WAYS TO MAKE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION WHEN SELLING!
When selling your home, first impressions matter. Just because your home is listed and the “For Sale” sign is up on the front lawn does not mean it will attract buyers.
A home needs to be visually appealing to encourage a sale. Even in a market where homes are selling quickly and at full asking prices, it is still crucial to spruce up your home and prove that it is worth every penny you are asking for it.
Here are four tips to help your home make a good first impression that beckons potential buyers:
1. Make an Enticing Exterior
The walk-up to your house should be inviting, not forbidding. Stay on top of your lawn mowing and driveway maintenance, and tidy up your front landscaping. This includes:
- Moving all toys, bicycles and scooters away from the front of the house
- Cleaning windows until they are sparkling
- Making sure address numbers are in place and polished
- Giving your front door, garage door and gutters a fresh coat of paint
- Adding a few embellishments like a colourful welcome mat, a wreath for the door or a big potted plant to the side of your front door
- Checking the roof to see if it needs repair, even if it’s cosmetic.
2. Shape Up the Interior
Once the exterior wows potential buyers, you can continue to make a great impression as they make their way inside.
For starters, clear any clutter. If you have too much furniture, put some of it in storage. Keep kitchen and bathroom countertops as clear as possible. Closets and shelves should be well organized and give the impression that they are spacious.
Remove excess knickknacks or family photos that make the house feel like your home, instead of allowing potential buyers to picture themselves as the residents.
Clean the inside of your home from top to bottom. Dust and open all your blinds and curtains to let light in. Wash away smudges from walls and touch up the paint as necessary. Wipe down the inside and outside of your appliances and microwave. Remove ash from your fireplace. Get your carpets cleaned and vacuum your floor each morning before potential buyers view your house.
Addressing aesthetics can leave a lasting, favourable impression. So, hang fresh, clean towels in the bathrooms. Position a beautiful centerpiece in the center of your dining room table and a few potted plants in decorative containers throughout your home. Consider placing potpourri in key spots, especially if you need to eliminate pet odours or if you have a smoker in the house.
3. Check on Evening Appearance
Even if you’re positive your home is presentable during the day, double-back to the exterior and interior areas at dusk to gauge your home’s ambiance in the evening.
Ensure that the walkway is well lit and house numbers are visible, and that outdoor lighting enhances the home’s appearance.
Inside, make sure to replace non-functioning light bulbs in fixtures and vanities, and leave key lighting turned on so that the home doesn’t seem dark upon entering.
4. Make Necessary Repairs
Repair anything that is broken. Cabinet doors should close properly. All your faucets should be drip-free.
Remember, you are trying to present a simple, clean, attractive, problem-free home that boasts potential—an empty, yet enticing palette for your home’s next owners.
Taking time to create a great first impression sometimes is all it takes to quickly send an offer your way.
DOWNSIZING YOUR HOME
You might decide to downsize your home because your kids have all moved out, you’d like to save some money or to cut down on upkeep costs. Whatever your reasons, the process might seem overwhelming.
Here are some tips to smooth the transition:
The sheer thought of going through all of your belongings might stop you from ever starting. Instead, take it slow and, if possible, start a few months in advance of the move. Take just 20 minutes each day or one evening a week to go through one area at a time.
Most people don’t need five soup ladles or three raincoats. Get rid of anything you don’t really need. Edit your closet of any clothes you haven’t worn in the past year or linens you never use.
You could hold a garage sale or post items on sites like Kijiji. If you need to get rid of it anyway, you might as well add some extra money to your pocket.
Recycle or donate
Don’t just throw items in the garbage, recycle them. For some items, like paint or electronics, this means taking them to a municipal recycling centre. Pass items onto friends or family members who might need them or give things away to charity. A women’s shelter could take clothes, toys or household items. An after-school program might need your old computer or office supplies.
This includes child’s art or schoolwork, keepsakes and photographs. Keep only the really special items. If your children have grown, have them take some items to their own home. You can put what you keep in a memory box, album or binder. For flat items, you can use an envelope made of two pieces of Bristol board, which can be stored under a bed.
Ask an accountant or lawyer what you need to keep. Get rid of out-of-date records. Shred these files or contact a shredding company.
