If you plan on selling your home this year, now’s the time to get going on preparing it for viewing and for selling. If you’ve ever watched the real estate shows on the decorating channels you know how important it can be to have your home show well. It doesn’t cost a lot to get top dollar for your place so why not take advantage of every opportunity to get the best price? If someone were to offer you $5,000 for a few weekends of housecleaning and painting, wouldn’t you jump at the chance? Putting this effort into your home could put thousands of dollars into your bank account in the end.
ALL THE WORLD IS A STAGE
With listings now on the Internet, people from all over the world can view your house from the comfort of their home. There is much more opportunity to pick and choose a home this way and homes that don’t show well are not going to pique interest from Net surfers.
If you’ve already purchased your next home, then selling your current one quickly is even more important. Don’t stress yourself out having it sit on the market for weeks when a little elbow grease could make a quick sale.
Most buyers make a decision to purchase a home within the first few minutes of viewing it, and a tidy yard makes an important first impression. Have a few pots of cheery flowers along the path or on the stairway or landing. A new mailbox and house numbers also make a good first impression. Touch up glaring faults like peeling paint, bad paint colour on a front-facing garage door and the front door. A welcome mat is always a nice touch.
INSIDE THE HOME
Think about the type of people who would be interested in your home. Will it more likely be a young family or a single person? If you have a large, four-bedroom split level, then it probably won’t be a single person who will be looking at your home. Focus your efforts on the areas you think would be most inviting to your potential buyers. For a young family, bedrooms, bathrooms and a safe yard will be important. A decent kitchen will also be necessary. Make sure all bedrooms are set up as bedrooms. Lose the spare bedroom home office/den and put a single bed, dresser and sitting chair in the room to show it for the bedroom it should be. A hint of a nursery, like a rocker and wicker bassinette in the corner, will let the young couple know that this home would be a great place to raise a family. If the kitchen isn’t large, make it feel spacious by removing countertop appliances and clutter so that the work surfaces are apparent.
Paint the bathroom(s) with a fresh, sunny colour. New towels, shower curtain and mats will make the space feel new and clean. Keep the clutter to a minimum. Store everyday items in decorative containers so that they are out of sight but still in easy reach.
Wall-to-wall carpeting is not a cheap thing to replace, so if your budget won’t allow for it try working with it. If the carpet is dirty have it professionally cleaned. If the colour is out of date paint the walls in a complimentary colour that will help the room blend together. Just as an example, a room with gold carpeting and bright-green walls will probably be too much for most buyers. Paint the walls in a soft-yellow tone so that they will blend with the carpet colour.
CLEAR THE CLUTTER
Clutter doesn’t just refer to toys strewn about and piles of shoes in the doorway. To a prospective homebuyer, things like a wall of family photographs, shelves filled with collectibles and too many items on tabletops can feel like clutter and make the space feel smaller. Remove all family photographs and pack them away. Clear the walls of all artwork and accessories and hang one or two large pieces of art that will act as focal points.
SHOW THE WINDOWS
Windows need to be seen by buyers. Remove draperies altogether if you have a great bay window with a nice view. If that seems too bare in the space then hang simple panels on each side so as not to block the window. In other rooms, simple rod curtains in solid co-ordinating colours should suffice. In the master bedroom, let the curtains pool on the floor to create a bit of romance.
PETS NOT FOR EVERYONE
We love our pets but not everyone is a pet lover. Ensure that your home is odour free and that pet beds, litter boxes and toys are well out of sight during a viewing. You probably don’t notice the smell of your pet but others will notice it right away. A little air freshening before the viewing is a good idea.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make your home a little more inviting to prospective buyers and it might just pocket you a bit of coin in the end.
Good luck with your sale! – Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Winnipeg