When selling your home, the 3 most important ingredients are #1: Getting your house looking as good as you possibly can. #2: Have it seen by as many people as possible. And #3: Price it right. Achieving any 2 of these goals but missing the mark on the third can be very detrimental to your success in getting what you want for your property.
When getting your home ready to sell, the worst mindset you can be in is thinking, "Well, they'll be able to see through the flaws. They can imagine what it will look like with a fresh coat of paint. It's just stuff. I'm sure they'll be able to see through it all and appreciate how great this really place is". You have one chance to make a first impression. Paint the picture for them. Don't expect potential buyers to have to imagine how great your place CAN look. Show it to them. You are only looking at your own place, but your place may be the 6th place that day that a buyer may have seen. Maybe the 20th that month and they will be comparing each property to each other. Shoot for as much WOW factor as you can get. Take a weekend and go to some open houses. Nothing will educate you more than seeing what your competition is doing.
Make a list of all small repairs that need to be done. Fix that loose deck railing, patch those gashes in the drywall, figure out why that light fixture isn't working. Little things add up in the mind of someone imagining living there. And paint, paint, paint. Pick something light and reflective to brighten the whole place up. The colour you choose does not have to be your cup of tea. But making the place light and bright and neutral will make for a fabulous blank palette. Wash the windows and open the drapes. Get as much light in as possible.
You have to pack to move whether you like it or not. You can do it after you sell like in years gone by. But things have changed over the years. Selling your place crowded with all of your personal belongings around and family photos on the walls could very well affect how much your place sells for. By stripping out as much clutter as possible, you stand to make much more money when you ultimately sell. A clean, bright, sparse environment helps people imagine themselves living there.
A newer trend in home selling is staging your home with rented furnishings that you might never want in your home. Sounds weird doesn't it. Abstract paintings you would never hang, modern furniture you would never buy and fake green apples that would put a tooth out if you ever bit into one. But what's important is to stop thinking of it as your home. As cold as it may sound, you now have to think of it as "product". Something to sell. You want to present it in the most neutral way you can to appeal to the most number of people. I can guarantee you that there isn't a real estate agent in town that wouldn't LOVE to hear that studies has proven that staging does nothing to raise the price of a house. They'd all be overjoyed. No one would do it. No one. It's is time consuming, expensive to an agent since it is the real estate agent that pays for it. But the truth is, it works. It is a hassle, no doubt. But the best thing to do is to move 3/4 of your stuff to a storage unit or somewhere else. After an offer is accepted, you can bring back just what you need to get you to the closing. Any hassle you go through to prepare to hit the market, just means preparing for the actual move will be that much easier. Staging your home with or without outside furnishings really is worth it or no one would bother.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PHOTOS:
Let me say that once again. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PHOTOS. We live in an internet world and that's where a lot of people will see your place first. The better the photos look on line, the more people will come to see it. The more people that see it the more offers you'll get. The more offers you get, the better your chances of getting a higher price. I recently had a client that was contemplating a rental unit down at Harbour Front. I sent her a listing for many thousands per month in one of the towers. She looked at it and said, it looks awful. It looks dingy. She said it looks like a basement apartment. Needless to say there was zero chance that we were going to make an appointment and go look at it. But you KNOW that if we were standing in that apartment that costs thousands per month, she would not have thought it looked dingy or like a basement apartment. But the photos made it look that way. They were bad and so that was it. It was over. We didn't go. Your friends can stand in your place and ask why do they have to stage it? They're crazy, this place is lovely. And it may be lovely. But if the photos don't show that, it doesn't matter. It's over. It will inevitably effect the offers that come in.
Taking care of ingredient #1 will go a LONG way towards achieving ingredient #2. Getting as many people to see the property. You've fixed the little flaws, stripped it down to a sparser feel, painted and brightened the place and it looks fabulous. Your agent will now list it on the MLS system reserved exclusively for real estate professionals and on Realtor.ca where the general public can view the listing. Now, “Coming Soon” ads can be posted on Facebook and Instagram to start getting a buzz going. There is a variety of types of open houses that can be implemented. In Covid times all open houses have been put on hold, but they’ll be back. Real Estate Agent Only Open House are effective. These tend to take place on Thursday afternoons when agents will peruse the city seeing what's new out there.
A newer trend is a Neighbours Only Cocktail Open House. This would take place in the evening like 6:30 - 8:30 where some snacks and wine are served. Invitations are hand delivered all around the neighbourhood. If the house for sale is in a half decent neighbourhood, a large percentage of the people that come to see it live within 500 yards of it. They have found the area they want to be in. Now they just want to up-grade or down size. A neighbours only open house speaks right to the people in the immediate area who are very likely your target audience or know someone who has wants to get into the neighbourhood.
Public open houses on Saturdays and Sundays are an extremely important part of the process for successful results.
Pricing it right. Pricing your home right where it should be is crucial. In this day and age the trend is that homes tend to sell for over asking. That's partially because often they are priced under to allow more buyers to get interested in it and make an offer. More bids will usually translate into a higher selling price. Pricing it at the top of its pricing potential could easily scare away many potential buyers from the lower end of its pricing potential. The public generally is aware that prices often go over the asking price, but if you price it way too low you're really not speaking to the sweet spot of your audience. They may be cognizant that the price will settle higher than asking, but you can only stretch that so far. You want to price it where you stand to have the most number of people take a serious interest in the property.
CONSIDER GOING TO THE COTTAGE DURING SHOWING WEEK
It’s really important to let potential buyers view the property in private. So, every time you get an appointment to view, you have to vacate the premises. And it’s hard to cook and sleep and live in the house while still being away for showings, and having it look perfect. If at all possible, it is always best to stay with family or go to the cottage. You can extend the hours that someone is able to view from 6:00 AM to midnight allowing for more people to come to see it.
When selling your home, one goal is to avoid offers with conditions. A common condition is on a satisfactory home inspection being done. Having a pre-inspection done by a reputable company can simplify the entire process. This report then is made available to anyone who is interested. This also means you don’t run the risk of half the people coming to see the house wanting to send their own inspector. That could amount to a ton of time with various inspectors coming through.
HAVING SAID ALL OF THIS:
People who go out and actually look at a couple dozen places in person, have probably looked at 10 times that online. This means a massive majority of decisions are made before your potential buyer gets up out of their chair. Your online presence has got to POP or they will click to the next listing.
All final decisions are yours. Getting a house ready to sell is a big job. And I understand that not everyone has the time to be able to move ¾ of your belongings into a storage unit and move to a cottage for 10 days. I really do understand that. So, together we will sculpt a plan and proceed down a road that you are comfortable with.