Step 6: 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.
Time to see your home through a buyer’s eyes
Over the years, you’ve grown quite comfortable with your home’s little imperfections; the hole in the screen door, the chipped paint on the baseboards, the mess in the basement. Grab a clipboard, print out a copy of our Home Preparations Checklist and take a tour of your home.
Get rid of the clutter
Your house will feel a lot bigger and more inviting when you get rid of all the non-essential stuff lying around your house. Clear out those closets, remove bulky, unused furniture and rearrange the remaining pieces to make the best use of space. Fight your inner-pack rat at every turn. If you haven’t used something in the past year, toss it, donate it to charity or sell it in a yard sale.
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 two most important rooms in a buyer’s mind: bathrooms and kitchens. Once it’s clean, keep it clean! You never know what time or what day your ideal buyer will visit.
Repair as much as you can, within reason
During your “home tour” identify anything that’s broken, half-finished or simply doesn’t work. Fix all the little things like leaky faucets, doors that squeak or don’t close properly, and small cracks in the ceiling.
Some repairs are absolutely vital, like a leaky roof or basement. Nothing kills a sale faster than signs of water damage. If there’s an unsafe electrical problem you must fix this too, for the good of the sale and the buyer’s safety (not to mention your own).
Depersonalize your home
Remember, you want buyers to walk through your house and feel like it’s their home, not yours! People just don’t have good visual imagination. They won’t see past your cluttered wall of family portraits, your collection of curling trophies or your ‘eccentric’ home decor. These things are guaranteed to prevent buyers from emotionally placing themselves in your home. Remove everything that’s too much about you, and ask your REALTOR® for help deciding.
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, and attract offers.
Add some beautifying touches
Replacing tattered old curtains with some fresh draperies may make a world of difference. Mirrors on the wall will help rooms feel far bigger. A few new houseplants will add undeniable appeal. Pay special attention to the outside of your home. Trim the trees, weed the garden and consider planting a few new flowers. Your home needs to make a great first impression with some serious “curb appeal”. You don’t need to spend a fortune to make a big difference.
Weighing the cost of improvements vs. the potential return
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?
Painting, minor repairs and modest landscaping work are prime examples of improvements that really pay. There are many home improvement shows that focus on people improving their homes for sale. Watch them and learn Your REALTOR® can also offer useful tips and advice when it comes to prepping homes.
Your hidden problems
As discussed in Step 3, you must disclose any major problems that won’t be obvious to potential buyers. A basement that floods every spring, a shower that backs up when someone flushes the toilet, unsafe wiring... let your REALTOR® know everything and discuss your options. Denying problems now will lead to a much bigger problem later, often in the form of a lawsuit. People love honesty and many buyers are happy to fix a problem if your home’s price is adjusted fairly.