With winter still upon us, the spring market seems so far away — but every day that the sun shines for a little bit longer, it’s the first sign of what’s to come — yes, SPRING is just around the corner!
#1: Clean, De-Clutter & Neutralize
Buyers like homes they can picture themselves living in, and the presentation of your home is so important from the time the potential buyers see pictures on the internet and make a decision whether or not to tour the property. Many buyers will write-off a property if it hasn’t been de-cluttered or cleaned (“that place is a dump”) or because they can’t see past dark paint colors or bold design choices (“too much work”). Do yourself a favor and appeal to the widest audience possible by providing what every buyer wants: a clean and neutral space. Here are some tips to get you there:
- Consider hiring professional cleaners: this should be the very last step before taking property photos, however it is SO important that it bears mentioning first. Clean. The. House… WELL!
- Buyers will see a dirty home as a reflection of what’s below the surface.
- If your home has an odour, this is the FIRST thing a buyer will notice and the ONLY thing they will remember. Get rid of odours.
- Clean the appliances — inside the fridge, stove and microwave. Dust, vacuum, scrub… do it all. Wipe shelves, shine faucets and clean the windows to flood the space with as much natural light as possible. Pay special attention to bathroom fan covers and beside the stove and fridge, these areas will make buyers cringe if they are dirty.
- De-clutter both main spaces and storage spaces: if you’re planning on de-cluttering your main spaces by shoving everything in a closet or storage room, DO NOT. Buyers will open every closet and cupboard! If your closets and cupboards are packed, it tells prospective buyers, “this home isn’t big enough for us and it won’t be big enough for you!”
- Start packing for your move NOW by removing anything you won’t need for the next few months.
- As a general rule, you want every shelf to be 1/3 full and 2/3 empty.
- Start keeping personal effects in small containers in the bathroom so that they can be quickly put away for showings. Buyers will look in your cabinets and DO NOT want to see your dirty razor and used bar of soap.
- Neutralize and de-personalize the space:
- Paint as much of the house as you can in a neutral tone.
- Grey, off-white and light taupe are the only acceptable colors.
- This will serve two purposes: it will neutralize the tones and cover wall scuffs and dirt, giving the home a fresh feeling. This can also help with odours.
- As far as staging goes, less is more.
- One piece of art per room is more than enough, so pack up your staircase collage of family photos and leave the wall empty, or replace it with an abstract print.
#2: Repair and Replace
Make small repairs around the house or replace things that are outdated/don’t work or are gross. For example:
- A door doesn’t open or close properly — repair it!
- A dishwasher doesn’t work — replace it!
- A light-switch doesn’t turn on when you enter the room — repair it!
- A shower curtain is old and ragged — replace it!
When buyers offer on a property that needs obvious repairs, they will often-times request a home inspection. Once they receive the report from the inspector, they will come back asking for a break on the price to assume this work. Instead of opening the door to a re-negotiation, make sure that everything in the home is in good working order and save yourself the headache.
#3: Get Your Paperwork in Order
Have information readily available when prospective buyers ask questions, speeding up negotiations and helping you get the best price for you home. This includes:
- Service records
- Renovation permits
- Receipts & warranties
- Property tax and utility bills
#4: Consider a Pre-Listing Home Inspection
If you happen to be in a hot real estate market where multiple offers are a possibility, you might want to get a pre-listing home inspection. The purpose is two-fold:
- Identify issues that might be picked up in a buyer’s home inspection and address problems BEFORE listing the home; and
- Offer a copy to prospective buyers who might be willing to remove the home inspection condition if one is provided. This is another great way to speed up negotiations on a property.
#5: Create Curb Appeal
You want your home to be appealing from the moment the prospective buyer drives up, so clean outside the front door, weed the garden or shovel the walkway and add that extra little something to make sure your home’s first impression is both positive and lasting.
If your home is market-ready, it can take as little as one week to get the home on the market. This week includes staging the home, getting photographs taken, getting marketing materials and virtual tour materials prepared, then making the listing live on MLS. Once the house is listed, it can take time to sell the house (January 2021 Average Days on Market for: Ottawa is 39 days, courtesy of OREB; and Toronto is 11 days, courtesy of TRREB). If you’re looking for a closing period of about 60 days, you’ll want to have your home ready to list approximately 3 months before your ideal moving date.
If you need help preparing you home, our team can help connect you with the right professionals to make sure your home is presented to the market with its best foot forward. Connect with our team today to list your current home for top dollar and help find your family’s next home for years to come.