Congratulations on being in the real estate game—a smart decision given the fact that our market is one of the only markets to not only stay stable but actually continue to grow over the last few years.
But how do you buy and sell real estate for a good price? And how do you do it within the timeframe you need? Well, the first step: show me whatcha workin’ with.
Step 1: Show me Whatcha Workin’ With
The first thing you need to do is take realistic stock of your home. I say realistic because it is easy to have rosy memories about your home but quite frankly homebuyers don’t care—they can’t buy your memories. Instead, make a realistic list about your home. Ask yourself the following questions, and write down the answers (because when it comes time to tell someone how you priced your house how you did you need to be able to answer):
- How is the vibe of your neighbourhood?
- What specific amenities are you close to?
- How much money have you invested in the home and what upgrades have been made?
- How good is the access to public transport?
- What are the best parts of the home?
- How are the school system, rec centres, places of worship and community nearby?
- What repairs need to be made? Will you make them before the sale or not?
- What size is your lot and how many square-feet of living space do you have?
- In what condition are the foundations, walls, furnace, air con and roof?
Next, practice describing your home. You need to get to a point where your feelings are removed from the description, since they aren’t buying your memories.
This description needs to be realistic, because cherry-coating it won’t help. If you’re home needs a lot of repairs and upgrades—then classify it as a fixer-upper, and focus on the built-in value like great neighbourhood, large square footage, professional landscaping, awesome school system, etc.
Be realistic—and positive!, but also honest.
Step 2: Getcha Money’s Worth
Getting a good price when selling homes is the toughest part. But to make that process easier you need to increase the value of your home in any way possible. This means working, from the outside-in, to fix up the place, because living in a house for years takes its toll and small repairs may be needed.
When working form the outside in, you need to begin with the yards. Your yard is a homebuyer’s first impression—and a driveby-ers only impression!–so make it a good one. Tidy up the yard, keep the lawn mowed, fix any damage in the fence or outside of the property, remove oil stains from the driveway, fix broken patio/walkway stones, replace missing shingles, etc.
Next, begin on the inside. Start with any minor repairs that have been on your honey-do list for a while. Then begin making small repairs like filling any holes in the wall, fixing damaged baseboards, filling in nicks in the bathtub, replacing broken faucets, etc.
The next step: clean, clean clean. Cleanliness is next to godliness they say. Well—THEY must have been talking about real estate. The overall cleanliness of a home is the strongest indicator for buyers of what kind of care has been taken for the home. This extreme-home cleaning goes beyond the usual tidying. You need to wash the walls, bleach the bathroom, polish the wood, and clean everything with a toothbrush (yes—THAT kind of clean. Military clean!). You need to toothbrush all the gunk out around the faucets in the bathroom and by the baseboards. You need to finally get that stain out of the floor you’ve been meaning to do. If you don’t have the time, or inclination, to clean this well—call a cleaning service (this is a great investment!!).
Step 3: Stage the Place
There is a difference in how homes look when they are lived in and how they look when people are selling them for top dollar. The difference is staging.
Staging your home means decluttering and depersonalizing it to the extreme. This includes:
- Taking down family pictures
- Clearing nicknacks from tables and shelves
- Giving the home a minimalist decorating scheme (it makes the house look bigger and show better)
- Typically remove at least one piece of furniture from every room
- Use fancy soaps and towels in the washroom
- Organize all your cabinets and closets
- You’ll see a noticeable difference if you take care of the above.
Step 4: Check your Sight Lines
Sight lines in a home are important; they guide you room to room and determine how you view the space (as roomy or cluttered). Ensure that your lines are clean within rooms and from room to room. This usually entails re-arranging or removing bulky furniture.
Step 5: Market the Place
Once your home is looking good—and you’ve decided if you still want to sell now that it looks so good—you need to decide whether to employ a real estate agent, or to go it alone or with a FSBO approach.
If you’re going it alone, ensure that you promote your home properly, by creating great sales material and attracting buyers through top-notch marketing. If/When that doesn’t work—go with the best, and give me a call.