Fall is the perfect time to list your home And with BC’s competitive housing market, it’s important to take the necessary steps to set you up for home-selling success. Here are my tried, tested and true steps to making a successful home listing:
1. Disconnect emotionally
It’s only natural that our relationship with our homes is an emotional one. We spend the majority of our time in them, we create memories, and we raise our children and pets in them. So, when it comes to selling, it’s perfectly normal to feel all the feels.
However, removing the emotional connection is key during the selling process. Once you decide to list your home, make an effort to start the process of emotional detachment. This will help you look at the home with a more neutral lens to see it through a buyer’s eyes.
Removing emotional attachment also helps you decide upon what updates need to be made to make the property more appealing to investors. Also, when the time comes to negotiate, your emotional connection won’t cloud the process.
Remember, at the end of the day this is a business transaction and you need ensure you’re getting the most value from the deal.
While the family photos, prized art collections and personal memorabilia mean a lot to you, they may put off prospective buyers. Home buyers want to see the property as a blank canvas on which they can paint their own future. Seeing remnants from your life - and your personal tastes - can distract buyers. If they have a completely different design style or an opposing lifestyle to your own, they won’t be able to see past it and interest will wane.
When you list your home, pack up all of the personal items and store them for safekeeping. Don’t worry, you can pull them out when you personalize your new space. But, for the time being, depersonalize and keep your listed home neutral in order appeal to as many buyers as possible.
While you may not be a candidate for an episode of Hoarders, you likely have overlooked clutter in your own home. Those covert junk piles, under-the-bed storage, and overflowing closets may be harmless, but they can turn off prospective buyers in an instant.
Decluttering your home gives a sense of space, highlights the full potential of the property and gives the buyer freedom to envision their own stuff in there instead.
Use the opportunity of selling your home to declutter. Purge what you no longer need, donate to charity or give items away to friends and family who may use them more. And, if you really must keep the items, store them until you move.
4. Make a list of home updates that will increase value
When it comes to selling your home, it’s important to sweat the small stuff (and the big stuff too). With our busy lives we can let minor repairs slide - stuff like wobbly cabinet handles, mis-aligned hinges and out-of-place floorboards. An experienced buyer will be going through the home with a fine toothed comb, pointing out the flaws and deducting that from their offer. Having all of the small home improvements in order prior to listing is important.
While small-ticket items like basic repairs and a solid interior paint job make a home appear more polished and well-finished, it’s the big-ticket items that add more value.
There’s a saying in the real estate business: “you’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen”.
Investing in updates to your kitchen as a first priority will increase the listing value of your home almost instantly - and chances are you’ll make at least 85% of the renovation costs back.
As a starting point, look at the cabinets and countertops to see what needs to be reimagined to make your kitchen shine. Something as simple as new cabinet handles and a paint job may be all you need to turn the kitchen into a truly special space.
5. Purchase new appliances
Replacing old appliances can drive the perception of value and quality in your home. Start with the kitchen and assess the age, durability and track record of the appliances. If they are more than 10 years old and heading towards their twilight years, consider replacement. If your washer and dryer are not dependable, they may also need to be replaced.
These small value-added purchases can go a long way for home-buyers - many of whom welcome the ease of purchasing a home that is 100% move-in ready.
6. Change lighting to showcase rooms to their fullest extent
Lighting design is surprisingly important when it comes to highlighting a room to its fullest potential. Does your current lighting scheme really accent the features in each room or does it cast shadows or leave certain rooms feeling dark and uninviting?
Do an audit and try to look at each room through a newcomer’s eyes. While fancy and expensive lighting fixtures are the stuff that Pinterest is made of, a lighting refresh doesn’t have to break the bank. Prioritize functionality first, ensuring that the most important rooms in the house, such as bedrooms, living room and kitchen, are well light. Then, if there’s budget left over look at a few signature pieces that will really make the room pop.
7. Create curb appeal
In this industry, first impressions are everything. Curb appeal is ultimately how attractive a property is from the outside - the “curb,” if you will. While your home may be newly renovated and modern inside, it doesn’t mean a thing if the exterior of the home is run down. The buyer will have already made their first impression before setting foot in the place.
Starting off with the easy-to-fix items is great start. This could include washing the outside of the home, cleaning windows and screens, removing clutter from the yard, and installing some exterior lights. Basic landscaping and the addition of flower pots can give a warm and welcoming appearance.
However, larger improvements, like painting the exterior, fixing decks or stairs, may be required to make the property pass the first-look test.
8. Invest in staging
Once all of the heavy lifting of home improvements and decluttering has taken place, it’s time to stage the home. This is one of my favourite steps in the process as it allows me to use my interior design skills to help my clients merchandize their home. The trick is to keep the home interior design neutral, but modern and stylish in order to appeal to as many buyers as possible.
If you’re up on home interior trends and have a solid selection of neutral, but contemporary furniture items, you may be able to stage the home with your own items. Less is more, and sellers often find they need to remove excess furniture. If your decor style is a little bit more niche, it’s best to go with a staging company that can provide the aesthetic we need to appeal to buyers. There are staging specialists who rent out furniture, help with interior design, then remove the furniture when the property has been sold. They’re the unsung heros of the home selling process.
9. Emphasize unique selling features
Have a think about the unique features of your home and what might capture the attention of a buyer. These could be parts of the home that you take for granted in everyday life; but to someone with fresh eyes, might seem enticing. Perhaps it’s that little window nook in the bedroom that offers up incredible views. Or, maybe it’s the big bay windows in the kitchen that allow sunlight to stream in as you have your morning coffee. Or maybe it’s the cozy fireplace you curl up beside to read.
Whatever the feature is, pay careful attention to how you accent it in the home improvement and staging process. Maybe you place a feature chair by the fireplace or place a bright floral arangement on the kitchen counter to draw the eye there. Using design tricks like this makes the home feature stand out in the mind’s eye of the buyer. Just think about it, a buyer might have seen 10 homes in a short period of time. What will make yours stand out?
10. Professional cleaning and removal of problem scents
It goes without saying, but putting the finishing touches on your home before hosting viewings is crucial. Have the place professionally deep cleaned from top to bottom. It might cost a little bit of money, but it will save you time and the headache - trust me on this!
Be sure to consider odors and address problem scents right off the bat. Because we live in our homes, we can get used to certain scents, whether it be pets, smoking, or cooking. Humans have a strong sense of smell - especially when they are somewhere they’ve never been. The last thing you want is for a potential buyer to be put off by a smell in your home!
So, there you have it. With a little bit of planning and some start-up capital, you can drive higher value and faster turn-around of your home sale.
Are you looking to list your home? Contact me and let’s chat!