Here are a few ideas to help make your home ready for the spring real estate market!
1. Don't underestimate cleanliness!
A good cleaning can go a long way! Time and time again I have seen buyers put off by a dirty home. The lack of cleaning immediately gives the buyers a negative perception and reflects poorly on the overall condition of the home. If the current owners don't care enough to simply vacuum and wash the windows, are they really paying attention to the furnace, roof and other major maintenance items?
2. De-clutter and de-personalize.
One of the most important steps to take in preparing your home for sale is to de-clutter. This process involves removing excess furniture, appliances, mementos/memorabilia, and personal effects such as family pictures and portraits. Time and time again I have walked into rooms crammed full of storage boxes or other items accumulated over a persons lifetime. When this happens it makes the home feel smaller and harder to view. Furniture that doesn't fit with the room or is super outdated should be removed. Having counter tops (kitchen, bathroom, etc) and tables free of items will make the home seem more spacious and provide less distraction to buyers. Removing personal effects and pictures can help a buyer view the home as more their own versus someone else's they are just visiting. The side benefit of this is it protects you and your family's privacy.
3. Small tasteful renovations can increase salability.
One factor that can't be over looked is the salability of a property. Small tasteful renovations can go a long way to making the property more attractive and marketable. Landscaping and curb appeal will give prospective buyers a good feeling as soon as they pull up which can translate into positive emotions about the rest of the house. Simple things like painting (neutral colours), modern light fixtures, and door knobs can help the property become more appealing without hurting your pocketbook.
4. Focus on overall maintenance and structural components.
No matter how gourmet the kitchen or spa-like the bathroom, no buyers will be able to look past a leaky roof or water prone basement. Overall maintenance is important to keep on top of over the entire course of property ownership. When left to the end it can put a severe dent in your bank account. A savvy buyer and good home inspector will pick apart mechanical and structural issues with a house so avoiding these areas will only delay the inevitable pain.
When viewing a home with prospective buyers the key areas I focus on are: roof, windows, doors, furnace, and hot water tank. Outside I look for grading/drainage issues for possible signs of future water problems. Tidying up any maintenance issues will make it that must easier for prospective buyers to fall in love with the rest of your house and the transaction to complete smoothly.
5. My personal pet peeves!
Burned out light bulbs. Such a simple item but so often I come across burned out or missing light bulbs! A burned out bulb will not allow the room to show as bright as it could and it leaves an impression of homeowner carelessness with the buyer.
Dirty bathroom fans. A dirty, dusty, clogged bathroom fan is another small and simple area to clean and show you care about your home and take extra steps to keep it looking good.
Clogged and over grown eaves troughs. Unfortunately I have seen eaves troughs so bad they almost have a whole garden growing out of them. Take the time to clean out your eaves troughs. This will not only help your home to show better but it will also preserve life of your roof.
About the author: Peter M Leveille is a licensed real estate agent in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He has been selling real estate for 15 years and is the Broker and Owner of AB Realty LTD.