Tips For First-Time Home Sellers
Posted by Justin Havre on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 at 11:27am.
Selling your Calgary home soon? It's easy to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of making changes to your home before going on the market; not only can the expense add up quickly, but it's hard to wrap your mind about the thought that somebody could feel anything other than love for your home just the way it is. The good news is that sellers can make a handful of nearly free changes to their home to increase the chance of a quicker sale, and decreasing the days on market.
1. Create the Illusion of Space
Simply removing clutter and allowing each room to serve one purpose that makes sense can create the illusion of space. If a buyer walks in and sees that an office is doubling as a guest bedroom, they assume the home seller has run out of room and the house instantly feels smaller.
Other things that can create a feeling of being cramped or lacking in space include:
- Clutter on the countertops, including appliances; put away mixers, bread machines, can openers, and coffee pots before open houses or showings to display a roomy kitchen
- Messy or too-full closets; put away enough clothes to leave an inch space between each hanging item; keep shelves and drawers organized with just a few items on each
- Stuff on the dryer; utilize hidden storage for laundry detergent, softener, dryer sheets, and the surprises you find in the dryer rather than cluttering the top of your appliances
- Shared bedrooms; remove a bed and dresser to help buyers envision the bedroom with just one occupant rather than two and prevent looking cramped
- Minimize furniture to make the house or condo look more open and spacious; remove things that are functional but not visually appealing and large pieces that obstruct views and walkways
Light paint colors and adequate natural light can also create the illusion of more space.
2. Give Your Yard Some TLC
"Don't underestimate the power of Curb Appeal. Buyers will judge the home before getting out of the car. Make it count!"
Curb appeal is critical in a buyer's decision to look at a house or pass it by. While dramatic landscaping may blow a modest budget, a little sweat equity can produce a clean, polished curb appeal that attracts buyers and helps seal the deal.
- Plant colourful annuals: Colourful annuals attract attention while making your house appear welcoming.
- Trim shrubs: Overgrown shrubs can make a yard look wild and difficult to maintain, while neatly trim shrubs make a yard look contained and under control.
- Keep the grass fertilized, watered and cut: Healthy green grass is attractive and can give the impression that the soil around the house is fertile.
- Mulch flower beds: Mulch gives a uniform appearance to the soil around flowers and bushes.
- Remove organic debris: Organic debris like sticks, leaves and broken branches can make a house look untidy and poorly maintained. Cleaning up all yard waste on a regular basis can give the impression that the home owners have taken good care of the property.
- Wash the exterior of the home: A dirty home exterior can detract from the colourful annuals and well-trimmed shrubs, while cleaning the house can make siding look new.
Homes that lack curb appeal can turn off home buyers before they ever set foot in the front door, while homes with a lot of curb appeal can attract a variety of buyers and may sell faster. Curb appeal can be achieved in a variety of ways. Ultimately, the goal for any seller trying to boost curb appeal should be to make the home look as trim, clean and inviting as possible.
Simple measures like keeping the lawn mowed, edged, raked, and watered while the home is on the market go a long way. Weed flower beds and lay down fresh mulch - less than $3 a bag in most places - to freshen the look on a budget. Put away hoses, bicycles, kids toys, and lawn tools when not in use, and sweep driveways and sidewalks.
If you have flower beds but you haven't planted anything, buy inexpensive potted plants and flowers. Space them out - still in the pots - on the flower bed and fill in the space with mulch. This can still look bright and beautiful without taking the investment of an entire weekend.
If you do have time to do extensive planting, easy planting options for shade include hostas, which grow quickly with little maintenance. For sunny locations, verbenas and lantanas are an excellent way to add color and make your lawn look professionally landscaped.
Finally, wash the exterior of the house and touch up any areas where pant is chipped or stained.
3. Do Your Spring Cleaning
Regardless of the value and quality of your home, if buyers see grime in the shower or cobwebs in the corners, they are going to experience hesitation. Invest a weekend in spring cleaning before you list your home, and then maintain it until the sale. Consider the following tasks:
- Dust the tops of ceiling fans, window panes, shelves, and cabinets and remove cobwebs
- Wash walls, dining room chairs and table legs, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and floors
- Vacuum and clean carpets throughout the home
- Wash bedding for a fresh appearance and scent
- Wash windows and mirrors
- Wipe the tops of the trim along the floor as well as any heating units or registers
- Clean out your kitchen cabinets and closets; buyers open every door and hope not to see disarray or dust
- Scrub the tub and shower and do a drain treatment to keep things flowing
Spring cleaning is free and highly effective in boosting your home's appearance and potential resale value.
Stage the Home Before Selling
The major goal of staging a property is make the house look spacious, organized, bright, clean and inviting. There are many ways to achieve these goals.
- Remove clutter: Removing clutter can make a home look bigger on the inside. To remove clutter, start by cleaning out the closets, removing old bills from the counters, clearing off tables, removing piles of toys and books and putting holiday decorations into storage.
