With the Canadian real estate market recently entering a thawing stage, and the onslaught of the beautiful weather, why not spend a few weekends sprucing up your home and property before listing? Not everyone can afford sometimes-expensive home staging services, but a few coats of paint, finally fixing those squeaky doors and wobbly railings, or hanging some fresh drapes could mean the difference in selling at, or above, asking price.
Traditionally, the springtime is when most people put their homes on the market. School lets out for the summer, the weather is nicer, and busy professionals start to take more vacation days, making it a more convenient time to pack up the family and move to a new home. Not to mention that an annual “spring cleaning” is always a great idea, even if you’re not planning on moving.
Here are some helpful hints to help you turn your home into “THE” home for potential buyers:
A helpful hint from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, if costs allow, hire a professional home inspector to go through your house from top to bottom. They’ll catch any problems that might affect selling price, allowing potential sellers to fix them before listing the house. The CMHC also offers a Homeowner’s Inspection Checklist to help potential sellers find and fix any red flags.
According to a Chatelaine article written by Liza Finley, it’s important to see your home not as your family’s dwelling, but as a commodity or “product.” Put yourself in the shoes of an outsider and look at your house in an impartial, detached way. If that means temporarily storing the collection of cat figurines or your miniature spoons display, then bring on the Rubbermaid. Take advice from Finley and rent a storage locker, keeping the “less is more” philosophy in mind. By removing unnecessary decor or clutter, potential buyers picture their own belongings in the house, therefore increasing their chances of making an offer.
Note: Don’t forget the basement!
The same advice qualifies for the exterior of your home. Make sure your property has “curb appeal” by trimming shrubs/bushes/trees/plants, putting toys and gardening supplies away, and tucking your garbage and recycling bins out of the way. Notice the fence or doorway is looking a bit lacklustre? A fresh coat of touch-up paint can go a long way in making sure your house looks great to both passersby and potential buyers.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to take down family photos when showing your house. Having the pictures grouped together in a living room or bedroom, says Finley, will, in fact, make the house feel welcoming. Finley also debunks the myths that fresh cookies should be baking, and brightly-coloured walls ought to be painted over in favour of neutrality. Opt for fresh scents - like flowers, ideally - and, she writes, make sure paint colours match furnishings appropriately. Colours are great, but people may find uncomplimentary colours and patterns off-putting. Keep it modern and fresh, but still keep it “yours,” and don’t break the bank to do so. Have a stylish friend? Enlist their help!
Clean, clean, clean. Viewers will notice fingerprints, dust bunnies hiding in corners, or bits of leaves and grass by the doorway. Never underestimate the value of the “white glove test.”
These simple tricks and tips can go a long way in helping you sell your home faster, and get top dollar!
Spring is Here
- May 29, 2009
Broker of Record
CENTURY 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc., Brokerage*