Even an exceptional home can be ignored by home buyers if it’s not in pristine condition. Get ready to WOW your potential buyers with Residence Real Estate Group’s 32 tips on preparing your home for sale.
1. Prep the paperwork. Buyers and agents are going to ask a lot of questions, so start digging out the paperwork now: utility bills, tax bills, renovation details, warranties, mortgage details, and rental contracts.
2. Improve your curb appeal. Many buyers have decided to not even enter a home based on the exterior. Mow the lawn, tear out the dead shrub in the corner, plant some flowers and fix noticeable cracks in the driveway or steps.
3. Get out of the gutter. Clean the outside of the home as well as you plan to clean the inside. Moss growing out of the gutter, leaves clogging the drain, mud from tires still sitting on the driveway; get rid of it all!
4. Get a pre-listing home inspection or order the status. It’s a good idea to know what repairs are needed before you list the home. You can either complete the suggested repairs OR adjust the asking price. By arming yourself with the information, you can avoid disappointment and surprises during the negotiation stage of the home selling process.
5. Repair it. Tackle the honey-do list and get the minor repairs out of the way such as leaky faucets, picture holes in the wall and a fresh coat of paint. Do your best to fix more extensive repairs such as broken windows and missing shingles. Remember buyers, make mental notes of each needed repair as they walk through a home. If all they’re thinking about is that list, it takes away from all of the pros the home has to offer.
6. Hire a REALTOR®. If you haven’t yet called the Residence Real Estate Group, what are you waiting for? We’re on your side and will help coordinate all of these tasks as you go through the home selling process. Hiring a REALTOR® early on also helps us to plan your marketing strategy and book other professionals needed such as stagers and photographers. Don’t put off hiring a REALTOR® until tip #29. We’re here to answer your questions today Contact Us.
7. Focus on the front entry. Buyers have an emotional reaction to a home within 15 seconds. Focusing on the area where they first enter the home is key. Buy a new welcome mat, remove scuffs from the walls, and de-clutter. Leaving coats and shoes in the front entry only attracts attention that there isn’t a closet. Put them away. Cleaning this area is critical.
8. Depersonalize. Speaking of de-cluttering, buyers visit homes and envision their own life in that house. Photos, knick-knacks, hobbies, and other personal items should be stored away.
9. Organize closets and drawers. Don't you just wish we would say, "Just cram it all into the closet"? Isn't that what closets are for? Nope. Messy closets and overflowing drawers give the appearance that your home doesn't have enough storage space. Pack away clothes that are out of season, and if possible colour cordite colours remove excess shoes and boots that you won't need till after the move.
10. Make it sparkle. Clean water stains from faucets, blinds, windows, stains from counters, dust from ceiling fans, pressure wash the exterior, Everything that is supposed to be shiny should gleam.
11. Go neutral. Colour is a personal expression, and the hot pink bathroom that you love doesn’t appeal to the masses. Sorry. We know we hurt some feelings when we say this. However, neutral colours are more pleasing to the eye and will win over more people.
12. Eliminate odours. We love pets. But their odours can turn buyers off. Hide litter boxes, wash your pet’s bedding, and spray the area with a light air neutralizer. Avoid heavy perfumes and air fresheners as many people are allergic to these types of products.
13. Check the light bulbs. It’s so easy to forget about that downstairs bathroom light that burnt out months ago. Take a walk through and make sure every light fixture is working. To really wow buyers, replace any dated light fixtures. It’s an easy fix that dramatically changes the look of a room.
14. Boxing day. We talk about decluttering a lot, and part of that process is to hunt down boxes. U-Haul has a wide variety of moving boxes. Concerned about the environment? We suggest using Frog Box, reusable heavy-duty plastic boxes that you return when the big move is done. Box up everything that isn’t needed in the home and consider keeping it at a storage facility.
15. Make an extra set of keys. It’s worth the couple of dollars. A Lock Box is installed on the property so that we, and other agents, can access the property when you are not home. The extra keys are placed in that box, so we don't have to waste your, and the buyers' time, by tracking down keys.
16. Buy new towels. It may seem like a minor detail, but clean, fresh, fluffy white towels instantly add a spa feeling to every bathroom. While you’re in there, remove all toiletries and set out some nice soaps, a new bath mat, and a clean shower curtain.
17. Clean the Kitchen. Buyers spend the most time investigating this room. They go through everything, and we mean everything! Remove appliances and other clutter from the countertops, wipe out the cupboards, clear out old food from the fridge, hide the liquor collection and clean the oven until it shines. Fresh flowers on the counter are always a welcoming touch.
