Photography: Donna Griffiths
Few life events can match the intensity of selling a home. Not only does the act involve emotions (this is where the children were born!), it also affects your bank account, typically representing an individual’s largest investment. Though selling a home can be a lot of work, follow these suggestions and you’ll have a much better chance of a quick and profitable sale:
IMPROVE CURB APPEAL
First impressions are vitally important to potential buyers. An appealing, well-maintained façade and beautifully tended garden are likely to translate into thousands of dollars from a prospective bid. In fact, in addition to kitchen and bathroom improvements, real estate agents often list exterior renovations within the top three strategies to increase your home’s resale value.
Buyers’ needs vary widely, but one thing most agree on is a preference for rooms that breathe. Consider removing one or more pieces of furniture from main living areas. The living room may look much larger when a second sofa is removed. The kitchen may feel more spacious when table leaves are stored out of sight. If it’s spring or summer, take away a busy area carpet and reveal a glowing hardwood floor beneath.
EDIT AND DE-PERSONALIZE
Decluttering is vital to a successful sales process. Figure out what items you can live without and either give them away or sell them. Remove clutter from tabletops, mantel, coffee table, and other display areas. Create additional space in closets and drawers; areas the potential buyer will critically assess. If things aren’t crammed into storage areas, the prospective buyer perceives more room for his or her belongings. Aim for an environment in which the potential buyer can picture his or her family. Remove family photos and children’s artwork. Opt for paintings that are neutral or inoffensive such as a landscape or still life.
DECORATE WITH NEUTRALS
Neutral colours and natural materials that flow from room to room have the widest appeal. Keep walls and window coverings clean and fresh by choosing neutral colours such as sand, bisque, ivory, and taupe. If walls and ceilings look tired, a fresh coat of paint is perhaps the single biggest improvement you can make. When selecting ceramic or vinyl flooring, opt for materials that mimic natural stone, which is perceived to have greater value.
Take inventory of anything that needs to be fixed, patched or painted. Maintenance or cosmetic trouble spots turn buyers off. Make sure the kitchen and bathrooms sparkle and shine. If you work full time and can’t spare the extra effort to keep things in tip-top order, it’s well worth the investment to hire a professional cleaning service while your home is on the market. Open draperies to let in as much light as possible and make sure windows are clean.
APPEAL TO THE SENSES
Have soft music playing in the background for showings. Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” is a perennial favourite. No one can resist the smell of freshly baked cookies or bread, so if you’re home before a showing, keep some cookie dough on hand and bake a batch 20 minutes before the potential buyer arrives. If you’re selling your house during the holidays, hot apple cider simmering in a slow cooker does the trick nicely as well.