Chances are, if you've lived in your home for more than a few years, you can likely turn a tidy profit. That's great news. But sealing the deal requires more than just a handshake. You'll have to consider if now's a good time to sell? What's the best way to get the word out? How do you get top dollar for your property? These are just some of the questions that a REALTOR® can help answer.
Prepare your home for sale
Break out the mop and the paintbrush. It's time to give your home a mini-makeover. Here are all the little things you can do to attract the big offers.
You've lived in your home for a while now; use your REALTOR®'s fresh set of eyes to your advantage
Now's the time to address your home's little imperfections: the hole in the screen door, the chipped paint on the baseboards, and the mess in the basement. Print out a copy of our Is Your Home Ready? A Checklist and take a thorough tour of your home.
Get rid of clutter
Your house will feel a lot bigger and more inviting when you clear out those closets, remove bulky, unused furniture and rearrange the remaining pieces to make the best use of space. If you haven't used something in the past year, toss it, donate it to charity or sell it.
Cleaning is the single most cost effective way to make your home more attractive to buyers. Floors, windows, walls, doors, baseboards - everything! Give extra care and attention to the bathrooms and kitchen. And once it's all clean, keep it clean! You never know when your ideal buyer will visit.
Repair as much as you can, within reason
Some repairs are absolutely vital, like a leaky roof or basement and unsafe electrical problems. Otherwise, fix all the little things like leaky faucets, doors that squeak, and small cracks in the ceiling.
Depersonalize your home
You want buyers to walk through your house and feel like it's their home, not yours! Things like a cluttered wall of family portraits or your trophy collection are guaranteed to prevent buyers from emotionally placing themselves in your home. Remove everything that's too much about you.
Never underestimate the power of paint
Strong colours on the walls or wild wallpaper make it hard for buyers to imagine their furniture in your house. Consider repainting your home in bright, neutral colours that will enhance a room's size and look more inviting. Next to cleaning your home, paint is the most cost-effective way to increase your home's appeal.
Add some beautifying touches
You don't need to spend a fortune to make a big difference. Replace tattered old curtains with some fresh draperies. Mirrors on the wall help rooms feel more spacious. New houseplants add undeniable appeal. And on the outside of your home trim the trees, weed the garden and consider planting a few new flowers to make a great first impression.
Don't get so carried away with prepping your home that you forget why you're doing this - to get more money! You need to consider two things before making any improvements.
- Will this make my home more desirable to buyers?
- Will this increase the value of my home more than it costs me to do it?
Your REALTOR® may also be able to offer useful tips and advice when it comes to prepping homes so you can get the most out yours when it comes time to sell.
Let your REALTOR® market your home
It's time for your REALTOR® to do their thing with a few old-fashioned, and some new-fashioned, marketing tools.
The "For Sale" Sign
Despite our leaps in technology, the "For Sale" sign continues to be an extremely effective way to advertise. Anybody responding to your sign is a solid lead because they've seen your home with their own eyes.
Your REALTOR® may choose any or all of the following: classified ads in the newspaper (often with a photo), ads in real estate publications, property listings on cable television and good old-fashioned mail. Neighbourhood mailers can be incredibly effective.
The power of the Internet
If you decide to have your home listed on a real estate Board's MLS® System, you can also have your home advertised on www.REALTOR.ca, Canada's most popular Internet research tool for residential real estate, and a big reason why over 85% of Canadians who search for a home start their search on the Internet.
REALTORS® really know how to network
Your REALTOR® is part of an extensive community of REALTORS® who collectively represent hundreds of eager buyers. REALTORS® can call other REALTORS®, who can call other REALTORS®, who can call other REALTORS®.
Ultimately, your home itself becomes a selling tool
Start with an open house for REALTORS®
A REALTOR® Open House is an efficient way to attract REALTORS® to see your home with their own eyes. If your home is perfect for one of their buyers, you can be sure they'll rush right out and tell them! Your REALTOR® can organize everything and get the buzz started.
Next, an "Open House" for everybody
Many buyers want to get a feel for your neighbourhood before they start working with a REALTOR®. That's why Open Houses to the public are so important. They usually last a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday, and there are a few simple but important rules to follow.
Make sure your home looks its finest
Your best buyer may just walk in off the street!
Lock away valuables
Most folks are decent, courteous and honest, but it's wise to stash away jewelry, cameras and other small valuables. You can ask your REALTOR® to request a name and phone number from every visitor for added security.
Attend to any hazards
Is there an electrical cord somebody could trip on? Is there a chair that will collapse if somebody actually sits in it? Fix it, or lose it.
Avoid cooking foods with strong aroma
Almost nobody's dream home smells like smoked herring!
The best way you can help: Don't be there
You want people to feel relaxed and daydream that your home is their home. This just isn't possible with you there. Go see a movie, or take your pets on a field trip.
A "lock box" makes it easier to show your home
A "lock box" is a small, secure box that's affixed to your front doorknob. It's a mini safe with a key to your house inside. REALTORS® are given a combination to the lock box, so they can show your home to interested buyers.
Be patient with visits. Hopefully they will lead to a great offer, soon.