18. The bedrooms. The bedroom is a sanctuary. Colours should be kept neutral in the bedrooms as well as the rest of the home. Remove the knick-knacks, personal photos, and grooming products. If the room is small, remove furniture that doesn’t quite fit. Condo owners know exactly what we’re talking about! Most buyers are looking for a certain number of bedrooms because they want people to be able to sleep in those rooms. Therefore, if you’ve converted two out of the three bedrooms into offices, consider changing at least one back into a bedroom.
19. Put dining back in the dining room. Hands up if you’re one of those families that congregates around the television during dinner. It happens! If your dining room has been neglected, now is the time to pay more attention to it. Clean up the paperwork that has made a permanent home on the table, display some beautiful plates in the hutch, and if necessary, purchase a tablecloth to cover the old, scratched table.
20. Show off the living room. Invest in some throw pillows, a new area rug and lamps to brighten up the room. Hide the TV cords and magazines. Clean the furniture and dust everything. Put out a book and empty coffee cup by that chair near the window. It's called the living room for a reason; it's where we do most of our living.
21. Tackle the basement. The basement; where unused items go to die. It may take a day or three to get through it but whether your basement is finished or just a storage area, it's crucial to make it as spacious and inviting as possible. Take this opportunity to finally get rid of all that stuff you never use.
22. Get the windows cleaned. Many of our sellers don't think about cleaning the windows. However, if repairs and renovations have been going on in your home, the dust has likely accumulated right onto the windows. Patio doors are especially notorious for collecting fingerprints as well as Fido's nose prints.
23. Make it look nice at night. A lot of home buyers scope out the home in the evening before seeing it with their realtor. Make sure the outdoor lights are working. Consider purchasing some garden lights to brighten up the front. Most viewings are done in the evening as well so make sure that the front and backyard are lit up enough for the buyers to see the whole picture.
24. Don’t forget about the backyard. The season in which you’re selling your home will dictate what you can accomplish in the backyard. Winter – shovel walkways, remove any dead plants and make it look presentable. Spring/Summer – Clean off the deck and furniture, cut the grass, trim the trees, plant some flowers, wipe down the BBQ and sweep up any debris. Fall – rake up those leaves, cut the grass, sweep, wash down anything dusty, and remove dead plants from the garden. No matter what the season, paint anything that needs a touch-up, fix any broken fence or deck boards and always, always, clean up after the dog.
25. Look down at the floors. Depending on what type of flooring is in your home, there are many products on the market to fix minor scratches and other imperfections. You’ll also want to make sure that your vacuum is in peak working order to get into every corner and pick up every stray dog hair.
26. Steam clean the carpets. Especially if you have pets, but we recommend everyone to get the carpets professionally cleaned. When was the last time? Probably years. Have you heard the Febreeze [link to commercial on YouTube] commercials about becoming “nose-blind”? It happens to all of us so we suggest steam cleaning carpets and anything else that is upholstered.
27. Let there be light. Pull back or open any drapes and blinds blocking the natural light from entering the home. Buyers are imagining their life in this home. Where will the reading chair go? Where’s the best spot for the desk? Where do the houseplants go? Show them what they're working with.
28. Un-scuff the scuffed. You’ve probably heard about the Magic Eraser. It is quite literally, magic. No need to repaint. Just wipe those scuffs off the walls and doors, easily and quickly.
29. Get out of the house. We don’t want to make you feel unwanted in your own home, but while buyers are visiting, it's best if you, the kids and the pets find something else to do. When sellers are present, buyers don’t feel comfortable enough to check every corner of the home which leaves them feeling unsure.
30. Put away the toys. Keeping a home clean and having kids don’t always mix. We get it. Do your best to store the toys allowing the main areas of the home to stay clutter free. The primary objective is to remove distractions that will prevent buyers from seeing your home in all its glory. Finger paintings on the walls, art on the windows and, ahem, dirty diapers, all need to go.
31. Make the best of your home’s close up. Now that the house is in showhome condition, keep it like that until the photographer can get in and do their thing. Photos are taken a few days before the home is listed and may include videography as well. Take note of when your home is in its best light. The photographer will appreciate any tips you can give. One more exclusive tip from The Residence Real Estate Group – close the toilet lids for the photos. It's a small detail that makes a huge difference. You’re welcome!
32. Give it a final look. Phew! You made it. Now take a step back and admire your hard work. Did you miss anything? Did one of the kids just leave their toys under the dining room table? Did the dog smudge up the patio door glass? Take one final look and Taa Daa! Your home is ready for visitors. Let the offers begin.
We get it your busy, maybe even to busy to do any of these things were not here to overwhelm you but simply provide you with a guideline for what’s ideal. We work exclusively with professional organizers, cleaners, painters, trades and an on-call handyman if life’s too busy. Contact Us and take advantage of the Residence Real Estate Group’s best-kept secrets in prepping your home for sale, SPOILER ALERT we have WAY more than 32