Before your REALTOR® begins showing your home, you will want to make sure it’s in tip top condition. An attractive, well-kept home generally has a better chance of selling faster.
Minor exterior and interior improvements can add value to your home and need not require a large renovation bill. Think back to what first attracted you to your home; now determine how best to highlight and improve your home's best features.
Here are a few ideas to help you perk up your home's appearance. Consult with your REALTOR® to see what types of improvements make the most sense.
Start with the outside
An inviting exterior encourages potential buyers will look inside:
Tidy decks, balconies - clean floor, remove dead plants and clutter, wash furniture
Ensure garage and porch areas are free of clutter and refuse
Keep lawns and gardens well maintained
Repair loose siding or pavement
Replace any damaged roof shingles, eaves troughs or cracked windows
Wash windows, gutters, mailbox and doors
Secure loose shutters or awnings
Repair any cracks or leaks in flashings
Inspect caulking and trim; check doors and windows for smooth movement, and lubricate with silicone spray. Wash window screens and check for tears
Clean or replace furnace filter. replacing it with an electrostatically charged filter is a good way to improve indoor air quality, vacuum exterior of furnace and boiler
The inside story
You can do a lot to improve the inside of your home without spending a great deal of money. Two primary areas to keep in mind are the kitchen and the bathroom.
Ensure kitchen and bathrooms are sparkling clean, including ventilator and stove exhaust fans
Repair dripping faucets and showerheads
Steam clean or replace carpets if necessary
Thoroughly clean every room in the house, remove all clutter including personal items like family photos and ornamental collections - less stuff makes rooms look larger and fewer mementos allow potential buyers to imagine their belongings in the space
Repaint dingy walls or kitchen cabinets with a neutral colour
Check walls for bugles, damp patches or peeling paint; these may indicate moisture trapped in the walls
Replace worn or outdated countertops and cracked light-switch plates
Remove any items (like chandeliers) that won’t be included in the sale of the home
Now that you've been through the cupboards and removed all the needless clutter, get everyone in the family involved. Make sure everything sparkles and - here's the hard part - vow to keep it that way! Make sure pet areas are clean and fresh smelling, toys and games are stored neatly, tapes and CDs are tidy, and clutter of newspapers and old magazines are removed. Don't forget that beds are made and dishes are done before you leave for work in the morning.
Most buyers have a certain priorities in mind when they shop for a house. By the time they finally make an offer to purchase, they may have visited several homes that meets their basic needs. What makes the buyer choose one home above the others?
Once the basic requirements have been met, choosing a home becomes an emotional decision for many buyers. They may weigh the pros and cons carefully, but in the end they will often choose the one that “feels” right - the one that feels most like a home they'd like to live in.
If you’re selling a strata unit, prepare your minutes for easy distribution
As a courtesy to buyers, leave the house while the REALTOR® is conducting a showing
The trick is to communicate subconsciously by appealing to the five senses. Try a few of these things practiced by many of my clients to tip the scales in your favor.
greet your visitors with the scent of fresh flowers or the aroma of freshly baked bread or cookies
have pleasant music playing in the background
give the impression of spaciousness and airiness - remove bulky furniture, open the curtains and turn on extra lights
make refreshments available - lemonade on the deck or hot cider in the kitchen is a nice touch
add warmth where you can - light the fireplace, turn on lamps rather than overhead lights and close curtains at night
Don’t keep money, jewellery and small valuables in plain sight during a showing
Keep all stairways and hallways clear
These strategies are especially good for open houses when it’s your best interest to pull out all the stops. Be creative and do whatever you can on short notice to make your home appealing.