An effective technique to help you sell your property quickly and for the best price is to put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer. Don’t just visualize this. Actually do it!
Drive to your property and imagine that you’re seeing it for the first time. What’s your impression? Is the landscaping attractive? Are the walkways clear? Is the front door welcoming?
Now walk up to the front door, open it, and step inside. Does the foyer seem neat and uncluttered? Is there anything unsightly from that vantage point?
Take a walk through your home, starting in rooms that a potential buyer would predictably view first: the kitchen, living room and bedrooms. Do you notice anything you could change or improve, that would make those areas more appealing?
Next, check out the washrooms, closets and basement. Are they clean and tidy?
Finally, think about the price you want for the home. As a buyer, would you be enticed to make an offer at that level? Are there any nagging doubts about the property that would hold you back?
Understanding the impression your home will make on potential buyers will help you sell it faster.
When you put your home on the market, it’s important that you make the indoor living space as attractive as possible to potential buyers. The foyer should look spacious and inviting. The bedrooms, neat and uncluttered. The basement, clean and well lit.
All good advice.
But don’t forget the outdoor living space. That too has a significant impact on how quickly your home sells and for how much. You want to make the area around your property, from the front walkway to the backyard deck, as attractive as possible.
How do you do that? Here are some tips for sprucing up your outdoor living space that can be easily implemented.
- Trim the hedges. Like a haircut, it gives your landscaping a clean, styled look.
- Place flower pots in strategic locations, such as next to the front steps and on the deck or patio.
- Fix anything that’s loose or squeaking, such as fence gates, shutters and deck railings.
- Remove anything unsightly, like garbage bags and piles of garden cuttings.
- Sweep all walkways, especially the one leading to your front door.
- Wash the outsides of your windows. (No need for ladders, buckets and scrub brushes. Most home improvement stores now sell window washing kits that hook up to your garden hose.)
- Check to make sure everything works: water taps, electrical outlets, exterior lights, etc.
You can probably get most of this work done in a single weekend. It’s worth it. Making your outdoor living space look great will dramatically increase your home’s appeal to potential buyers.
There’s a long list of ingredients needed to sell your home quickly. Obviously, you want to make your home as clean and uncluttered as possible. You should also make sure any outstanding repairs are done. And, of course, all the little things you can do to make your home “show” well are important, too.
But the number one ingredient needed to sell your home quickly is the right price tag. If you set the price of your home just right, buyers will come to see it, and there’s a good chance you’ll get some good offers. If you price your home too high, however, few buyers will take an interest in your property and it might languish on the market for months. Worse, it might not sell at all.
So how do you determine the right price at which to list your home?
One of the best ways is to do an analysis of what similar properties in your area have sold for recently. What people are actually paying for homes like yours — in communities like yours — is the best indicator of the true market value of your home.
When shopping for a new home, create a wish list of the features and characteristics you want. After all, there’s no sense looking at properties with kitchenettes when you won’t settle for anything less than a full-sized kitchen that Julia Child would envy.
But there are probably some features that are nice-to-haves but not must-haves. For example, you might like a large wrap-around deck in your backyard, but would settle for a home that doesn’t have one. (After all, you can always install one later.)
That’s why it’s a good idea to create two wish lists. One list would include all the features you absolutely would not do without in your new home, and the other would list all those things you’d like to have, but are not necessities.
With two lists, you’ll make better decisions. Your shopping will be easier because you won’t be wasting time viewing homes that don’t meet the criteria on your “must have” list. The second list will come in handy when you’re comparing properties and deciding which one to buy.
Two lists also help to ensure you get most, if not all, of what you really want in your new home. And that makes all the difference.
Lighting is, perhaps, the most important element in decorating. The right lamp, chandelier or ceiling fixture can instantly make a room more attractive and inviting. The wrong lighting, unfortunately, can have the opposite effect.
Here are five secrets to making the right choice:
- How much lighting is required in a room? To calculate, simply multiply the square footage by 1.5. Therefore, a 12′ x 16′ living room would require 288 watts of lighting (12 x 16 x 1.5 = 288).
- How big a chandelier do you need? Simply add the dimensions of the room together. So a 12′ x 16′ area could accommodate a chandelier that is 28 inches in diameter (12 + 16 = 28).
- How far apart should lighting fixtures be installed in a hallway? Experts say that ideally a light should be positioned every 8 to 10 feet.
- How do I create ambience? In the dining area for example, select a light fixture that can accommodate a dimmer switch. The ambiance of the room improves if you can soften the lighting during meals or when entertaining.
- Using floor lamps? The bottom of the lampshade should be around 42 inches from the floor.
