So you’re ready to sell. Whether you’re moving up or moving on, here are some basic tips from REALTORS® who know what it takes to make a property appeal to prospective buys and sell it fast at a price you’ll be happy with:
Put away family photos, trophies, and cute little name plates by the front door. When prospective buyers see things like that, they have trouble picturing themselves living there.
Buyers want to see space, not jammed closets and crammed countertops. Clutter makes them think there won’t be enough room for their stuff.
• Put away knick-knacks and photos. Leave tabletops, dressers and kitchen counters clear.
• Store extra clothes to make closets look spacious.
• Get rid of the junk in the garage and the attic so buyers can really see the storage space. Get rid of what you don’t want, and put the rest in storage.
• If you want to keep your grandmother’s heirloom chandelier or your expensive window coverings, replace them with something you don’t mind leaving behind. If buyers don’t see it, they won’t ask for it.
Show your house at its best with sparkling windows, spotless carpets and shining bathrooms. In bathrooms, re-caulk tubs, bleach dingy grout, polish faucets, and clean mirrors and glass. Clean the kitchen from floor to ceiling, including walls, cabinets (inside and out), stovetop, backsplash, range hood and appliances. Keep things show-ready by hiring a service to come in a few times a week until the house is sold, or give every family member specific duties so you can get the house in shape fast for showings.
Odors are an instant turnoff; they make buyers think the house isn’t clean. Open up the windows, clean the carpets, use air fresheners, change cat boxes every day, use a dehumidifier in the basement, and stop smoking inside.
Make your space look bright, spacious and modern with a few simple touches:
• Make up the guest room with fluffy pillows and a pretty comforter.
• Hang your nicest towels in the bathrooms.
• Paint the main rooms in a fresh, neutral colour.
• Put new hardware on outdated kitchen cabinets.
• Wash your curtains or hang new ones.
• Arrange your furniture to maximize space, then store whatever doesn’t fit.
Make sure taps are easy to turn and don’t leak, check for leaks or dampness in the basement, ensure windows and doors open and close easily, fix broken appliances and replace burned-out light bulbs. If you don’t fix the small stuff, buyers will assume it’s a sign that you haven’t taken care of your home, and the big stuff isn’t in good shape either.
Cross the street and take a good look. How does your house look when you compare it to your neighbors? What needs to be done to give it that “wow” factor?
• Nice landscaping can really sell a house. Trim the bushes, and keep your lawn green, evenly cut and freshly edged.
• Refresh the front door. Clean it, polish the hardware, and give it a coat of glossy paint.
• Rent a power washer and clean the exterior. Replace damaged shingles, loose siding and old caulking.
• Paint the house if you need to – a few hundred dollars worth of paint could add thousands to your selling price.
• If you have a pool, keep it clean and well-maintained.
• Got kids? Put away outdoor toys, and if you have a play structure, take it down so your yard looks roomier.
If you set your price too high, then drop it, your house will be “old news” and will end up being much harder to sell, even at the lower price. Talk to your REALTOR® about a realistic asking price that will help your place sell quickly – and help you maximize your investment.
Buyers like houses that are clean, well taken care of and up-to-date. Don’t break the bank on big fixes, but remember that small improvements can make a big difference. You may have some work ahead of you, but every bit of “elbow grease” you put into your place will pay for itself.
Need more help making your house sale-ready? Your REALTOR® knows what buyers want and can help you figure out exactly what needs to be done.
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