Preparing Your House
Get Ready for your Next Move
Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours. Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners! Say goodbye to every room. Don’t look backwards — look toward the future.
To properly prepare your home for sale you will have to pack away many of your personal items, including photos, souvenirs and other mementos. Buyers can’t see past personal artifacts, and you don’t want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can’t do that if yours are there.
Clean and reorganize
Clean your home from top to bottom and make sure all appliances are spotless. Reorganize the closets and pack away some of your belongings. Storage room is a priority for buyers and a full closet does a poor job of showcasing the amount of storage room available. If you’re using a spare room for storage, pack away the clutter and ensure the space is properly furnished. If you don’t need it, why not donate it or throw it away? Remove all books from bookcases. Pack up those knickknacks. Clean off everything on kitchen counters. Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a closet when not in use. Clear all of your countertops and de-clutter all heavy traffic areas. Keep laundry and extra coats out of sight and remove any build up of bills. Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.
Strong odours can ruin a sale, so pay close attention to pet, cooking and cigarette smells in your home. Light delicately scented candles or have cookies baking in the oven when you’re showing. Fresh flowers, especially in the spring and winter, can help to brighten and energize your home.
Remove/Replace Favorite Items
If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, she won’t want it. Once you tell a buyer she can’t have an item, she will covet it, and it could blow your deal. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.
Make Minor Repairs
Potential buyers love to reduce the price by picking on minor repairs. Beat them to the punch by touching up interior paint and paper, repairing cracked plaster, tightening doorknobs and cupboard latches. Oil any squeaky doors, repair leaky plumbing (taps, shower heads and toilets), and seals/caulking around bathtub and sinks. Replace cracked floor or counter tiles. Patch holes in walls. Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam. Consider painting your walls neutral colors. Replace burned-out light bulbs. If you’ve considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now. Make sure all appliances, including the furnace and humidifier, are clean and working properly. It is worth the cost of you doing the minor repairs, as simple things can greatly reduce your resale value.
There are certain items that must be repaired if there are problems. A leaky roof, for example, must be fixed. Any electrical problems will have to be addressed. Furnaces, water heaters and plumbing also fall into this category.
Homebuyers decide whether or not to look inside a house by the appearance of your home’s exterior. Paint or wash the outside of your home.Check your gutters and chimney and make necessary repairs. Keep your lawns trimmed and flower beds weeded and store away unsightly trashcans. Use urns to define walk spaces and ensure that window boxes are full of healthy all-season plants. Replace any broken or dated lights.
“Love me, love my pets,” doesn’t apply when selling your home. Take your pets with you when your house is being shown, or at least keep them outside. Pets under foot will quickly put a damper on an otherwise positive showing. While making sure that your house is odour-free and spotless applies to everyone, pet owners need to take special care. Be sure to empty and hide unsightly kitty litter, lint brush your furniture and put your furry friend’s toys, dishes and scratching posts away during showings.
Base asking price on market value rather than needs or emotions.
Sellers often base their price on what they paid for, or have invested in their home. This can be an expensive mistake. If your home is not priced competitively, buyers will reject it in favour of other larger homes for the same price. The buyers who should be looking at your house will not see it because it is priced over their heads.
The result is increased market time, and even when the price is eventually lowered, the buyers are wary because nobody wants to buy a home that nobody else wants. This can results in low offers and a buyer’s unwillingness to negotiate. Everyone wants to realize as much money as possible from a sale, but a listing priced too high often eventually sells for less than market value.
Take the first offer seriously.
Often sellers believe that the first offer received will be one of many to come. There is a tendency to not take it seriously and to hold out for a higher price. This is especially true if the offer comes in soon after the home is placed on the market. Many sellers have had to accept far less money than the initial offer later in the selling process. The home is most saleable early in the marketing period, and the amount buyers are willing to pay diminishes with the length of time a property has been on the market. Many sellers wish they could find the prospective buyer who made the first offer.