Sellling a Home is Never Easy
Selling Your Home is Work
I am going to be honest here. While it may seem exciting when you start, selling your home is work; it is inconvenient; and until the day after you close, it is stressful. There are ways to reduce the angst but even if you have a firm sell within a day, there is still work to be done until closing date.
The key to surviving with all your hair is knowledge and preparation. While there are circumstances that do not give you the luxury to prep your home for sale, you can “prep” yourself.
It Is Inconvenient
I can’t stress this enough. If you move homes on a fairly regular basis this may not apply to you but if you haven’t sold a home in a while, it is easy to forget just how inconvenient it is. I think that this is the biggest complaint I hear and honestly there is nothing a Realtor® can do to fix that. As Realtors®, there are a few things that we can do to smooth the process but ultimately it is your home. You will have deal with having your life disrupted, make decisions see lawyers…
Prepare YourselfFirst – When you list your home, especially in a hot market like we have, there are requests for showings. Whether you are receiving the requests by text, phone, email, they are a distraction throughout your day and evening.
Second – Upkeep! Unless you have daily maid service, it is a lot of work to keep your home in that perfectly clean state, especially if you have children and pets.
Third – Keeping in touch! Questions and offers can come out of nowhere. If you want to go away for a weekend or your kids have an out-of-town sports tournament, you need to keep your Realtor® in the loop so that they can make sure that anyone putting in an offer is aware of timelines and doesn’t expect an answer until you are home. It can make you feel tied down and that your life isn’t your own.
Once you have the mindset that for a little while, your home is not your home but a “show home” and are ready to be inconvenienced, you can turn your mind to more tangible issues.
So Before You List…
- Know your Local Market
When you see a For Sale sign go up in your neighbourhood, take the time to look the house up in Realtor.ca. Is it better/worse, smaller/bigger, how many washrooms? Visit open houses, talk to various Realtors®. When you are ready to sell ask what they sold for and how long it took.
Repairs left undone will cost you more money in offers than the cost of the actual repair. When at all possible, fixing minor repairs should be a priority. If a window is broken, have a new one put in, if the boards on a deck are rotten and unsafe replace them, if a tap is leaking, install a new one, etc. When buyers see simple repairs that need to be done, there are immediate deductions in price, usually much more than the cost of fixing it, as buyers often pad the costs of having to fix the repairs themselves in fear that there may be many more unseen issues to be fixed.
Once the big fixes are done, you can move on to more inexpensive cosmetic changes, starting with decluttering your home. In some instances you may not realize that it is clutter and in others, such as when you have children, there is only so much that can be removed.
They are two well-known reasons to declutter for the purpose of selling. The first one is space. Even a very large home can be made to look small if there is too much in it and if you have a small home, it will make it look downright cramped.
You can view this as a wonderful opportunity in disguise. Why move unused clothing, toys, household appliances when while prepping your home for sale you can take the time to sort, donate or perhaps even earn a little cash and have a garage sale. Once you’ve done that, pack up the non-essentials and put them in storage, whether your garage, someone else’s or short-term storage. As a bonus, come moving day, there will be a little less to move out of the house.
The second one is to allow buyers to picture their own possessions, knick-knacks, pictures in your home and this is much easier when not distracted by yours. Many buyers have a hard time picturing themselves in a home when there is too much “you” in your home. This does not mean you leave your home with bare walls and looking unlived in, but switching walls of family photos with a few strategically placed pieces of artwork.
You may not want or need to repaint the entire house (unless you want to and have time) but should your university-bound daughter’s bedroom be still painted bright purple or the basement black so the video games stand out better, you may want to brighten and neutralize these rooms.
I know, every TV show out there does these major remodels, stages it beautifully and increases the value of the home way above what was it cost. But that’s TV and very far from reality. How far you go in updating and neutralizing will depend a lot on your budget and time. If your budget is already stretched, repainting the most obvious rooms would be where to start and judge from there.
In reality, you do not have prep your home for sale. You can just pick a price, put a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn and see what happens and sometimes that is all the circumstances will allow. However, if you are looking to maximize your sale price prepping yourself and your home will go a long way to that end.
In my next article, I will talk about what to expect and plan for when you are on the market.
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