Prepping Your Home For a Spring Sale
Tuesday Mar 05th, 2019
Despite the endless cold weather, it might surprise you to know the spring real estate market is fast approaching. Many Buyers begin their home search in March and April with the intention of closing during the summer months. It should come as no surprise that the real estate market coincides with the school calendar as parents want to ensure their kids finish up the school year without disruption. That said, I thought it was a good time for a post about how to start preparing your home now if you plan to list during the spring market. There are many easy and affordable things you can do as a homeowner to improve your chances of selling and more importantly, achieving top dollar for your home. This list will highlight only a few, however if you have questions about what else you can do, please don't hesitate to reach out and I'd be delighted to discuss further.
1. Improve or enhance your front entrance. While this may seem so simple, this can have a dramatic effect on the first impression of a potential Buyer. In addition, it demonstrates pride of ownership and suggests to home has been lovingly maintained. Whether its a new front door, or simply a fresh coat of paint, these details matter. An urn with fresh greenery or flowers and a wreath or appropriate door decor in keeping with the season can also add a special touch that will resonate with visitors and create a warm, welcoming feel. A new door mat and new house numbers are also easy items to replace in order to achieve a fresh look.
2. Clean up the yard and exterior of your home and make any necessary repairs. Buyer's and their agents generally expect the exterior of your home to be in tip top shape when they come to look at your home. This means cleaning your lawn of leaves, clearing the driveway of all snow and ice, repairing damage to the roof and windows, clean gutters, and a powerwashed exterior if necessary. A well kept exterior suggests a well kept interior. An unkempt exterior can cause Buyer's to wonder what red flags await them on the inside. Ensuring pools are closed properly, downspouts are directed away from the foundation and fence gates are operational are all items that should be done as any defect can disuade a potential Buyer.
3. Consider improving your landscaping. This is again tied to a Buyer's first impression and doesn't require a lot of money. If nothing else, ensure your lawn is always freshly mowed, the gardens have been tended to and all large shrubs and bushes trimmed and pruned. Hiring a landscaping company once a week is a terrific investment for the busy Seller and the return on this investment will pay off. When a Buyer steps out of their car and sees a beautifully manicured property, it has a positive effect on their perception of your home and the care it has received.
4. Declutter the inside of your home. If you have decided to list your home and move on, there is no better time than the present to start packing. The decision to move can be a difficult one, but once made, it is important to remember that you are trying to make your home appealing to potential Buyer's, so depersonalizing and decluttering are vital to your success. Buyer's want to envision their own things in the home so family photos and knickknacks everywhere can impede thier ability to see the forest for the trees so to speak. Renting a storage locker can be done rather affordably these days so it's a great option if you need to store some items before you move in to your next home.
5. Organize your closets and drawers. It seems to shock some people to learn that potential Buyer's open cabinets, drawers and closets. Oddly enough, those same shocked people behave the same when they look at homes themselves. Regardless, they need to be organized and tidy. Messy and stuffed spaces give off the impression there isn't enough storage in a home and can put off a potential Buyer. Organized spaces feel calm and soothing while giving off the illusion of extra space.
6. Clean all surfaces of both clutter and debris. Not only should every surface be gleaming, it should also be free from clutte. This applies to countertops in kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms, offices, etc. This helps people see the amount of true counter space and again is soothing as all potential Buyer's are seeing are clean, tidy spaces. In a kitchen, a vase or bowl or lemons and limes can add a nice pop of colour or a set of 3 Pellegrino or Perrier bottles can do the same job. In bathrooms, white towels are always recommended to promote a vision of cleanliness and neutrality. The same applies for bedding in all bedrooms.
7. Tone down colours that may not appeal to all Buyers. If you've painted your home bright and cheery, or dark and sultry, this is an important one. While some Buyers may appreciate your bold colour choices, many others will not. Since you have decided to sell your home, it will maximize your chances of a sale if you neutralize the colour palette of the home which includes paint. It can really change the way potential Buyers perceive your home. If you're moving, get excited about the paint colours you can choose in your new surroundings and neutralize the colours in your home to help attract a wider audience.
8. Try and eliminate bad odours. You may have cooked with onions or garlic and the odour can linger in your home. With an increasingly diverse buyer pool, you would hate for the remanants of last night's dinner to be a deterrant for a potential Buyer. If you have a showing booked the following day, consider not cooking a meal the night before that is overly fragrant. Use air freshners and scented candles where appropriate and as needed. Baking something prior to a showing can also entice a potential Buyer to spend more time inside your home. A classic go-to that is easy and can be left for the vsitors to enjoy are Pillsbury pre-cut chocolate chip cookies.
9. Consider staging. Having a professional stager come in and give you advice on how best to showcase your home is invaluable. I personally cover the cost of the consult and I have yet to have a disappointed client. A stager can often reposition or repurpose existing furniture to help show off the home better. They may also recommend renting some accent pieces or adding affordable items that will help maximize impact on potential Buyers. A 1% investment in your home will really make a difference and can often net you 3-5% more than had you done nothing.
10. List with the right Realtor. This is perhaps the most critical of all the points. Not only can a professional Realtor help you with the above 9 items, they will ensure your home is positioned to sell by carefully pricing it, getting high end photography and video, connecting with the network of local realtors to ensure maximum exposure and will work with you until the day of closing. Discount brokers do not offer these services. A local realtor with intimate knowledge of the market, access to local services and is well connected in the area can expedite the sale of your home and will most assuredly maximize your return.
Looking forward to hearing from you as the Spring Market approaches,