For your new space:
- Find multi-function furniture like a coffee table with storage or a sleeper sofa if you no longer have a guest room.
- Consider putting furniture in unlikely spaces. A pretty dresser might work well in a foyer and offer extra storage. Fit a chest into a closet.
- Mirrors add light and make a space feel larger
- Get a large area rug. Small ones make a room feel smaller.
- Wall-mount anything you can to clear floor space
WHY USE A REALTOR?
Real Estate transactions today typically exceed $150,000, and are usually the largest financial investments in a person’s lifetime. Why wouldn’t you use a professional?
Real Estate Licensees that are members of the National Association of REALTOR® may also call themselves REALTOR®. They are bound by the Code of Ethics to treat all parties fairly and honestly, and to strive to preserve a higher degree of knowledge of the buying and selling process.
In addition, your Agent shoulders the responsibility to protect your best interests and guide you every step of the way throughout the buying process. Here are a few examples of what you can expect your REALTOR® to assist you with:
- Completing a Market analysis and Market Value assessment
- Listing your Property in the MLS
- Advertising your property to Buyers and other REALTOR®
- Assisting in the preparations to sell your home
- Interior Assessment
- Exterior Assessment
- Gathering Community Information
- Preparing the Contract and any additional documents
- Helping negotiate any Counter offers or other terms of sale
- Identifying Buyer Qualification
- Following Loan Process
- Opening escrow and depositing Earnest Money
- Coordinating Home Inspections
- Evaluating Inspection data and determining issues
- Obtaining Home Warranty policies
- Maintaining deadlines and timelines for performance from both parties
- Communicating with both parties throughout the transaction
- Conducting walkthroughs
- Determining if all negotiated items have been completed
- Reviewing the Settlement Statement prior to closing
- Confirming receipt of Title Insurance and Commitment
- Coordinating the closing process
- Providing excellent service throughout the transaction
As you can see, this list is just the foundation for successfully selling your property. There are many more aspects to your transaction, and it is in your best interest to use a REALTOR®.
CHOOSING AN AGENT
You’ve made the decision to sell your home, but don’t know what to do now! Selecting an Agent to help you through the entire process from start to finish is going to be as important as determining how much to list your home for, and what your goals are in selling the property.
The best thing you can do when selecting your Agent, is to choose someone who has a personality that fits with your own. You will be spending a lot of time with your Agent, so liking them would be a major plus!
Consider asking the following questions when interviewing an Agent to sell your home:
Are you a REALTOR®?
There is a difference between a Real Estate Licensee and a REALTOR®. A licensee who is a member of the National Association of REALTOR®s, is bound by the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice associated with the industry, and may be disciplined for violating it. They have a duty to treat all parties honestly and fairly, and have a fiduciary duty to their clients.
How does the process of selling my home work?
Your Agent should be able to explain the process of listing and marketing your property, negotiating offers on the property, the inspection process, the closing process and more. Also inquire about what your responsibilities are during the transaction.
Can you assist in determining my listing price?
An Agent should know the comparable sales data, and be able to give you the information you need regarding current listings, pending sales, and recent sales. After a thorough review of the data, and some advice from your Agent, you should be able to come up with a listing price. Your Agent should not be the one to make the final decision about your listing price.
Can you help me stage my home? Do you have training and education?
Most states have strict laws regarding licensing and continuing education. Your Agent should be able to give you up to date information, should be committed to continuing education and should always act with professionalism. Ask if your Agent has any designations indicating a specialty in any areas, such as Buyer Representation.
Can you give me any references?
Be certain that your Agent is willing to give you references, or let you contact past clients.
What can I expect as far as communication?
You will want an Agent who listens to your goals, explains and identifies problems, and answers all of your questions. Communication is key, so ask your potential Agent how he or she plans on informing you of issues or concerns throughout the transaction as well as timelines and deadlines.
How do you get paid?
Inquire about the fee structure and representation. Listing Agents actually earn a commission and are paid by the Seller out of funds at the close of escrow. Ask your Agent to explain the process so you have a better understanding of how it works. Your Agent is a licensed professional and is there to help and protect your best interests.
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