SELLING YOUR HOME, TIME TO GET TO WORK!
Though cosmetic issues are not necessarily a sign of a badly maintained home, Buyers sometimes place a lot of emphasis on a property’s presentation. First time Buyers can be especially concerned with making such a big purchase and they want everything to be – or at least, to look – perfect. Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential Buyers are going to see, and if is dilapidated, it may turn them off before they even see the inside. First impressions, also known as “curb appeal”, definitely count for a lot.
Here are some things you can do to improve the look of your home’s exterior:
- Trim the shrubs.
- Mow the lawn.
- Remove dead tree limbs and other yard debris.
- Brighten up the garden with fresh shrubs or flowers.
- Remove clutter from stray toys and gardening equipment.
- Touch up peeling paint on doors, siding, and trim.
- Repair and/or paint any fencing.
- Fix damaged roof shingles and flashing.
- Clean outside windows and fix torn screens.
- Clean gutters and downspouts.
- Clear the driveway and sidewalk.
- Tidy up the garage and shed.
- Ensure outside lights and doorbells work.
Here are some simple things you can do to improve the look your home’s interior:
- Wash walls, ceilings, and trim.
- Every room should look as spacious, bright and warm as possible.
- Tighten loose knobs, towel racks, switch plates and outlet covers.
- Fix tight doors and windows, squeaky floorboards and loose stair banisters.
- Clean and repair caulking around tubs and sinks.
- Fix leaky faucets; remove water stains.
- Clean and organize the basement and attic. (This is a good time to throw out all the stuff you do not want to move.)
- Organize your closets. Get rid of the clutter and limit the number of items stored overhead or on the floor.
- Clean out kitchen cabinets and remove clutter from counter-tops.
- Shampoo carpets and polish floors.
- Arrange furniture to make rooms appear as spacious as possible.
Along with the cosmetic issues, you can also do some renovating to increase your property’s value. According to Canadian surveys, the top three renovations that return the best increase on your investment are:
- Bathrooms (75 to 100% return)
- Kitchens (75 to 100% return)
- Interior and exterior painting (50 to 100% return)
These renovations would be the top recommendations for return on investment for your home:
- Replacing roof shingles (50% to 80%)
- Replacing the furnace and heating system (50% to 80%)
- Renovating the basement (50% to 75%)
- Adding a recreation room (50% to 75%)
- Installing a fireplace (50 to 75%)
- Up-grading floors (50 to 75%)
- Building a garage (50 to 75%)
- Replacing windows and doors (50 to 75%)
- Building a deck (50 to 75%)
- Installing central air conditioning (25 to 75%)
Keep in mind though, that not every home needs to be renovated or updated for a successful sale. Some Buyers like to do their own home renovations and are looking for a “blank canvas” to work with. If you have accumulated a lot of clutter over the years, be prepared to rent a storage locker or POD in which to store some of your belongings during the sale of your home. Other options are to hold a yard sale or give generously to charity.
Here are some of the areas you will want to tidy up to improve your home’s presentation:
- Kitchen counters and cupboards.
- Bathroom counters, shelves, and cupboards.
- Surfaces like coffee tables, desks, window ledges, any open shelving.
Surveys of Canadian home buyers suggest that Buyers are willing to spend time and money decorating to their tastes once they have moved in, so there is little need to purchase expensive decor that the Buyers may just eliminate later.
The best times to consider staging and decorating are:
- When the home is very dated, to the point that existing furniture detracts from the home itself.
- When an investment property has been tenanted and the common areas are poorly maintained (if the tenant’s consent to having their space changed temporarily of course).
When the property is vacant. Just as clutter can overwhelm potential buyers, so can total emptiness – it can be hard to get a good idea of room sizes without furniture to show what will fit inside. This is especially true of smaller condo units where furniture can provide a frame of reference, showing what you can do with the space.