or if space isn’t there, consider renting a storage pod/renting a storage space. We all have those “once a year/once a month” items we use however if you are moving… chances are you won’t need it soon. Get it out of the space. You can also rent dump bins for a weekly rental fee. They drop it on your driveway or property, you can load it up with dump items and then they haul it away for you! I’ve done this many times while moving. Saves the several trips to the waste yard if you have a lot of “junk”.
As you de-clutter, go through things. Re-organize. And while you’re at it, clean. For example, let’s say we are going through a kitchen space. Go through all your cupboards. Throw away expired foods (yes canned foods do eventually go bad). Pack away extra dishes you don’t use often like fancy china. Lighten those cupboards up, make it look spacious. Besides, you are going to need to pack at some point so take this as a head start! While you have your nose in the cupboards, wipe down the insides, outsides, etc. Pull out the fridge clean behind/underneath, go through the fridge as well, take all the food out, wipe it out. Wipe down the stove inside and out. Wouldn’t hurt to move it as well and get in behind it. Dust those ledges that never get touched. Re-organize the cutlery drawer so that it’s super neat. Get rid of that junk drawer. It’s exactly what it is… junk. Pizza menus are available online now a days. Really no need for a “junk” drawer. Go through every room like this with a fine-tooth comb. You won’t be able to do it in a day. But you could likely do 1 room a day or a couple if you have the whole day. As for the exterior of the property, be sure to wash windows, rake leaves, shovel snow, pick up dog droppings, and look after whatever else that has been neglected or just not frequently cleaned. Wipe down the front door. It’s the first thing people see. So, make it sparkle! Feel free to give it a fresh coat of paint. When was the last time you had your gutters cleaned? Or your furnace ducts cleaned? Carpets steamed? All these will come up in the inspection. Doing them now saves time & gives the buyer confidence. It shows them you cared for the home. A well maintained home shows a million times better. First impressions are everything. Yes, clean the flies out of that light fixture too. I know. The flies are annoying. The just keep coming back into that one light!!
2. Fix. Touch up. Keep up.
Burnt out light bulbs, loose taps, doors that don’t shut properly, loud bathroom fans, stained carpet. Get them fixed. I have a handyman that can look after these tedious yet crucial items. Paint goes along way as well. Perhaps consider getting the house repainted or touch ups. High traffic areas might need a full patch/coat but some might just need quick little spot work. I also have a painter I can recommend for both needs. I can help choose paint colors so don’t sweat. I have done this many many times.
While you may have showings for several weeks, it’s important not to let the house go. Some sellers are really good at having it show ready, clean and maintained for first 2 weeks and then they don’t keep it up. Please do.
Pets can ruin home sales. Most people have animals in their homes but remember they get used to what their animals smell like. I highly recommend taking your pet to the groomers for a bath/wash. Especially, larger dogs who shed. This helps reduce the shedding and dander smell that maybe in the air. I also highly recommend having carpets steamed, furnace ducts cleaned and it helps having a window open to circulate the air before showings. If you have a litter box for cats, please clean them completely before each showing. Perhaps look at having an enclosed kitty litter (lid). During showings, it also helps to remove the animals from the home. I know that isn’t always possible so just try. If not, having them in a room with a closed door helps. Keep in mind animals like to flee sometimes. And agents often have their hands full and buyers are distracted. We don’t want your pets running away. I do know a cat boarding service in Red Deer that is cats only. They are awesome to use when moving! http://www.cacattery.com
4. DON’T use air freshener or highly scented candles
I walked out of several houses because of this. Overpowering with a bunch of scented candles or air wick plug ins doesn’t make your house attractive. It gives mind numbing headaches and gives the buyer the impression you are hiding something. And well, if they leave because it’s too strong, that’s no good. Try not to do any cooking right before showings. There should be no need to use air freshener if you are cleaning frequently, opening windows, grooming your pets often, etc. If you smoke in your home, consider not smoking during the time you have it for sale. Smoking devalues homes tremendously. In fact, it could deter someone from buying your home at all.
Got an old brass light fixture with rust on it? Consider updating to something modern and nice. Old stained carpets? Maybe not even stained just old? Highly recommend updating. Poly-b plumbing from the 90’s ? Another thing I would consider updating. You don’t have to renovate your entire house but there’s a few minor things you could do to really help modern it up. I can suggest these items prior to listing with me and can recommend the professionals to do them for you.
6. Gather manuals, relevant paperwork, etc.
It certainly helps to have any paperwork you might have such as manuals for appliances, warranty paperwork, your real property report, perhaps documents from when you purchased the home or built it. Not detrimental to the sale (except for the real property report maybe) but buyers do enjoy seeing them. Consider having your utilities readily available to peak at. Most first time buyers ask for utilities estimated costs since this is usually new to them.
7. Show well.
During showings, turn on all the lights, especially at night. Open curtains/blinds. Another suggestion, consider leaving a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies out for them. Store bought works too. Just leave a note saying, help yourself. Have the beds made, kitchen counters free and clear of clutter. Take out the garbage. Wipe down bathroom mirrors. Little stuff you may forget even after a good clean… consider leaving the TV on low volume with some light music. This will make the home feel cozy. Make sure grass is cut or snow is shovelled, sidewalks are free of ice.
8. Hire a good Realtor.
Okay, I know you are thinking.. how the heck do I know if they are good or not?
Here are some questions you can ask Realtors during the interview process to help engage if they are a good match…
- How long have you been selling homes?
- How many homes have you sold in the last year?
- How many have you sold in this area?
- What sets you apart from other Realtors?
- How will you help my house stand out from other properties?
- Can I read some reviews from your recent past clients?
- What is your availability like?
- What is your local advantage?
- What is your international advantage?
- Why do you think you should get my house as a listing?
Another thing to consider, is how educated they are on the market/evaluation process… how did they arrive at the suggested list price? Did they give you fair comparables to look at? Did they explain the market and how it is relevant to your home? Did they say what would be the target audience/buyer for your home? Did they explain certain factors about your home that may increase or decrease the saleability? For example: a house that is beside or nearby train tracks.
Ask many questions. I get a lot of feedback from unhappy sellers who tried with another agent and they commonly say “I went with a family friend” and they blame themselves for lack of research. Having a recommendation from a family member or friend is great, but make sure you ask the questions. I always suggest interviewing 2 agents and asking them both the same questions.
You can have a look at my reviews on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sellinghomesinreddeer.
Ready to sell or get started on some of the things mentioned above? We can set up a time for me to come view your home, complete a formal evaluation, sit down to discuss and answer all the questions you have. This is when I will suggest what should be done before listing.
I hope this post helped. I have a wealth of knowledge so anything I didn’t discuss in this blog, I’d be happy to over the phone or in person.