Making the decision to sell your house is a big one. There are a multitude of things to consider once the initial decision has been made. At this time of year, most homeowners are not considering listing their home until the Spring, but there are many things you can do now in preparation – before you call a real estate agent.
Most homeowners have a pretty good idea of the value of their property and what it will potentially sell for when it goes on the real estate market. What homeowners usually don’t realize is what they can do to their house and property to ensure when the house sells they get the most money they can for it and also sell it quickly.
Your First Step: The Staging Consultation
Money Well Invested
Look at selling your house as an investment in your future home. What can you do now to ensure a good selling price in the spring? Below you will find our recommendations, and as mentioned above do these before ever calling a real estate agent.
Call a Certified Staging Professional for a Staging Consultation. Even if you do not fully stage your property (we recommend that you do), the investment in the staging consultation is well worth it. Expect to pay $250 and up, depending on the size of your property for the consultation.
The staging professional will walk through your entire property – inside and out, preparing a detailed list of what can be done to maximize the value of your home when you do eventually list it with your realtor®. The report you receive is your guide to start the preparations now, so you are ready to list in the hot spring market.
Certified Staging Professionals are knowledgeable in what buyers today are looking for, how to ensure first impressions of your property, WOW buyers and guide you through the process of how to get it all done. Some stagers even offer services to help you get it done, organize, or provide referrals for you for contractors, painters and any other household resources that may be required.
And finally, your stager will give you a quote for staging your property should you choose to do so. Although staging is highly recommended, it will definitely create the WOW factor buyers are looking for, you are under no obligation to have your property staged. More on this later.
Preparing Your Property For Sale
Without ever seeing your property the items below are standard items you can do to ensure your house presents well once it is listed:
- Clean the house from top to bottom: windows, floors, carpets, upholstery, the garage floor. Nothing says well maintained better than a spotless house.
- Paint: a fresh coat of paint in neutral colours throughout the house makes it easier for buyers to envision their furnishings working in the house. Your taste in paint colours may not be that of the buyer – it is best to keep it neutral.
- Clean out and organize closets/cupboards: The buyer will look inside your cupboards and closets. They are looking to ensure there is adequate space for their ‘stuff’. If your closets are packed with clothes or linens, pack what you are not currently wearing or using away, leaving a well organized closet or cupboard showing ample space inside. Invest in closet organizers if necessary. Decorative baskets are great for organizing smaller items and hiding them away.
- Remove Personal Items: Your buyer wants to see themselves in your house, not you. Take the photographs down, the awards and trophies get put away.
- Clean and organize the garage: A place for everything and everything in its place is a motto to live by when selling your house.
- Clean and organize the basement: If the basement is unfinished, ensure anything in it is neatly stored or put in storage for the buyer to envision what they can do with the space.
- Pack and Store: Pack away and consider putting any unnecessary items in storage to create an open, free-flowing traffic flow within the house. Extra furniture, that treadmill in the corner, etc.
- Window Treatments: Remove excessive window treatments. Your taste in curtains may not be your buyers. You will also want to ensure as much natural light throughout the house as possible. If blinds are in place, make sure they are clean, in working order but always raised when showing the house.
- Remember Curb Appeal: Buyers will drive by your property before booking a viewing. Make sure the home is inviting from the road. Gardens are well kept, debris from last night’s storm is cleared immediately, the front door, porch looks welcoming and if the porch is big enough has cozy chairs for sitting and enjoying the outdoors. Don’t forget to consider how your house looks at night. Make sure all lights are in working order, pathways to the front door are well lit and once the house is on the market make sure to always leave lights on inside for that warm and inviting glow.
- The Backyard: This area should be well maintained, gardens prepared, grass cut, the patio should be clean with no repairs required and all toys or yard equipment neatly stored out of site. A welcoming sitting area and outdoor living space should be set up beckoning for your buyers to sit down with friends over a cocktail or coffee.
Just as you would prepare your vehicle by detailing it before selling it or trading it in, you will need to do the same for your house. Much of what we have mentioned above can start months before you are ready to list.
What Buyers Want
You have particular wants and needs in your next home, just as your buyer does. Some of the key factors driving buyer purchases today are:
- Move-in-ready: Often once the house is purchased there is no money remaining for renovations or even painting, buyers want it finished. They want to know when they move in and unpack they can get on with enjoying their life in their new home.
- Modern bathrooms: We’re sure you have heard cleanliness is close to godliness. When it comes to the bathrooms in the house buyers want new, modern fixtures and a comforting environment, particularly in the master ensuite, if there is one.
- A functional modern kitchen: Update light fixtures, countertops and cupboards to create an inviting space for family and guests when entertaining.
- A laundry room that looks like the laundry could do itself. Buyers today look for main floor laundry rooms with ample space for sorting, ironing, hanging to dry.
- Outdoor living spaces. We all want more outdoor time and buyers are looking for natural extensions of their living space – to easily flow outdoors when weather permits.
- Ample storage. Ensuring there is ample storage, and organized storage throughout the house is a bonus.
- An Entrance that WOWS.
According to the National Post, the top six renovations to help seal the deal when selling your home are kitchens, bathrooms, basements, mechanicals, curb appeal and paint. Below is also a chart provided on the National Association of Realtors website outlining what renovations will likely recoup their value when selling.