An effective technique to help you sell your property quickly and for the best price is to put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer. Don’t just visualize this. Actually do it!
Drive to your property and imagine that you’re seeing it for the first time. What’s your impression? Is the landscaping attractive? Are the walkways clear? Is the front door welcoming?
Now walk up to the front door, open it, and step inside. Does the foyer seem neat and uncluttered? Is there anything unsightly from that vantage point?
Take a walk through your home, starting in rooms that a potential buyer would predictably view first: the kitchen, living room and bedrooms. Do you notice anything you could change or improve, that would make those areas more appealing?
Next, check out the washrooms, closets and basement. Are they clean and tidy?
Finally, think about the price you want for the home. As a buyer, would you be enticed to make an offer at that level? Are there any nagging doubts about the property that would hold you back?
Understanding the impression your home will make on potential buyers will help you sell it faster. Looking for a good REALTOR®?
When you put your home on the market, it’s important that you make the indoor living space as attractive as possible to potential buyers. The foyer should look spacious and inviting. The bedrooms, neat and uncluttered. The basement, clean and well lit.
All good advice.
But don’t forget the outdoor living space. That too has a significant impact on how quickly your home sells and for how much. You want to make the area around your property, from the front walkway to the backyard deck, as attractive as possible.
How do you do that? Here are some tips for sprucing up your outdoor living space that can be easily implemented.
- Trim the hedges. Like a haircut, it gives your landscaping a clean, styled look.
- Place flower pots in strategic locations, such as next to the front steps and on the deck or patio.
- Fix anything that’s loose or squeaking, such as fence gates, shutters and deck railings.
- Remove anything unsightly, like garbage bags and piles of garden cuttings.
- Sweep all walkways, especially the one leading to your front door.
- Wash the outsides of your windows. (No need for ladders, buckets and scrub brushes. Most home improvement stores now sell window washing kits that hook up to your garden hose.)
- Check to make sure everything works: water taps, electrical outlets, exterior lights, etc.
You can probably get most of this work done in a single weekend. It’s worth it. Making your outdoor living space look great will dramatically increase your home’s appeal to potential buyers.
Let’s face it. When you visit a home during a scheduled viewing or open house, you’re usually seeing it at its best. The rooms are tidy. The sinks are clean. The closets are organized and uncluttered. Even the lighting is set to its brightest.
That’s just good old-fashioned marketing.
However, not every house you see will actually look this way. For any number of reasons, a house on the market may be less than tidy, poorly decorated, and even in need of minor repairs. You may open the front door in anticipation, only to be immediately turned off by stains on the carpets, faded paint on the walls, cluttered hallways, and more.
First impressions form quickly. It’s easy to make quick judgments and move on. But, you may be passing on what could be a dream home.
Don’t make that mistake. Make your purchase decision based on a carefully considered second impression, not just your first.
When viewing a house, imagine how it will look with a fresh coat of paint, some redecorating, the minor repairs completed, and your furniture adorning the rooms. You might just find that a home that doesn’t show well is really a diamond in the rough.
(One caveat: Be careful of houses that don’t look like they’ve been well maintained. There could be issues lurking that require expensive repairs or renovations. Always make a professional home inspection a condition of your offer.)
There are advantages to buying a home that doesn’t show well. They attract less interest and, therefore, less competition from other potential buyers. The listing price may be lower too.
Remember the last time you were in a furniture store or other major home retailer? Remember the fully decorated displays of furniture, appliances and other products? Some of those may have even been organized as model rooms.
What did most of those displays have in common?
Chances are, they were well lit.
In fact, in the retail industry, there are professionals who specialize exclusively in display lighting. It plays such an important role in showcasing and selling home products successfully that the stores are willing to absorb the expense.
And the same holds true for your house.
If you want to show your house well, and sell it quickly and for the best price, make sure every room is well lit.
There are probably some rooms in your house where the lighting is adequate, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, and perhaps the foyer. But there are other areas where the lighting may be mediocre. Take a close look at:
- Storage areas
- Laundry rooms
- The garage
If there are areas in your house that are dark or shadowy, the solution may be as simple as installing higher wattage bulbs, provided your fixture can accommodate them. Keep in mind that brightness can vary significantly from one type of bulb to another. For example, a 40-watt energy efficient bulb may not give off as much light as a comparable standard bulb. So do some experimenting. Your goal is to make the room feel bright yet comfortable on the eyes.
Also, don’t forget to open drapes and blinds. Often the best and most pleasant source of light for a room is the sun shining through a window.
