When it’s time to sell, you definitely want to put your best foot forward to get the optimum value for your home. It’s hard to put personal attachment aside and scrutinize your living space from a stranger’s point of view. However, it’s better for your headspace, the buyer, and your wallet, if you can make the transition from dweller to seller.
Long-term plans include renovations to improve the value of your home and make it look more current for potential buyers. Updates to the kitchen and bathroom(s) deliver the biggest impact to the value of your home, so if you have money to invest, we suggest that you target these areas first. If you don’t have the dollars or time for renovations, here is a “quick tip list” that can be tackled in 7-10 days. Following these steps will make a huge impact on how quickly you find your home’s next owner.
Day 1 - Disassociate
It's best not to think possessively any more about your home. It can be tough, but try to be objective. This is no longer your home – It’s a house. A product that can be sold like a car, or a box of tea. This means changing your mentality with the intention of “letting go” of your emotional attachments to the property. You need to start thinking of the house as already belonging to a new owner while you make your preparations for the best end result.
Day 2 - De-Personalize
This naturally follows “disassociation.” Time to pack up the family heirlooms and photos of the kids. You might be a big fan of your purple cow collection, but your stunning collection could be a deterrent to a potential buyer. Buyers have trouble seeing past personal artefacts. It’s best to put them away so that a buyer isn’t distracted from imagining their own photos on the walls. You want the buyer to feel like they can see themselves living there & loving it.
Day 3 - De-Clutter Once you step outside of yourself and look at your home from a buyers perspective, you’ll probably notice that you’ve collected an amazing quantity of items (or "junk" pardon the term) that you haven’t used in over a year. Anything in this category should be removed from the house. Think of it as a head start on the packing you’ll have to do when you move. If you haven't touched it in a year, is it really worth packing? The same goes for boxes collecting dust in the basement, that have been there since you moved in - never having been unpacked in the first place.
Day 4 - Rearrange the closets
Buyers will open closet and cabinet doors to snoop inside. You don’t want stuff bursting out at them, or falling on their heads. Take 2/3's of the contents out of closets & cabinets to give them room to breathe. Neatly stack your dishes, hang your shirts the same way, face coffee cup handles in the same direction, etc. When a buyer sees your closets organized, it says to them, that you take good care of the rest of the house.
Day 5 - Get rid of some furniture
Every home looks better with less furniture, and buyers need room to move around. If you have furniture blocking paths or hiding a clear view into a room, it needs to go. If you’ve emptied a bookcase during the previous step, you can get rid of that too. Many people rent a storage unit for this transition period – and this too will help you prepare for your inevitable move. Just make sure that you leave enough furniture in each room to demonstrate its purpose. You don’t want a buyer saying, “What’s this room for?”
Day 6 - Remove your favourite “permanent” items
If you want to keep your built-in appliances, fixtures, chandeliers, window coverings, etc. – take them now. Buyers might get attached to what they see. But if they don’t see it, they won’t covet it. Once you tell a buyer that they can’t have an item, they tend to obsess – and this could ruin a deal.
Day 7 - Make minor repairs
If you have bright pink or fluorescent green walls, now is a perfect time to paint them a neutral colour. Don’t be “that house with the neon green bathroom.” Replace cracked tiles, patch holes in walls, fix leaking faucets, fix creaky floors and drawers that jam, replace burnt-bulbs, etc. This all contributes to a better overall impression on buyers.
Day 8 - Clean like a mad person
Make your home sparkle. Wash the windows, inside and out. Pressure-wash your sidewalks & exterior. Cobwebs are obviously a no-no. Vacuum, wax, polish, bleach and dust until your house virtually shines. Most importantly, clean and air out smelly areas. Odours are a major problem. You might love the smell of your dogs, or your incense, or your cooking – but I can assure you, strangers or potential buyers will not.
Day 9 - Scrutinize
Bring yourself back to Tip 1. Disassociate yourself, go outside, and open your front door. Then look back inside. Do you want to go in there? Does the home feel welcoming? Does it smell neutral? Hang out in the doorway of every room. Check out your hard work, and imagine that you’re the buyer. Does the furniture arrangement make sense? Are the window coverings hanging level? Does the room have impact?
If it looks like nobody lives in the house, you’re almost there!
Day 10 - Tune into your curb appeal
If a buyer gets turned off from inside the realtor’s car when they pull up for a showing, then you’ve done all this hard work for nothing. Make sure you make a great first impression with a mowed lawn, trimmed bushes, well-kept gardens, clear sidewalks, fresh paint and a nice, visible house number. You don't want old vehicles & a clutter of rakes at the side of the house to detract from your stunning petunias.
Selling your home can be a tough, emotional experience. However, when push comes to shove - the best solution, really is to remove attachment from the equation. Doing this makes it easy to see past your personal connections, and zero in on things you need to clean, improve, or remove in order to make your house attractive to potential buyers. Follow the tips, put in the effort, and reap the rewards by selling your home quickly, efficiently, and for the best dollar possible.