Your home has always been a sanctuary, your personal space. But when that ‘For Sale’ sign goes up on your front lawn, you need to be prepared to bare all. Eager real estate agents will be waiting in line too go through your front door, and strangers will comb through every nook and cranny during open houses. All of this will happen while you are trying to continue with your life as normally as possible. Prepare for your new, hectic life living in a listed home with these tips:
Start packing now: as of this moment you probably have fewer than 120 days left in your house. Keep in mind that over the next few months, you’re not going to need many of the big items you currently have in your home that are taking up space in many of your rooms or closets. So if it’s getting close to winter, pack up your summer clothes for the next few months. The secret to getting a clutter-free house is to remove the things you can live without while your home is on the market.
Store it, sell it, chuck it, or donate it: while you’re packing, work on decluttering and throwing away or donating things you no longer need. It won’t just give you a head start on moving—buyers will appreciate extra space when searching for homes. As obvious as it seems, a buyer will naturally be drawn to and pay more for a home that feels as if it has extra space than for one loaded to the ceiling with stuff.
Get squeaky clean: lacking motivation to clean every cobweb off the ceiling fan or scrub the floor? A clean house can gain you $5,000 to $10,000 on your home sale. Aim for five-star-hotel perfection when cleaning sinks, glass mirrors, windows and toilets.
Maintain your privacy and safety: people will look through drawers, closets and medicine cabinets at open houses or showings. Make sure your listing agent insists that other agents accompany their prospective buyers during open houses. Don’t keep anything in the house you don’t want anyone else to see, and protect your valuables:
- Store mail, personal documents and valuables in safes
- Lock up or remove all prescription medicine bottles
- Enable passwords on your in-home computers and laptops
- Double-check bedside tables and other areas where you commonly place anything of monetary or sentimental value
- When in doubt, lock it up
Send your pets on holiday: when putting a house up fore sale and taking pictures for the online listing, prearrange with friends and family to take your pets for the day. Come opening day, when your home hits the market and open houses and showings begin, plan on boarding your pets elsewhere. And don’t forget to stash away the pet dishes, toys and beds too.
Prep like a pro: your real estate agent will probably show up to open houses around the same time as potential buyers. Prep your home yourself by turning on all of the lights, playing some light music, opening doors or windows if the weather permits and lighting the fireplace if it’s cold outside. And don’t forget to make sure the temperature is comfortable for all visitors—you don’t want anything to turn off potential buyers.
Involve your kids in the process: make the prep process a game and a challenge for your kids; make it a contest of who can clean up their toys and belongings fastest. You might be surprised at how cooperative the kids are during this process.
Get it ready and get out: once you have gone through your open-house checklist, head out! You want potential buyers to feel that this is their beautiful house. Every real estate agent will tell you thing a seller can do is hover around prospective buyers and their agents. The agents especially need the ability to speak openly and candidly to both your agent and the buyers.
You can do it: if you truly dress up your house for sale, it’ll sell faster, and you’ll be moving sooner. And since your things are already packed, well organized and edited down to the essentials, moving will be a breeze. You may even decide you like living a more minimalist lifestyle and be inspired to keep things organized at your new place.
CENTURY 21 Miller Real Estate Ltd.
Brokerage Independently Owned and Operated
#4 Office in Canada
By Production CENTURY 21 Canada 2013
467 Speers Road, Oakville, ON L6K 3S4