Setting the right price and making a great first impression is essential in attracting buyers but what else should you be doing to prepare for selling your home? Here are some great tips to give you the best chance at selling more quickly and with a good result.
- 1. Decide on a listing date and make a plan of attack:
Decide when you would like to have your house on the market and then make a list of things that need to be done prior to listing (many of those items are below). Then set a reasonable time to complete those tasks! Let your realtor know what your goal date is and that will help keep you on track!
- 2. Have a second set of eyes and objective opinion:
You know that project that has never been quite completed….the paint that was never touched up? We have a tendency to overlook imperfections in our own homes because we are so used to seeing them every day.
However, prospective buyers will see every little thing that needs to be done! Invite a friend or your realtor over and have them be honest about how your house looks – inside and out. They may notice things you've never even thought of. That will become your to-do list before listing your house. You want buyers to focus on all the great features of your home and not the little things that are un-done.
- 3. Treat you home like an asset:
We know that your home holds meaning to you and is full of memories but the moment you decide to make a move that home becomes a house that is an asset, that is now for sale… and one that you want to get top dollar for so removing emotion and focusing on the task at hand will be a benefit to you.
This also means that you have to be very accommodating to showings. Yes we know, it is always inconvenient to show your house, but you need to work on the schedule of potential buyers as best you can.
Remember, the ultimate goal is to have as few showings as possible. You want one of those first prospective buyers to put in an offer and sell it quickly so the all of the work and preparation you do in advance of listing and showing will pay off!
- 4. Declutter:
Have you seen those pictures of living rooms in magazines…..they look fantastic, don't they? There's a couch, a chair, a couple of tables, window treatments, and just minimal décor items on tables and the walls.
Now take a look around your home. It might be your living room or your bedroom… how much more stuff does your space have in it compared to the picture in the magazine? We recommend taking photos on your phone and seeing what you see …we get so used to living in our space we don’t realize what it really looks like to others. We’re not saying your home needs to look like a show home but rather the premise is to simplify. You want to showcase your house, not your stuff. For every piece of furniture, ask yourself if it adds to the overall feeling over your home or not. If it doesn't, get rid of it. Think of it as pre-move purging. Everything in your home is coming out anyway, so you're just getting a head start. Now is the time to consider a garage sale or any of the online apps that can help you sell those items before listing your home.
- 5. To Stage or not to Stage:
There's a good chance that your furniture has been arranged the same way for a decade. And that's fine – it could be the best way to showcase your home. But there might be a different way to stage your house that you've never thought of. If you have rooms that don’t seem to have a defined purpose, give them one….home office, home gym etc. There are lots of great local professionals who can come in a for a few hours and give you a plan using your own things, and eliminating those items that don’t service a purpose.
When it comes to staging for showings, think of fresh white towels and throw rugs in your bathrooms. Keep them in the closet, and when you have a showing throw your old ones in the hamper and put the new ones out. Consider putting fresh flowers out as well. We know people aren’t buying your things but a home that shows well makes a difference to a potential buyer….it really does!!
- 6. Paint:
Freshly painted rooms look fresh & clean. Every little mark or scratch that have added up over the years will disappear, and your walls will once again look like new. Stick to neutral colors that have mass appeal!
Do you have kids who have their bedrooms painted with bold crazy colors? Yes, unfortunately it’s time for those colours to go.
Remember this is not just your home anymore, it's an asset… and even though paint is the easiest thing to change, potential buyers are mentally keeping track of the things they will need to do when they move in, and sometimes they just can’t look past peacock blue….no matter how much you love it!
Also – while you're painting, consider different window treatments in some of the main rooms. They don't need to be expensive, even nice 2″ white blinds will go a long way to freshen up a room.
- 7. Curb Appeal Matters:
You only get one shot at a first impression! Have you ever been excited to see a home based on photos but the reality when you pull up in front is completely different? The lawn doesn’t look great, the paint on the trim is peeling, siding is missing etc. That first impression sets the tone for what is beyond the front door, so it really does matter! Take the time to touch up the trim, paint the front door, garage door and stain the deck & fence if necessary, replace sod, add flowers to the front step, get fresh mulch for flower beds, and wash the windows…the view from the inside out matters as well. It’s worth taking the time on a couple of weekends to take care of the details outside because that’s what creates interest to see the inside! Like it or not people really do judge a book by its’ cover.
- 8. Plan for showing requests:
When that text comes for a showing, we know it is both exciting and anxiety causing! It seems like the timing is always terrible….your house is a mess, and you only have an hour to make it presentable and get the family out. We get it! This is why you need to have a plan! At this point, hopefully you've already de-cluttered and everything should have a place to get it out of site. For you own sanity, furniture and decor should be kept staged as much as possible at all times now…we know sometimes that is easier said than done but having a goal is a good thing! So now what is left to do? Before you go to bed at night or leave for work in the morning…….
- 1. Clean all dishes and put them away, or at least in the dishwasher!
- 2. Make your beds….your Mom will still be proud ;-)
- 3. Put all clothes in dressers, on hangers or in covered hampers. Try not to have clothes in the washer or dryer, those strangers in your house are likely to open the washer and dryer.
- 4. Vacuum or swiffer your floors.
- 5. Wipe down all counters, sinks and appliances.
- 6. Have clean unused linens on hand. Keep them folded up in a chest or dresser, and pull them out to place in the kitchen and bathrooms when you have a showing.
- 7. Make sure your home smells great always...it really has an impact on buyers!
- 8. Light candles & turn on music if you are home prior to showings and will be back shortly after.
- 9. Tuck everything that isn’t pretty on the counters into a basket and under the sink in the kitchen and baths.
- 10. Get the heck out of there and take your pets with you if possible! If an appointment is scheduled for 11:00am for example prepare for them to be running 15 minutes or so ahead, or behind, and schedule accordingly.
Note: Just before listing, consider hiring professional cleaners to come in and do a complete deep clean and then you just have to do daily maintenance while the home is listed.
- 9. Price right from the beginning:
When a house is first listed, it will have its highest level of interest during those first few weeks so it’s important to price strategically. Sellers often think they should start high and reduce if it doesn’t sell, but that can result in a slower sale, and sometimes for a lower price. Pricing too high can send a signal that you are not serious about selling.
When your home is new on the market you want to generate as much buzz and enthusiasm as possible. If you follow the steps above, have great photos, and price appropriately, you will definitely get that buzz!
One last note, be flexible with showings and do your best to prepare for them and make them work! We know it’s not always convenient but remember the goal is to sell your home sooner than later.
If you have questions about the value of your home or the selling process in general, we are here to help! Contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karin & Jen
Your Proven Regina Real Estate Team