There’s a lot involved in selling a property. Check out my post “What Does a REALTOR® Do For You?” for all the details! But some things can be taken care of in advance, before listing your home, and you can increase your home’s value AND reduce the amount of time it takes to sell by making sure everything is in tip-top shape before the real estate photographer and potential buyers walk through your door.
Here’s a list of things you can do before your home hits the market:
- Declutter. You’re planning on moving aren’t you? So start packing now by sorting through the closets and donating or selling those items you won’t want to bring with you. Put all those knick-knacks away! Anything visible on the countertops in the bathrooms and kitchen that you don’t use frequently should be tucked into a cupboard or drawer. Consider fashionable baskets or totes to keep things you need kept handy but out of sight.
- Clean. Make sure everything is clean and shiny. Consider hiring a cleaner for a half day or even a full day. It’s amazing how much they can get done in a short amount of time. If you have carpets clean them and try to get any stains out. Don’t forget the windows and take down those cobwebs! Quickly polish the faucets and sink and wipe down the countertops before showings.
- Garden clean-up. The first thing buyers will see is your yard so be sure to make a good first impression! Hide any clutter, tuck garbage cans out of sight, and try to keep things as manicured as possible. I know we live in a rain forest so this can be difficult! But it’s surprising how many buyers say no to the perfect house because the yard looked to be “too overwhelming”. If half the yard is taken up by blackberry bushes that’s a problem! Consider some tidy colourful potted plants and place them near the front door.
- Smells. I can’t stress this enough! You know our noses get used to smells so people may not be aware of unpleasant odours in their homes. But buyers (and their real estate agents) notice with the first step through the door. If you smoke you’re going to have to take it outside! And make sure your windows are shut when you do so the smoke doesn’t get sucked into the house. Keep in mind that buyers have a lot more knowledge about the effects of third hand smoke, the sticky residue that covers all surfaces of the home and can off-gas for months or years. Simply painting or removing carpets is not sufficient, especially for people with asthma or allergies. Do you have a dog, cat or a pet rabbit in the house? Make sure Fido is getting regular baths and pet cages and litter boxes are clean. Consider lighting a scented candle for awhile before showings.
- Updates. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on updates! Even a small budget can make a difference. Replacing dated light fixtures with more modern ones is quite inexpensive and easy to do. How do your window coverings look? Could any of the rooms use a fresh coat of paint? How about your front door, does it make a good first impression? With a larger budget you could replace dated laminate countertops with quality ones, purchase stainless steel appliances, install modern sink faucets, and replace lino and carpets with something more upscale.
- Gather all your documents. Do you have a well, septic and/or wood stove? If so, see if you have any documents for these. If you have done any renos (such as replacing shingles) do you have the receipts or do you at least know what year they were done? Real Estate agents are bombarded with questions about these things so it would be a huge help if you had any documents to show.
Once you’re done it’s time to give me a call. Then…you can relax while I take care of all of the work from there!