Are you thinking about selling your house? While we are all at home social distancing due to COVID-19, it’s the perfect time to start on your pre-selling checklist. We expect the market to be flooded with sales come summertime, so while you’re at home now, why not prepare your house or condo so you’re ready to jump when the opportunity arises. And it will, soon.
1. Find the right real estate agent
Since there is plenty of time available why not do your research. Look up local realtors and read their reviews. Check out their websites and social media presence. Ask your friends and family for recommendations.
Don’t just blindly hire the real estate agent who most recently sent you a flyer or the one your uncle’s friend’s co-worker’s cousin used. Do some research to find a real estate agent who is knowledgeable about your specific market, and then interview them to make sure they’re a good fit.
Your real estate agent should be someone you feel comfortable working with, whom you trust to sell your house for top dollar. Don’t be afraid to talk to a few real estate agents before picking one. You can read more about our work and areas of expertise here.
2. Consider your curb appeal
Yes, for better or worse, buyers do tend to judge a book by its cover. You want to make sure potential buyers’ first impression of your home is a good one—and inspires them to schedule a tour—so they can see more.
By investing some effort in relatively easy fixes, like planting colourful flowers and repainting your front door, the outside of your house can beckon prospective buyers to come on in.
Even if you live in a condo, curb appeal is real. Decorate your balcony, however small it is to showcase your views and the luxury it is to have outdoor space. Also, ensure the photographer snaps some shots of the common areas of your building and the amenities offered – this is an extension of your backyard so show it off.
If you’re not sure how to improve your home’s curb appeal, ask your real estate agent for advice on how others in your area or building have improved the exterior before selling their houses.
3. Declutter living areas
Less is definitely more when it comes to getting your house ready to show.
Do a clean sweep of counters, windowsills, tables, and all other visible areas, and then tackle behind closed doors: closets, drawers, and cupboards—since virtually nothing is off-limits for curious buyers.
If the house is overflowing with stuff, buyers might worry that the house won’t have ample space for their own belongings.
Take your excess stuff and donate it or pack it up to be stored off-site. Not only will clearing clutter help your house look more appealing to buyers, it will also help you once you’ve accepted an offer and it’s time to move into a new home. Moving out will be easier if some of your stuff is already be packed.
4. Depersonalize your space
The next step on your declutter list? Sellers should remove any distractions so the buyers can visualize themselves and their family living in the property.
Sellers should remove personal items and family photos, as well as bold artwork and furniture that might make the home less appealing to the general public. The goal is to create a blank canvas on which buyers can project their own visions of living there and loving it.
5. Repaint walls to neutral tones
You might love that orange accent wall, but if it’s your potential buyer’s least favourite colour, that could be a turnoff.
You’re pretty safe with a neutral colour because it’s rare that someone hates it, but the other benefit is that a light colour allows buyers to envision what the walls would look like with the colour of their choice.
It’s the seller’s job to help buyers picture themselves in your house or condo. If they don’t feel at home, they’ll probably look at other real estate options.
6. Touch up any scuff marks
Even if you’re not doing a full-on repainting project, pay special attention to scrubbing and then touching up baseboards, walls, and doors to make the house sparkle and look cared-for.
Selling your house with lots of little problems and small repair needs can be downright difficult. When buyers go on a home tour, they want to fall in love with your condo or house, not add a bunch of small repairs to their to-do list.
In order to impress buyers (and sell your house quickly), fix up your house before putting it on the market.
7. Fix any loose handles
It’s a small thing, sure, but you’d be surprised by the negative effect a loose handle or missing lightbulb can have on a buyer.
It can make them stop and think ‘What else is broken here?’
For a buyer, submitting an offer, and later committing to a mortgage, is a big deal. When you’re selling your house, you don’t want to give any buyers doubt that your house will make a great home.
8. Add some plants
When staging your house, remember that green is good: Plants create a bright and more welcoming environment. You might also want to consider a bouquet of flowers or bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter or dining table.
Some plants and natural elements will impress buyers by bringing some extra colour and life to your decor.
9. Conduct a smell test
Foul odours, even slight ones, can be a deal breaker, and the problem is that you might not even notice them.
We recommend inviting an unbiased third party in to try to detect any pet smells or lingering odours from your kitchen.
If the smells are pervasive, prepare to do some deep cleaning as many buyers are on to seller’s “masking techniques” such as candles or plug-in room deodorizers. Plus, covering up odours with a stronger scent might backfire if the buyer doesn’t like the smell of lavender or artificial citrus.
10. Clean, clean, clean
Once you’re done cleaning your house, clean some more. Even if you’re not worried about what buyers will think of your home’s scent, you want your property to look spotless.
Think of it this way: You’ll have professional photos taken of your house or condo when it looks its best. Naturally, you’ll want your house to always look like it does in those pictures.
When selling your house, it’s important to keep everything tidy for buyers, and you never know when a buyer is going to want to schedule a last-minute tour. Remember to take special care with the bathroom, making sure the tile, counters, shower, and floors shine.
11. Hide valuables
From art to jewelry, keep your treasures are out of sight, either locked up or stored off-site.
Even through you want to trust everyone that comes into your house and you and your realtor are doing all of the right things, why take the chance? Take care to hide your valuables or move them to a safe space away from your home.
12. Consider staging
Does your house scream 1985? Nothing invigorates a house like some new furnishings or a perfectly chosen mirror. The key is getting your home staged by a professional.
Home stagers will evaluate the current condition and belongings in your house and determine what elements might raise the bar. They might recommend you buy or rent some items, or they might just reorganize your knickknacks and bookshelves in a whole new (that is, better) way.
Stagers know the real estate market, and what sells, so it’s important to take their advice and not take offence when they make big changes. Their job is to help drum up interest from potential buyers, which is always good news to the seller.
Selling your house or condo should be something that you spend a lot of time preparing for, and we’ve helped many clients do so. If you’d like us to give you more information on how we can help, simply fill out our form below. We’ll be in touch right away.