Don’t rush to put the house on the market before it’s presentable. Selling a property requires strategic thinking.
First, take a step back and see it like a prospective buyer would.
Identify the competition, and then make the house look better than others on the market. Care and attention to details will impress potential buyers and, if the house is move in ready, that means less work for them and possibly a better offer for you.
Start outside by putting everything in order and keep it that way for showings. Organize your garden shed, garage and outbuildings. Park machinery and implements neatly and repair fences, gates and hinges.
Touch up paint on the house and declutter the garage to make it appear as large as possible.
Keep the grass cut, the weeds pulled and the snow shovelled.
For the inside of the house, declutter and get rid of unnecessary stuff.
If the furnishings are too big or abundant for the space, downsize. The corners of the room need to be seen, so remove extra or oversized plants, fans, gym equipment, chairs and tables.
Don’t hide damage to flooring, countertops, walls or other permanent fixtures. Reveal, don’t conceal, problem areas and be sure to reflect deficiencies and necessary repairs in the list price.
Paint touchups are a cheap way to make things look better. Fix dripping taps and leaky toilets. Not doing this will make the prospective purchaser think that you do not look after the home properly.
Clear entry areas of extra coats, boots and shoes. Box everything that you won’t need before the move.
It is not a good idea to fill the basement with boxes because buyers want to inspect the basement.
Crammed spaces give viewers the perception that there is not enough storage space and that the house is bursting at the seams.
Your home may feel barren to you but the buyers will spend more time in a neat and tidy home.
When the house is on the market, it has to be clean and ready for showing at a moment’s notice.
Countertops must be washed, bathrooms should sparkle and clean bedding and curtains should be used. It means vacuuming, sweeping and washing floors and eliminating soap scum in the bathtub and stains in the toilets.
Scrub the kitchen, paying special attention to the drawers, dishwasher, fridge and stove. Shine the windows, remove ash from the fireplace and get rid of carpet stains.
Remove dying plants, throw rugs and family photos. Store toothbrushes and makeup out of sight, clear nightstands and dressers and tidy the laundry room.
Potential buyers want to know exactly how many bedrooms are available so using a room for storage will affect their perception of the house. Rent storage space off site if necessary.
Rearrange furniture to create an airy, inviting space. Add seasonal touches if desired and ensure burned out light bulbs are replaced. Have proper ventilation and fresh air and keep the home at a comfortable temperature.
Don’t leave dated or worn fixtures for the next owner to replace. The best way to increase value is to implement periodic upgrades of light fixtures, taps and faucets, door and cabinet hardware and window treatments.
Bathrooms should be in show home condition. Buy a new shower curtain and towels if necessary. Add decorative soaps and candles.
Some potential buyers are really averse to animals. If you have pets, vacuum daily to keep the hair under control and crate them or remove them from the property while it is being shown.
Don’t forget about safety and security. Gun collections present a major safety hazard. Pack them away along with precious items like jewelry.
Plan ahead if selling this spring and then the tasks will be manageable. Make a to do list and whittle away at it throughout the winter.
Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.