PREPARE YOUR HOUSE FOR MARKET

Attract the highest offer for your home with these 8 tips.

 

If you have a move in your future you are probably wondering how to attract the highest offer for your home. Here are eight tips to get your house ready to go on the market:

Say goodbye to your home now

Many of the things we all care for in our homes are the personal touches – the wallpaper we chose with care when we first decorated, or the cabinet handles we found at a garage sale. But the thing about a personal style is that it is personal, and may not appeal to everyone. It's important to take the time to let go of the house as your home and look at it instead as a product to be sold. Concentrate on your plan for a new home, or picture yourself enjoying the money that you'll make from the sale. And then prepare yourself to make the home appeal to the broadest possible market. That may mean the wallpaper has to go.

Choose your experts

Word of mouth is a good way to find an agent -- ask friends and neighbours who they would recommend in your area. Feel free to ask agents about their track record in your particular neighbourhood -– sometimes a great agent in a slightly different market can end up as only a so-so one in yours. Once you've selected an agent, however, take their advice. It's not worth paying for their expertise if you're not willing to hear that you need to move the trailer around the back, or repair a cracked windowpane.

You may also want to choose a "design consultant" that's in your target market. For example, if you are selling a family home that you think will appeal to people with young children, ask people you know in that stage of life to take a brief tour of your home and tell you what appeals to them and what puts them off. If they hate the décor in the bathroom, listen to them.

 

Get out the handyman gear

Small repair issues can really make or break a deal, particularly when it comes to getting the most money from a seller possible. Some areas you may want to look at are:

• Replace cracked tiles
• Patch holes in walls
• Repair floors or replace vinyl or linoleum flooring
• Fix leaky faucets
• Remove stains and water deposits
• Fix doors that don't close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
• Consider painting your walls neutral colors
• Replace burned-out light bulbs
• Re-caulk tubs, showers and sinks

Your stuff -- and what to do with it

You will want to depersonalize your home. When people are looking at homes they are imagining space that will accommodate their family -- and seeing yours can be distracting. Pack up personal photographs and family heirlooms.

You'll also need to declutter. It's amazing how many things we all collect over the years, especially when we have a comfortable, homey space in which to do so. Be absolutely brutal in determining which things you need and which you don't -- you will be doing this when you move anyway, so it's one way to get a jump on the job. Donate or throw away things, or you can have a garage sale (just be sure you have a plan to deal with anything that doesn't sell, so it doesn't end up filling the actual garage!)

Once you've done that pass, then you'll probably still need to pack some things away. You may want to rent a storage unit, or ask family if you can use some space in their garage or basement. Put your family heirlooms and sports paraphernalia in that space. Pack up things like books and knickknacks to create more of a sense of space on shelves. Make sure all countertops are clear, even if that means packing up some of the good china in the cupboard so that you can store the toaster and the coffee pot in there for a change. Put essential items in a box or basket that can be stored in a closet.

 

Make the rooms bigger

It might be too late for that big renovation, but there is another way to make your rooms bigger: remove furniture and shelves. (If shelves are built in, be sure to do this in time to patch and paint.) If you can possibly accommodate the storage issues, take at least one piece of furniture out of every room, and as much gardening and seasonal equipment out of the garage and basement as well. This will automatically add a sense of space to your home.

What lies beneath

Remember that buyers will be opening closet and cupboard doors, looking the furnace room, and peering into nooks and crannies. Be sure the contents of your closets and cupboards are clean and organized, with hangers in one direction, plates neatly stacked, and so on. The impression left when something falls out of a closet onto a buyer is not the one you want to leave.

Cleanliness is next to… profit

Buyers will be more attracted to space that gleams and sparkles. Consider hiring a cleaning service to come before every open house if your energy is starting to wane – it's worth the expense. Of course you will also have to keep things tidy and clean in case of individual showings. A partial cleaning list includes:

• Wash windows on both sides – it's amazing what a difference this makes both to cleanliness and to light within the home
• Spray down sidewalks and the outside of your home with a pressure washer
• Clean out cobwebs weekly
• Polish chrome faucets and mirrors and make the sink shine – one tip for a gleaming sink is to rub it with a very small amount of baby oil after cleaning
• Clean out the refrigerator
• Vacuum daily
• Wax floors
• Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades, and light fixtures
• Bleach dingy grout
• Replace old rugs; steam clean carpets
• Hang up fresh towels
• If you have pets, be sure to clean out cages or litter boxes daily

Do not use air fresheners or sprays -- they almost scream "an odour is being hidden here." Instead air out the home and eliminate the source of any odours. But yes, on the day of the open house it is a good idea to bake bread, or heat up some cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pot of boiling water and let simmer for an hour or so before the open house begins.

 

Don't forget curb appeal

Buyers will often do a "drive-by" before making an appointment to see your home. If they don't like what they see, you'll never get them inside. Clear clutter. Make sure the lawn is well maintained and that the sidewalks are clear. Trim your bushes and maintain garden areas. Paint faded or peeling trim. Consider adding some window boxes or potted plants to up the lush, green feeling. Replace old mailboxes and other worn fixtures with new ones. Check outdoor light bulbs. And make sure your house numbers are clearly visible from the street.

With these improvements, your home will be ready to go -- and then it's on to happy house hunting!

SOURCE: Yahoo Canada

Jackie Dall'Orso

Jackie Dall'Orso

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Miller Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage*
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