It’s great when you have lots of time to prepare for something important. But life doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes you have to move quickly, and do the best you can with the time you have.
Say, for example, you had to get your house ready for sale, and you only had a week to do so. What could you do in those few days to make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers? Here are some ideas:
- Clean the house from top to bottom. Make it look “guest ready”.
- Get rid of as much clutter as possible. If necessary, put some things in storage. Try to make every room look organized and spacious.
- Get all minor repairs done.
- Paint. It’s the fastest and cheapest way to dramatically improve the look of any room.
- Don’t forget the outdoors. Prune the hedges, sweep the walkways, and deal with any potential eyesores — such as a rusted old bike stowed in the side yard.
- Place some fresh flowers in the dining room and outside next to the front door.
- Depersonalize your house as much as possible. For example, stow away family pictures. You want buyers to imagine themselves living there, not you.
This is just a partial list of ideas. A good REALTOR® can help you with more tips on preparing your house so that it sells quickly and for the right price.
If you're considering selling your house, you might be tempted to sink some money into home improvements. After all, gleaming new hardwood floors or a stunning wrap-around deck will make your property sell a lot faster, and for more money. And you'll more than recover your investment with the higher selling price. Right?
Maybe not. While those types of upgrades will certainly make your house more attractive to potential buyers - and may nudge the selling price up a little – you may not recoup all of your costs.
That's why major home improvements should be done for your own personal enjoyment, not as a tactic for preparing your property for sale.
So what types of upgrades do make sense? The good news is that the home improvement projects that are most likely to help sell your house are also the cheapest to implement. If you're planning on selling your house, consider doing the following:
- Make repairs
- Remove stains
- Trim hedges
- Plant flowers
- Improve lighting
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When preparing a property for sale, homeowners often focus on the things that will impress buyers, such as clean and uncluttered spaces, well lit rooms, staged furniture designed to maximize appeal, and so forth.
But it’s equally important to pay attention to those things you don’t want buyers to see... those little turn-offs that, although seemingly minor, can distract buyers and cause them to lose interest in your property.
For example, you don’t want buyers to see these things:
Pets. Although many people love pets, some don’t. Others are allergic to them. Dogs, in particular, can take a keen interest in new visitors, jumping and barking excitedly. It’s best to take pets for a walk during viewings.
Unfinished repairs. Dripping taps. Gouges and marks on walls. Broken tiles. Squeaking gates. Home buyers will notice, and may mistakenly think there are other deficiencies lurking in your home. Do as many repairs as you can. Then be upfront about those that are in progress.
Clutter. It’s common for main rooms, like livingrooms and kitchens, to be clean and uncluttered during a viewing. But buyers who become interested in your property will take a closer look, and check out the garage, cupboards, backyard shed and other places where things tend to accumulate. The more you de-clutter, the better your property will show.
Smells. Obviously not something a buyer will see, but he or she will definitely notice lingering odours associated with pets, garbage, exotic cooking, and smoking. Scents have a strong influence on emotions. That’s why perfume companies do so well! So make sure your home is as scent-free as possible.
You. Nothing personal. When buyers view your home, they want to visualize themselves living there, not you. So let your REALTOR® be the host. Remove as many personal items, such as family pictures and trophies, as possible.
That is definitely not the reaction you want a potential buyer to have when they view your house.
The problem with common household scents – from family pets, preferred cooking styles, smoking, or even hobbies such as model-making – is that we get accustomed to them. However, someone who enters the house for the first time will notice these aromas right away.
So, before a viewing appointment or open house, be sure household scents are under control. A good airing usually does the trick.
Putting your home on the market may be the last thing you have on your mind.
But as you know, life happens. Things change. You might unexpectedly find yourself in the position of wanting or having to quickly sell your home.
It happens more often than you might think. In fact, according to studies into why people sell their homes, more than a third are due to relatively quick and unexpected changes. Something happens – a job relocation, a lifestyle change – and the homeowner finds him or herself making a move.
In these situations, the biggest source of stress is caused by the need to prepare the current home for sale.
If you’ve lived in your house for a few years, or even just a few months, you know how quickly things can pile up. The garage and basement get filled with stored items. Things needing minor repairs get put on hold.
That’s why it’s a good idea, every so often, to inspect your property and ask yourself, “If I had to put my home on the market this month, what would I need to do?” Then plan to get those things done. That way, if you suddenly find yourself wanting to sell your home quickly and for the best price, you’ll be ready.