With the festive season now over, thoughts turn to new seasons, new reasons and maybe a change of address. If you are planning to sell your home shortly, don’t just list it without any advance preparation. A few minor touch ups can go a long way towards making a favourable impression on potential buyers and perhaps cinching a deal.
“Put your buyer’s hat on and walk thru your home like it is the first time. Make notes on what you, as a buyer, would notice and then repair or replace those items.” - Marilou Young (Staging Professional)
Seasoned industry professional Marilou Young recommends some obvious ( and not so obvious) strategies for making your home more ´sellable´, such as getting rid of clutter, hiding family photos, cleaning out closets, removing excess or oversized furniture, and cleaning. These tips are among some of the top ways to prepare your home for a sale. Let’s look at the others:
1. Clean, clean, clean. Dust on top of the fireplace and bookshelves, polish your appliances, and give the windows a thorough washing. If you’ve already moved out or if you’re too busy to stay on top of things, consider hiring a cleaning service to stop by every couple of weeks.
2. Pay attention to smells. Don’t cook bacon in your home the day of a showing. Although it might taste great, the smell is strong and lingers for a long time. You don’t want your home to smell like a fast food restaurant.
3. Clear out the clutter. You want buyers to focus on how awesome your space is, not how messy it looks. Banish those piles of shoes from the entry, that stack of mail from the kitchen table and anything else that detracts from your home’s gorgeous, original features.
4. Repaint the walls neutral colours. As much as you love your dramatic red dining room, it could turn off a good portion of your buyers. So repaint your rooms in neutral tones like tans and whites that allow buyers to focus on the spaces themselves, not the colour of the walls.
5. Keep the décor simple. To help buyers imagine themselves in your space, get rid of any art or other décor that might turn off people with different tastes. A classic landscape painting? Totally fine. Your zebra print leather couch? Might want to slipcover that for showings.
6. Get rid of personal items. Buyers want to be able to envision themselves in your home, so remove anything overly personal, like family photos in the hallway or your kids’ artwork on the fridge.
7. Let there be light! Open up all the windows to let in natural light and add floor or table lamps to areas that are dim. A bright, cheery room looks bigger and more inviting.
8. Bring nature inside. Potted plants or a few pretty buds in a vase can help bring energy into a space, fill in empty corners and even draw attention to features you want buyers to notice. Just make sure the plants are in good health.
9. Get rid of bulky furniture. Your furniture should fit the scale of the room, so get rid of any extra or oversized items that could make your space look smaller than it really is.
10. Organize your cupboards. Storage space is a huge selling point, and if your closets are stuffed to the brim, buyers will think you don’t have enough of it. Invest in some boxes, dividers and other solutions that will help you make your stuff look more organized, and remove extra items you don’t need immediately as you can stow them away until you move.
11. Tackle that to-do list. All those little things you’ve been meaning to do but never got around to? Buyers will notice them, and they’ll detract from the value of your home. So set aside a weekend to tighten those loose doorknobs, fix that leaky tap and paint over the scuffs from when you first moved in your sofa.
12. Do a faux renovation. Little tweaks can make a big difference in the overall feel of a room. Kitchen a little outdated? Replace the fixtures, taps and hinges. Family room furniture beaten up? Throw some slipcovers over them.
13. Give each room a purpose. That spare room you’ve been using as an office / guest room /dumping ground won’t help sell your home unless you show buyers how they can use it themselves. So pick a use (office or guest room) and clearly stage the space to showcase that purpose.
14. Turn the bathroom into a spa. Create the feel of a relaxing, luxurious bath for next to nothing. Stack a few pretty washcloths tied with ribbon, add some scented candles and faux plants, and buy bathmats and towels in coordinating tones such as light green, blue and white.
15. Close the toilet! When it comes to both showing and photographing your home, this little trick can make a surprising difference.
16. Turn the living room into conversation central. Help buyers picture themselves relaxing with family and guests by grouping your furniture into arrangements that inspire conversation.
17. Keep the flow going. The last thing you want is people bumping into furniture as they tour your home; it disrupts their focus and makes your space look cramped. Do a dry run as though you’re seeing your home for the first time and tweak anything that interrupts the flow.
18. Make something tasty . Agents don’t put out fresh cookies at open houses just to treat buyers; a homey smell like baking cookies or bread can help people connect with a kitchen. If you are not a baker, then fake it with a scented candle.
19. Make your home look lived in with vignettes. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by adding deliberate vignettes that showcase how your home can be lived in. An inviting armchair and a tray with a coffee cup and book can turn that empty corner into a reading nook. Pretty soaps in a decorative tray can make your tiny bathroom look more appealing.
20. Highlight focal points. Draw buyers’ eyes towards any special features with bright colours or accents like plants. A pop of red throw pillows can draw a buyer’s attention to that lovely window seat. A striking mirror on the mantle can show off your fireplace.
21. Boost the curb appeal. Don’t spend all your time indoors. More than one buyer has decided not to even enter a home based on its curb appeal, so make sure your home’s exterior looks excellent. Trim your shrubs, weed your flower beds, fix any peeling paint and keep the walkway clear. Just adding a row of potted plants along the walkway or a cheerful wreath to your front door can make a big difference.
22. If your clients are on a tight budget, it is recommended that they at least spruce-up the front entrance; that first impression, goes a long way.