- Encourage good lighting: Remove dark, heavy curtains and hang lightweight sheers over the windows. Cut away shrubs that block light from entering the home, and clean the windows to allow as much natural light to enter as possible. Use extra lamps to light dark rooms.
- Coordinate colours: Create a cohesive, unified appearance by coordinating furniture with pillows, curtains, blankets and other accessories in the room.
- Clean everything: Clean surfaces that don’t normally get cleaned. Shampoo the carpets, clean the curtains, scrub the walls, clean cabinets and so on. Doing this can help convey the message that the home has been well maintained over the years.
Staging can increase the overall property value and time on the market without any major renovations on the part of the homeowner.
Keep Pets Out Of the Picture
Pets can be a distraction during the home selling process. In addition, some buyers may be be allergic to pets. Ultimately, presence of pets on the property may deter buyers from making an offer. Pet owners can avoid problems by cleaning up all pet hair and keeping the house deodorized throughout the home selling process. During showings, send your pet to stay with a neighbour or friend.
Price It Right
A home priced too high can scare away buyers while a home priced too low will result in unnecessarily low returns at the time of sale. Finding the right price can be a challenge for many first-time home sellers. Looking at comparable properties in the neighbourhood is one way to settle on a price.
It's also important to consult with an experienced real estate agent. An experienced agent will be able to weigh factors like trends in the real estate market, prices of homes sold on the same street, active listings, pending sales and expired listings in the community. This expertise can help home sellers pick a price that is right for the property and right for the real estate market in their area.
Make the House Move-In Ready
Most buyers seek a “turn key” home, which means they want to purchase a home that needs little or no repair in order to be functional. To make your home turn key ready, take care of any deferred maintenance before putting the house on the market. Repair broken appliances, fix broken doors, make roof or sewer repairs as needed, and so on. Failure to make these repairs can result in lower offers.
Important Market Considerations When Selling a Home
A successful home sale is the goal of every seller, but not everyone will succeed. Like many things in life, having a good plan may be all that is needed to help homeowners enjoy a better selling experience and greatly increase their chances of success. Here's a six step guide to the home-selling process.
Build the Marketing Plan Around the Timeline
For instance, selling due to a job change may require more aggressive marketing and a more conservative asking price to get the home sold more quickly than if the home was being sold with no specific timeline in order to purchase another home in the same general area. Consider the circumstances around the home sale to make it as competitive a deal as possible.
Understand Costs Involved in Home Selling
The costs of selling an East Calgary home are largely dependent on the state of the home and the work that needs to be done, but some expenses are non-negotiable. Calculate the expected costs of selling the home, including transfer taxes, fees, commissions, repairs, cleaning, and any other preparations needed to successfully market the home. This figure will be helpful when working with the listing agent to establish the best possible price point for the home.
Price the Home Correctly Within the Market
A critical part of selling a home successfully is to price it correctly, in accordance with the current real estate market. This will involve understanding how long it is taking for comparable homes to sell and the actual price at which they are selling. Market trends fluctuate because of many factors, all of which can have a significant influence on a home's selling price. These factors can include the season, weather, local and national economic factors, as well as the condition and location of the home.
Consider the Effect Location has on a Home Sale
Locations in which neighbourhoods are going up or down in value will directly affect the seller's ability to sell the home and the amount of money they can realize from the sale. To determine what specific issues or advantages a home or condo's location may have, sellers should look for signs of positive influences, such as the building of new housing developments of similar or greater value than the home being sold, improved schools, better streets, etc. Examples of negative factors might include urban blight, increasingly commercialized areas near the home, or declining conditions of streets and schools.
Factor Property Condition into Price and Timeline
Sellers who expend time and money to make sure their home offers appeal to prospective buyers will enjoy a better overall selling experience. This means making sure that the home is well-maintained and completely prepared for viewing before it is listed for sale. A good way to ensure this to consider having the home pre-inspected before it is listed so that any necessary repairs, maintenance, and renovations can be addressed. Even though any repairs due to the inspection will need to be disclosed to prospective buyers, doing so will still help to show that the home has been responsibly cared for during the seller's ownership.
Increase Buyer Interest with Home Staging
In addition to making sure that the home is clean and well-maintained, sellers who take the time to stage their home attractively can enjoy a better selling experience. When buyers view a home that they find attractive, they will be more able to picture themselves living in the home and more apt to remain interested in purchasing it.
Consult With Your Real Estate Professional
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to sell your home, talk to your real estate professional. He or she can help you decide what needs to be done to stage your home, how to boost curb appeal on your property and what kind of repairs are necessary to make your home move-in ready.
In conclusion, boosting your home's appearance for a quicker sale doesn't have to be an investment of thousands of dollars. Simple sweat equity goes a long way in creating the illusion of space, grandeur, and cleanliness and appeals to buyers' interests. By working with a real estate agent, you can learn from a neutral party where the most attention is needed and how the work will affect the home's value or length of time on the market. Happy selling!