If you’re trying to sell your house, you may have noticed it’s a pretty competitive field out there in today’s uncertain market. OK, Canada hasn’t been affected anything like as much as the States or Europe, but people are nervy about a Chinese hard-landing causing even further softening of commodity demand and, therefore, prices – so everyone’s a little edgy about the economy and, ergo, house prices.
This is particularly so if you live in a place where a lot of the houses are the same or at least similar. You really have to go the extra mile in making your house stand out from the crowd, or in dropping the price – or a little of both.
The price is up to you and the advice you receive from your realtor. Be realistic about this and bear in mind that we buy and sell in the same market – so if you have to do down a little on your acceptance price, you should generally be able to do the same on your new place.
To find a realtor and a lot of other great advice about buying and selling, get in touch with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) – one of the country’s biggest single industry trade associations, with over 100,000 members who are real estate brokers and agents, working via 100 real estate boards across Canada.
Now the main gist of this top five advice is to get your home ready to sell better and more quickly than the alternatives in your local market. Most of the five don’t cost a lot of money, but some can do. So do your homework on your finances and only take out a short term loan to do the work if you can definitely afford it and if your realtor is pretty confident in a sale after the work has been done. One option may be a loan.
Cleaning your home more thoroughly than you’ve ever done before will really help sell it – and all it should cost you is a few cleaning products and a lot of free elbow grease! Get someone in to help you do this if you can’t manage it yourself, and ask a friend to lend a critical eye. It may sound simple, but cleaning, de-junking and organising your home is the single best way to help sell it.
2 Painting & decorating
Only a little more expensive, but harder work is in painting and decorating your home – but this is the second best way of helping to present it to potential buyers in a sale-able condition. So do all those small paint jobs you’ve been meaning to do for years. A fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference and is a great way to add a splash of colour and value to your house.
One specific tip here is to paint the main front door and its frame. This really helps create a warm and welcoming first impression (and a few planters either side of the doorway will also help).
3. Lighting the space
Nothing changes the look and feel of the interior of a home quite as much as lighting and light-fittings and lamps – which is why this is so high up on the list. Effective lighting works in a subliminal, subconscious way with potential purchasers, so it’s really worth the effort and a little expense getting this right.
New ceiling lights, fan blades, chandeliers, lamps and hidden lighting can really add a dramatic effect to a room.
4. Landscaping the garden
There’s full-scale landscaping, then there’s tidying up your own front and back gardens. Where you draw the line is a question of need and budget. But whatever you do – tidying and brightening your garden will make a big difference in helping it sell. Again, this works in a subconscious way as most buyers think they can see through surface “issues” to the fundamentals beneath, but most can’t in reality and there’s nothing quite like a nice garden for altering one’s mood.
5. Making sure everything is functioning as it should
Last and least of the five; make sure all your appliances aren’t only gleaming – but are functioning as they should. So before you show your home, ensure everything is in good working condition.
Do these five things right and you can pretty much guarantee your home will be the first to sell if the price is competitive. Good luck!
We did all this last fall when we sold our house-we received a full price offer a week after it went on the market. We didn’t have the latest modern appliances but they all were spotlessly clean and functional. Our main focus was to make it a move-in ready home, as most of the other listed homes in our town seemed to be fixer-uppers.
I’d add these few details: Cleaning – includes washing or replacing dusty curtains/blinds, and de-junking includes clearing counter tops and staging bookshelves, especially built-ins, we also bought an inexpensive rug to put on top of one room’s tired carpet; Painting – we had an older screen door and spray painted the screen black to freshen it up, don’t feel you have to go totally neutral/boring if painting rooms (especially if similar homes on the market are bland), but do coordinate room colors; Lighting – and open those curtains/drapes unless the view is hideous; Landscaping – we just pulled out any tired plants & planted a few flowering plants in the front & near all the doors, added mulch to all flower beds; Functioning – we had a few minor repairs, and this extends beyond kitchen appliances to fresh filters in central air, toilets & faucets.
We also did one major upgrade on the house at the advice of our agent (replaced an aging central air unit) and we recouped all the expense plus some (& sold the house much more quickly).