The advice of your RE/MAX LifeStyles Realty (Maple Ridge) sales associate and the tips in our exclusive Fit to Sell program can help you generate higher offers for your home and keep more money in your pocket.
Years of experience and research have shown that homes that are properly prepared to sell show better and sell more quickly than their less prepared counterparts. Having your home in tip-top shape will help generate stronger and higher offers compared to homes that are not as properly prepared.
Here are some of the tips and ideas to consider for making your home “fit to sell”.
Air Quality, Odour, Pets, Holidays
Air quality, odour, pets and holiday decorations can determine whether or not buyers will make an offer on your home. These items are not factors that typically come to mind when thinking of saleability, but they can affect how “at home” buyers feel when visiting your home. If these items are not considered, buyers may not be able to envision themselves “at home” in your home and may move on.
- Check for mold, mildew or water damage and have it repaired.
- Depending on what year your house was built, have your house checked for asbestos and lead paint.
- Inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace if needed.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes or other substances inside your home.
- Make sure that your garbage and compost are emptied regularly to avoid smells.
- Avoid cooking with strong seasonings and foods that have a lingering smell.
- Remove your pets while the house is being shown.
- Remove any signs of the pets (e.g. food and water bowls, toys, litter box, leashes).
- If your pets must stay in the house, hide any sign of the pet during showings.
- Keep the litter box out of sight and clean daily.
- Make sure to clean up any pet excrement in your yard.
- If your home is for sale during a holiday, decorate using items that are simple and nondenominational.
- Any holiday specific decorations need to be removed immediately after the celebrations.
- Ensure that your decorations do not create ‘clutter’ in your home.
First impressions count and the first thing that buyers see when coming to visit your house is its exterior. Your exterior says a lot about how your home is maintained both inside and out. When buyers see an attractive exterior they will be motivated to stop and look at the interior as well.
- Make a list of major repairs that are needed such as roofing, siding and lighting. Make as many of these repairs as possible.
- Make a list of minor repairs needed such as painting, or minor landscaping. Make as many of these repairs as possible.
- Sweep or shovel walkways, driveways, patio/deck (salt in the winter).
- Maintain front, back and side yard. Ensure lawns are mowed, shrubs are pruned and
flower beds are weeded.
- Add flowers or winter arrangements on your front porch and/or in front of the garage.
- Remove all festive lights and decorations.
- Ensure that your yards (both front and back) are free of clutter.
Depersonalizing is an important step when it comes to selling your home. It is challenging because you have to start thinking of your home as a “model home” and not part of your identity. Buyers need to be able to envision themselves as living in your home, not merely as guests visiting.
- Remove all personal and family photos.
- Remove all memorabilia (e.g., posters on walls).
- Pre-pack books and music that do not appeal to a wide range of buyers.
- Pre-pack your collections.
- Remove and pre-pack any items that could be potentially offensive or disagreeable.
- Store away and organize children’s toys, games and books.
- Store away and organize pet toys and pet spaces (e.g., litter boxes).
- Remove “to-do” lists and calendars from the wall and refrigerator.
Up-to-date and well cared for flooring is one of the most important features that buyers consider in a home. Flooring can be an important indicator of the quality of maintenance of a home.
- If the carpets look worn out or dirty, have them professionally cleaned.
- If the carpets are old, damaged or significantly out of date, consider replacement flooring.
- Take into consideration the rooms that you are putting carpet in, as this will help to determine what style you select (e.g. bedroom vs. rec room).
- If you need to replace the carpet, select something that will work with the existing flooring in the house.
- If you have vinyl flooring, consider what condition it is in and if it needs to be replaced. Keep in mind that different looks can be created with vinyl, including ceramic, slate and stone without the added expense.
- If you have hardwood flooring, even if it is underneath carpet, consider what condition it is in. Refinish the flooring if possible.
- Ensure that the flooring and carpets are clean before every showing.
- Remove and replace any cracked floor tiles.
Furniture Placement & Lighting
Placing furniture and lighting in proper places can help show buyers see the specific functions of each room, as well as show off the best features of each room. Consider how the buyers will walk through each room. Also, ensure that the lighting in your home is on for pictures and showing.
- Consider how much furniture is in each room – too much furniture can make a room look small.
- Arrange furniture to ensure proper traffic flow from room to room.
- If furniture is oversized, remove some pieces to make the room look more spacious.
- If furniture is worn, old or outdated, consider buying new pieces or renting furniture for while your home is on the market.
- Ensure there is lots of light in each room, including corners.
- Consider replacing light switches with dimmer switches.
- If permanent light fixtures are dated or in poor condition, replace them.
- Ensure that all lighting is working and that no light bulbs are burnt out.
Consider having your home inspected before it is listed. A home inspection before listing can let you know if there are any major repairs that are needed. You can then address them before the house goes on the market. A home inspection prior to listing also shows the buyers and the buyer’s agents that you have been proactive in your homes’ maintenance. Your RE/MAX Lifestyles Realty – Maple Ridge agent can help you find a certified home inspector to inspect your home.
Here are some items to think about:
- Do your lights flicker?
- Do your breakers or fuses blow?
- Do you have a fuse box or electrical panel?
- Do you have aluminum wiring or knob and tube?
- Is your siding in good condition?
- What condition is your foundation in?
- Is your roof in good condition?
- If you have a deck or patio; what condition are they in?
Furnace/Hot Water Tank
- How old is your furnace? What condition is it in?
- How often do you replace your furnace filters?
- Do you have a water softener?
- What condition are your plumbing pipes and plumbing fixtures (e.g., sinks, toilets) in?
Pre-packing, Clutter, Editing
In order to sell your home, your house needs to be neat, clean, and orderly. You can create a spacious feeling in your home by organizing and pre-packing items. Storage and spaciousness are top items on buyers’ lists, therefore, you have to show them that your home has the space that they need and want.
- Create a spacious feeling in each room.
- Clean your home or hire a cleaner to make sure your house sparkles from top to bottom.
- Avoid powerful smelling cleaning products.
- Pre-pack all items that you do not need while your house is for sale.
- Pre-pack off season clothing and items.
- Decide where you can store your boxes and extra items.
- Clear clutter out of the garage to show buyers their vehicle will fit.
- If your basement is used for storage, be sure it is organized and tidy.
- Ensure that clothes and shoes are not left on the ground in any room of the house.
- Ensure that your yard is tidy and organized.
- Take items that you no longer need to a recycling depot, landfill, or second-hand store.
Updates and Repairs
It is important to take an objective look at what updates and repairs are necessary for your home. Your budget and timeline will help you to determine what can be completed to improve the showability of your home. Buyers are willing to pay more a house that has been well cared for.
- Create a list of repairs that are needed.
- Create a budget and timeline for these repairs.
- Think of updates that you have been putting off that need to be completed.
- Repair or replace even the smallest items.
- Consider the condition of your windows.
- Consider the condition of your permanent light fixtures.
- Consider the condition of your doors and trim.
- Repair any holes or cracks in the walls.
- Keep in mind that if significant updates are needed, kitchens and bathroom updates will provide the greatest return on investment