Getting ready to sell your house? Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work! Selling a home, after all, entails a whole lot more than just planting a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn or uploading a few random photos of your place—especially if you are angling for the most cash. (And, honestly, who isn’t?
So before you put your house on the market, peruse this checklist of things you must do in preparation. Some of these tips are surprisingly easy, while others might require a bit more elbow grease. But they are bound to pay off once buyers start ooh-ing and ahh-ing over your place.
The Real Estate Market is HOT, HOT, HOT right now! Homes across the Maritimes are selling like wildfire – and often over the asking price - thanks to accelerated markets triggering bidding wars due to high demand, low supply, and rock-bottom mortgage rates.
But in a time when buyers often do not feel they have the liberty to include a condition in their offer pending a home inspection, it’s more important than ever for sellers to take steps that protect them from hassles and even possibly a lawsuit if something major is uncovered after closing.
Choose a Real Estate Agent.
Think you can sell your home yourself, and pocket the cash you would otherwise pay a real estate agent? It can be tempting, especially in a hot market, but in our opinion – you should resist the urge, It has been found that a “for sale by owner” transaction rarely goes as seamless as planned - leading you to sacrifice both money and time.
That said, don’t just blindly hire the real estate agent who most recently sent you a flyer or the one your uncle’s friend’s co-worker’s cousin used. Do some research to find a real estate agent who is knowledgeable about your specific market, and then interview them to make sure that they are a good fit. Your real estate agent should be someone you feel comfortable working with, whom you trust to sell your house for top dollar
Consider your curb appeal.
Yes, for better or worse, buyers do tend to judge a book by its cover. You want to make sure potential buyers’ first impression of your home is a good one—and inspires them to stop by the open house or schedule a tour—so they can see more.
By investing some effort in relatively easy fixes, like planting colorful flowers and repainting your front door, the outside of your house can beckon prospective buyers to come on in.
If you’re not sure how to improve your home’s curb appeal, ask your real estate agent for advice on how others in your area have improved the exterior before selling their houses.
Declutter living areas.
Less is definitely more when it comes to getting your house ready to show,.
Do a clean sweep of counters, windowsills, tables, and all other visible areas, and then tackle behind closed doors: closets, drawers, and cupboards—since virtually nothing is off-limits for curious buyers.
If the house is overflowing with stuff, buyers might worry that the house won’t have ample space for their own belongings. They won’t sign up to pay a mortgage if they think they’ll also have to rent a storage space.
Take your excess stuff and donate it or pack it up to be stored off-site. Not only will clearing clutter help your house look more appealing to buyers, it will also help you once you’ve accepted an offer and it’s time to move into a new home. Moving out will be easier if some of your stuff is already be packed.
Depersonalize your space.
The next step on your declutter list? Sellers should remove any distractions so the buyers can visualize themselves and their family living in the property. Sellers should remove personal items and family photos, as well as bold artwork and furniture that might make the home less appealing to the general public. The goal is to create a blank canvas on which buyers can project their own visions of living there and loving it.
Repaint walls to neutral tones.
You might love that orange accent wall, but if it’s your potential buyer’s least favorite color, that could be a turnoff.
You’re pretty safe with a neutral color because it’s rare that someone hates it, but the other benefit is that a light color allows [buyers] to envision what the walls would look like with the color of their choice.
It’s the seller’s job to help buyers picture themselves in the house. If they don’t feel at home, they’ll probably look at other real estate options.
Touch up any scuff marks.
Even if you’re not doing a full-on repainting project, pay special attention to scrubbing and then touching up baseboards, walls, and doors to make the house sparkle and look cared-for.
Selling almost any home can be tricky but selling a home with lots of little problems and small repair needs can be downright difficult. When buyers walk into an open house, or go on a home tour, they want to fall in love with the house, not add a bunch of small repairs to their to-do list.
In order to impress buyers (and sell your house quickly), fix up your house before putting it on the market. With a home that is fixed up and move-in ready, you will probably see more interest, and may even see multiple offers.
Fix any loose handles.
It’s a small thing, sure, but you’d be surprised by the negative effect a loose handle or missing lightbulb can have on a buyer. “It can make them stop and think ‘What else is broken here?’”
For a buyer, submitting an offer, and later committing to a mortgage, is a big deal. When you’re selling your home, you don’t want to give any buyers doubt that your house will make a great home.
Add some plants.
When staging your house, remember that green is good: Plants create a bright and more welcoming environment. You might also want to consider a bouquet of flowers or bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter or dining table.
Some plants and natural elements will impress buyers by bringing some extra color and life to your decor.
Conduct a smell test.
Foul odors, even slight ones, can be a deal breaker, and the problem is that you might not even notice them.
We recommend inviting an unbiased third party in to try to detect any pet smells or lingering odors from your kitchen.
If the smells are pervasive, prepare to do some deep cleaning as many buyers are on to seller’s “masking techniques” such as candles or plug-in room deodorizers. Plus, covering up odors with a stronger scent might backfire if the buyer doesn’t like the smell of lavender or artificial citrus.
Clean, clean, clean.
Once you’re done cleaning your house, clean some more. Even if you’re not worried about what buyers will think of your home’s scent, you want your property to look spotless.
Think of it this way: You’ll probably have professional photos taken of your house when it looks its best. Naturally, you’ll want your house to always look like it does in those pictures. When selling your home, it’s important to keep everything tidy for buyers, and you never know when a buyer is going to want to schedule a last-minute tour. Remember to take special care with the bathroom, making sure the tile, counters, shower, and floors shine.
From art to jewelry, keep your treasures are out of sight, either locked up or stored off-site.
You can’t trust everyone who comes into your house, even when you’re trying to sell it. Sometimes things disappear during an open house, and there’s little the seller can do to get those things back. Take care to hide your valuables or move them to a safe space away from your home.
Does your house scream 1985? Nothing invigorates a house like some new furnishings or a perfectly chosen mirror. The key is getting your home staged by a professional.
Home stagers will evaluate the current condition and belongings in your house and determine what elements might raise the bar. They might recommend you buy or rent some items, or they might just reorganize your knickknacks and bookshelves in a whole new (that is, better) way. Ask your real estate agent and they may be able to guide you in the right direction.
We have included a checklist of things to consider before listing your home, for you to print off and check at your own pace.
Deciding on the price of your home is challenging for many people. It can be hard for sellers to take emotions out of this decision as your home can hold such sentimental value. That said, it’s crucial to strategically price your home in a competitive seller’s market. If your asking price is initially too high, sellers often end up chasing buyers, rather than the alternative. Asking a fair price for your home in a seller’s market will typically result in multiple-offer situations. With this, sellers typically receive higher than their asking price due to bidding wars between buyers. This is why strategic pricing is so important!
An effective way in deciding on a strategic price for your home is to compare it with other homes for sale in the neighborhood. Comparing the location, size and condition of your home with others will help you nail down a price range. With this information, you can add or subtract a dollar amount depending on potential repairs or unique characteristics your home has to offer.
Given the severity of COVID-19, New Brunswick has experienced several additional safety precautions. To name a few, sellers must sign a “COVID-19 Sellers Form” stating they allow people to enter and view their home, given they’ve answered and passed several screen questions. Additionally, everyone going in and out of the house must be documented.
It is important that home vendors provide a safe space that has been thoroughly cleaned prior to viewings. Vendors are encouraged to leave sanitizer and face masks for potential buyers to use while touring. Homes must also be sanitized between each viewing. Ensuring the safety of both buyers and sellers is a critical part of the real estate market we are experiencing in 2021.