The first step to get more money when you sell: preparing your home for sale.
Preparing your home for sale shouldn’t be overlooked. A lot of sellers want to jump right into listing their home on the market. Big mistake.
Yes, it’s a tedious, time consuming and painstaking task to prepare your home for sale. But if you don’t do it right, you’ll lose out on the potential value a buyer will see when they first visit your home.
Does prepping mean staging?
Staging is just one of the ways to prepare your home. There is a cost to staging, and some real estate marketing packages include staging with the commission you pay.
Don’t think of staging as redecorating your entire home. Instead, it’s a matter of rearranging what you have, adding a few decorative pieces, and making improvements so your home can appeal to more buyers.
Being able to captivate the attention, desire and interest of more buyers means a greater potential to a higher selling price.
Curb appeal and first impressions
A prospective buyer’s first impression comes right when they pull up to your house. Make it count when preparing your home for sale. Clean up your front lawn. Paint front windows and doors. Keep the lawn mowed and bushes trimmed. Plant or pot colourful flowers. Clear your driveway and sidewalks.
Many homeowners have a habit of putting out their garbage bins near the front of the home. For practical reasons, of course. But the last thing you want is potential buyer walking past garbage bins to get inside your house. So strategically place them elsewhere.
Shine and glimmer
A home in immaculate condition sells faster and for more money. It’s been proven time and time again. Take the time to wash windows inside and out. Clean your kitchens and bathrooms. If you have carpet, have it professionally steam cleaned. Better yet, replace them with hardwood to appeal to more buyers. Clean and dust your home throughout. And take care of pet odours.
Time to take down those photos
When buyers are touring your home, you want to make them feel as if it is already theirs. They won’t feel that way if they see your personal photos on the walls. Part of the process of preparing your home for sale is taking down personal photos and artifacts. It’s time to pack those up and replace them with neutral artwork and photos. Don’t leave any personal and family photos in any room of your house.
Get rid of junk and clutter
You’re about to move. Do you really want all your junk and clutter to move with you? Time to get rid of them. (Or store them if they have sentimental value.) You’ll be surprised how appealing your home will look with less stuff. Clear counters (no more keys, wallets, jewelry, pens, pads of paper… etc.). Free up space by reducing furnishings to just the essentials. Put away those souvenirs from all of your vacations.
Fix things up
Here’s where you shouldn’t get lazy. Because it’ll cost you. If you see holes in the wall, patch them up. Replace cracked floor or counter tiles. Fix leaking faucets. And doors that don’t close properly. Replace burnt out light bulbs. Pay attention to these tiny details because buyers sure will. Everything you don’t fix is a headache a potential buyer sees when they move in. And headaches cost time (and money!) to fix.
Remove stuff you want to keep
Want to keep your chandelier and light fixtures? Remove them. Take them away so buyers won’t see them. Replace them with something decent, of course. The same applies to window coverings if you want to take them with you. And basically anything you do not want included with the sale.
Appliances are typically included in the sale of your home. If you want to keep them and take them with you, make sure you replace them with something comparable and decent.
Tidy up your closets and cabinets
Yes, buyers open closets and cabinets. And they’ll get an intimate peek at how you live. It also gives a statement about your home. Neat closets and cabinets mean a tidy home. So it’s time to clean them up. Keep medicines and other personal items out of sight. Pack away excess clothing crowding up your closet space. Arrange your shoes and shelf items neatly.
Light it up: it’s showtime
Imagine you were looking at a house. And you walk in to complete darkness. Wouldn’t the gloomy feeling turn you off about it?
Whenever you’re showing your home, it has to be friendly and inviting for buyers. Open up the drapes and let the sunshine in. Keep lights on inside and outside during showings — especially in dark areas of your house. Buy some fresh flowers and put them on display. Set the temperature to a comfortable level.
Get out of the way
When buyers are looking at your home, do them a favour: go away. There’s nothing more intimidating than homeowners that are present during buyer visits. It adds undue pressure and scrutiny to their experience.
Whenever a showing is scheduled, plan to be away from your home. Go for a walk around the neighbourhood. Do something to keep you busy. If you have kids, you can restrict showing times so they don’t go too late. But don’t leave them at home either while buyers are looking.
Don’t be offended
Buyers and their agents will have opinions about your home. Everybody has different tastes and preferences. Especially when you’ve spent a lot of time preparing your home for sale, don’t feel badly about feedback about your home. And definitely don’t take it personally. Let your real estate broker handle these situations. Feedback does help you understand what buyers think and if there is room for improvement. But don’t let it get to you.
If you have pets…
Dogs and cats are great companions, but when you’re showing your home, pets have a talent for getting underfoot. So do everyone a favour, keep Kitty and Spot outside, or at least out of the way.
Go around your house and make sure everything is safe and secure as part of preparing your home for sale. Hide kids toys that buyers might trip on. Tuck away extension cords. Secure slippery throw rugs. Fix low hanging overhead lights. Move things that buyers might bump into or hurt their foot on. Believe it or not, I’ve almost injured myself at the homes of potential sellers.
Should you play music or turn on the TV?
Leave the TV off. If you have a stereo system, play soothing music. Of course the type of music depends on what kind of buyers will see your home. Having some kind of music on will set the mood and environment.
What happens if buyers ask you a question?
If you happen to bump into buyers during showings, and they ask you questions, tell them to contact your real estate broker. Your broker will handle inquiries so you don’t have to worry about it.
Be prepared and flexible
Hindering buyers from seeing your home will prevent you from selling it at the best price. Let your real estate broker know if you need a few hours advanced notice for showing appointments. Otherwise, be prepared at any given time to show your home. Make your beds and tidy up constantly. Avoid excessive smells when it comes to cooking. Make sure your home is show ready at any given time.
It’s not a garage sale
Some sellers may want to sell furniture to prospective buyers. But remember — selling your home is not a garage sale. If you want to take care of selling stuff you don’t need, do it afterwards. Focus on the sale of your home first, where the most amount of money is. Then start selling your other stuff once the sale of your home is finalized.
Work with an expert
When it comes to preparing your home for sale, we’re experienced and we know what to do to get you more money. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any specific questions about getting your home ready. I’m here to help you.