Selling a property

Tips on preparing to sell your home

When it comes time to sell your home, it’s important to make good decisions in relation to the timing, listing price and marketing of your property. After all, your goal is to obtain the best financial return possible, after expenses.

While several factors can affect the selling price of any property, some of them are outside your direct control, such as the property location, or the overall real estate market. One of the primary factors within your control is to take care of the many details that will increase the overall appeal of your home.

Pricing

Setting the price is a very important part of obtaining a successful sale. In the recent busy real estate market, a house priced to look like a bargain would generally attract multiple offers, and would likely sell above the listed price. This may lead some people to make the mistake of listing the original price higher, hoping to attract multiple offers and obtain an even higher end result. This is not an effective strategy.

The risk is that the home may appear to be overpriced and therefore not generate strong enough interest. In a busy market, if a house doesn’t sell quickly, it may raise questions in the minds of buyers as to whether there is a problem with the house.

Your Realtor should be able to advise you on the best listing price for your home to attract multiple offers.

Timing

If you have been transferred to a new job, or for any number of other reasons, you may not have much choice about the timing of your sale. If you do, however it may be wise to put your home on the market during times of lower competition and higher demand. Traditionally that time is the spring.

In Toronto the spring real estate market comes early, in early February. If you wait until March or April, usually many more properties have been listed, and your the advantage in starting early will be lost.

Of course, in February or March your garden won’t show very well. What can you do about it? If you have pictures of your garden, why not mount a display in your home, or provide them to your Realtor to include in their marketing materials?

Marketing

Marketing is important. Most houses are sold using the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Buyers generally retain a realtor to assist them in their home search and to negotiate the purchase.

At the same time, buyers also like to search the Internet themselves for interesting properties. Sometimes a buyer will fall in love with a property that is quite different than what he or she was initally looking for.

Therefore, it is important that your house be marketed on the Internet as well, and that your Realtor and has a good and appealing website.

Areas of your home to attend to:

Exterior Curb Appeal

What is curb appeal? Don’t kid yourself, the first time a potential buyer sees your home, it will be judged. Small defects, such a loose railing or chipped paint will not be overlooked. Look at your home with fresh eyes, like someone who has never been to your home before. Many of the problems you will find are easy to fix, and it will put money into your pocket.

The Front Entrance

The Front Hall is the first interior impression of the home. Make sure it’s neat and tidy, and well lit. Remove extra clutter, coats, boots and shoes. Provide a rug for wet shoes and boots in winter or spring.

Kitchen and Baths

These are very important parts of your home. However, make sure to consult with your Realtor if you think your kitchen or bathroom could use some help. Major renovations can be expensive. Your goal is to get the best return on the sale, and sometimes small improvements will go a long way.

Start by clearing and cleaning the countertops, the fridge door and so on. Get some fresh new towels for the bathroom, add a new shower curtain and put out some decorative soaps and even a candle or two. A few well chosen potted plants, some paint touch-ups, a clean well lit environment and a few nice accessories can go a long way.

The Basement

Aim to keep the basement neat and clean. In getting your house ready for showings the basement may tend to become cluttered. Make sure to provide easy access to the electrical panel, furnace, water heater and so on.

General atmosphere

You should ask your Realtor for their opinion and advice on creating an atmosphere to make your home the most appealing to prospective buyers. As well, there are firms available that do “staging”, arranging your furniture and accessories to maximize the attractiveness of your home. They may even supplement from their own collection or rent some pieces for you. Your Realtor should be able to provide you with references to one or more of these companies if you request.