When preparing to sell, homeowners often focus on their home’s imperfections and wonder if potential buyers will, too. It’s true that in order to get top dollar for your home, it has to be presented in the best possible light. It’s important to find a balance, however, between the work you do to your home in advance of listing and the potential payoff. Your REALTOR® can help you determine which renovations and repairs will have a positive impact on sale price. Regardless of whether you decide to undertake more major projects prior to selling, there are certain items that in my experience go a long way in helping a home sell in a timely manner and for the best price possible.
First impressions: Curb appeal is important. Your home should present as warm, welcoming, and well cared for. Make sure hedges are trimmed, lawns mowed, walkways shoveled, gardens weeded, toys and bikes stored out of sight, and garbage bins stowed. Check your front door. Could it use a fresh coat of paint? Could your deck and walkways use a pressure washing? Adding a planter on the front porch is a nice touch.
Minor repairs: Fix anything that your eye is drawn to: chipped paint, burned-out light bulbs, loose door knobs, cracked glass, leaky faucets, etc. Depending on the number of repairs required, it may be well worth hiring a handyperson to help you.
Cosmetic changes: Although large-scale renovations may not make sense, often small changes can achieve a great deal in modernizing/freshening up a home; for instance, painting can have a huge impact as can replacing light fixtures and cabinet hardware.
Clear clutter: Potential buyers should be able to focus on the features of your home and not get bogged down in personal items and clutter. Clear off kitchen and bathroom counters (remember to put away your tooth brush and other toiletries!); remove any papers from the front of the fridge; organize cupboards, drawers, and closets so they appear spacious; organize toys and recycle papers. Clearing clutter cannot be overstated. You may even want to consider renting a storage unit while your home is on the market.
Deep clean: Vacuum, dust, wipe down woodwork and cupboards; clean the windows, carpets, floors, and light fixtures; and even be on the lookout for spiders’ webs! In the kitchen, make sure the sink, counters, fridge, oven, and stove are clean and be sure to wipe out and organize the cupboards and drawers. The bathroom should be sparkling, including the grout in the shower. It may take some elbow grease, but the effort will be well worth it. Hopefully the cleaning takes care of any odours. If any linger, air out your home and consider using some scented candles. Be careful not to use strong scents and deodorizers that may be overpowering.
Staging: Once your home is clutter-free and thoroughly cleaned, step back and look at each room with the eye of a potential buyer. Remove any items that are overly personal – for instance, too many photos or knickknacks. As the icing on the cake, perhaps add a new mat at the front door, a few toss cushions in the living room, a fresh shower curtain and pristine white towels in the bathroom, and a vase of flowers on the kitchen table.
This work may seem overwhelming, but in my 20+ years of experience as a real-estate agent, I have seen that homeowners who invest the time upfront find that their homes sell more quickly and for a higher price, saving time and energy in the long run!
By: Mary Ann Ketchum