You shop for a home. You find one you like. You make an offer — conditional on a satisfactory home inspection.
Okay so far.
Then the inspector discovers a problem with the home that may require an expensive repair or renovation. Perhaps the frame in the front door is cracked; or there’s a leak in the roof; or the furnace is due to be replaced.
What do you do?
You don’t want to pass up an opportunity to purchase what could be your dream home. On the other hand, you don’t want to have to deal with potentially costly repairs.
First, keep in mind that you did the right thing.
It’s always a good idea to get a home inspected by a professional before the offer is finalized. A qualified home inspector will go over the property with a fine tooth comb, top to bottom, inside and out, inspecting the structure, electrical systems, HVAC systems and more.
It’s their job to find any deficiencies in the home and alert you to them.
If a deficiency is found, your next best step is to discuss the issue with your REALTOR®, and go over your options. Those options may include amending the offer price to cover some or all of the costs of the repair, or requiring the seller to get the repair done before you move in.
Don’t worry. This is a normal part of the negotiation process. Chances are, an agreement can be reached that is satisfactory to both parties — and gets you the house you want!
And, because you had a home inspection done, you’ll know the true condition of your home when you buy it. That’s peace of mind.
If you’re considering selling your house, you might be tempted to sink some money into home improvements. After all, gleaming new hardwood floors or a stunning wrap-around deck will make your property sell a lot faster, and for more money. And you’ll more than recover your investment with the higher selling price. Right?
Maybe not. While those types of upgrades will certainly make your house more attractive to potential buyers – and may nudge the selling price up a little – you may not recoup all of your costs.
That’s why major home improvements should be done for your own personal enjoyment, not as a tactic for preparing your property for sale.
So what types of upgrades do make sense? The good news is that the home improvement projects that are most likely to help sell your house are also the cheapest to implement. If you’re planning on selling your house, consider doing the following:
- Make repairs
- Remove stains
- Trim hedges
- Plant flowers
- Improve lighting
Sniff, sniff. “What is that smell?”
That is definitely not the reaction you want a potential buyer to have when they view your house.
The problem with common household scents – from family pets, preferred cooking styles, smoking, or even hobbies such as model-making – is that we get accustomed to them. However, someone who enters the house for the first time will notice these aromas right away.
So, before a viewing appointment or open house, be sure household scents are under control. A good airing usually does the trick.
Selling a house can be a stressful process for the entire family. You need to keep the place clean and looking its best. You need to stay away during viewings. You may even need to look for a new home at the same time.
Although you won’t be able to eliminate all the anxiety, good advanced planning will certainly help reduce it.
First, talk to a REALTOR® well before you decide to put the property on the market. A good REALTOR® can help you determine whether any repairs, improvements, or minor touch-ups should be done, so that your home will sell faster and for the best price possible.
Once the property is on the market, plan some excursions with the family during open houses and other viewing times. These are the perfect opportunities to check out local restaurants, museums, parks and other amenities.
To keep your home clean and tidy for potential buyers, consider hiring a maid service on a short-term basis. You’ll have a lot on your plate during this period and having the floors and washrooms cleaned by someone else can relieve a lot of stress.
When it comes to “staging” your home for sale – which basically means ensuring it looks clean and uncluttered – you probably already know the basics: clean the counters, vacuum the floors, mow the lawn, etc.
But there are some home staging tips that are less obvious, yet can help to sell your property faster and for a higher price. For example…
Obvious: The stove, sinks and countertops should be spotless.
Not-so-obvious: The contents of your cabinets and refrigerator should be facing face forward.
Obvious: They should be clean and uncluttered. Have fresh towels hanging neatly on the rack. (The “hotel bathroom” look.)
Not-so-obvious: All towels should match. Ensure toilet lids are closed.
Obvious: Make the bed neatly. Check that the closet is organized and uncluttered. (If your closet is bulging with clothes, put some in storage.)
Not-so-obvious: Don’t leave any clothes out. Even clean clothes neatly folded in a hamper can seem untidy to some people.
The Kids’ Bedrooms
Obvious: They need to be clean and, especially, uncluttered. (Good luck!)
Not-so-obvious: Arrange stuffed animals, games and other toys like an attractive display in a toy store. It’s okay to have a toy, like a race track, out of the box. Just make sure it’s completely put together. (No pieces lying around.)
Obvious: Make sure the floor is clean and that things are put away.
Not-so-obvious: If possible, get everything (except the car!) off the floor and onto shelves and hanging hooks. This will make a dramatic difference in how roomy the garage will look.
These not-so-obvious staging tips may seem minor, but they add up to a home that is much more attractive to potential buyers.