Whether you’re selling your first home or your fifth, the selling process can be a very overwhelming experience. Before you list your home, read this home selling guide.
Hiring an agent
DO YOUR RESEARCH.
This is arguably the most important aspect of selling your home. Sure, there are options to be your own realtor but don’t be fooled, getting professional advice from an experienced realtor is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
Would you choose a doctor from the yellow pages or from a Google search? Of course not, so why should you choose a realtor that way. It is okay to interview different agents from different brokerages to find one that is the right fit for you. Real estate is a BIG investment so you want to ensure that you have a great working relationship with your agent and feel confident in their abilities to showcase your home.
Collection of Information
Have you completed renovations, upgraded appliances or recently had maintenance done on your home? These details can not only help to produce a compelling review of your home but your estimates, receipts, manuals, warranties and any related documentation will be helpful in showing buyers that you’ve maintained your home over the years. You will also need to provide copies of your hydro and water bills too. Information is power, so use it.
Pre-listing Home Inspection
We’ve all heard of having a home inspection done on the house you intend to purchase to make sure there aren’t any hidden issues, right? Well, why not find any concerns yourself before a potential buyer does?
Before you list, hire a home inspector to assess your home, that way if there are any issues you were unaware of, you can correct them prior to listing or price your home accordingly. Plus, you will have the report to show prospective buyers because let’s face it, no one likes surprises!
Finding the right price
If your house is priced to high, chances are you’re not going to sell it. You do not simply pick a price at random and hope for the best. There are several factors that go into the pricing of a home such as current competition in your neighbourhood and similar neighbourhoods, renovations or upgrades that increase the value of your home, time of year, current real estate market and of course, any factors which may speed up your need to sell (offer on new home, new baby etc.). Your agent will be able to evaluate all these factors and provide a fair and honest list price for your home.
Preparing your home for sale
First impressions are everything! Prospective buyers want to see that their potential new home is clean, clutter free and functional.
Clean. Would you buy a house that wasn’t clean? Chances are slim. Make you sure clean your house from top to bottom before listing. Some may even elect to hire a maid service to professionally clean their home and that is a great option. Once it’s clean, it will not only be easier to maintain but will show much better to potential buyers.
De-clutter. Take down your personal items such as family photos, children’s artwork or memorabilia. As much as these items show your character, not all buyers will be able to imagine their family in the house instead of yours. Simple fixes such as de-cluttering, paint touch-ups, moving furniture (less is more) or even adding a house plant can truly make a difference!
Stage. Your agent should be able to tell you how to arrange your furniture to best suit the dimensions of your home. Is your office in the corner of the spare bedroom? Consider relocating it while your house is listed. Swap out your king size bed for a queen to free up space in your master bedroom. Not all buyers have the ability to imagine themselves in someone else’s house and the smallest of change can make a big impact. Trust me, after six weeks on the market, my agent recommended moving my couch and within the week, my house was sold. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not, but why chance it?
Getting the call from your agent that you have a showing request is a great feeling and in most cases is followed by the anxiety of getting it clean in time, especially when you have kids or pets.
While you may think your pile of work papers on the desk or the toys in the corner of the living room is not a big deal, potential buyers may find it unappealing and be unable to look past your belongings in order to picture their own.
Clutter, odours and lack of maintenance will definitely deter a buyer from making an offer. Make sure you keep your home clean, eliminate pet or food odours (keep windows open when possible) and avoid chemical smelling fragrances that just mask the odour. If you have pets, invest in a good air purifier to help clean the air in your home; you may not smell your animals but others will.
To host or not to host? The decision is ultimately that of the homeowner. Yes, you will get neighbours who just want to take a peek inside but you will also get serious buyers who want to get an up close and personal look at the house they want to buy. Don’t let the idea of an open house scare you. All you need to do is make sure your house is clean and then head out for a few hours while your agent showcases your home for you. If you want to add a little extra you could provide refreshments or snacks, but is certainly not necessary or expected.
There will be times that you think you must have been crazy to decide to sell your house but I promise, once it’s all over you will look back to realize it wasn’t as bad as you thought. Let your agent guide you through the process and make this experience as smooth as possible. Good luck!