I wish I had a dollar for every person who has told their real estate agent that they just need to finish a few little projects in their homes before they can put their house on the market. Meanwhile they are out looking at homes and checking the MLS listings for their next home. “Yes I want to put an offer on this one – it’s just what we are looking for” they say. “We’ll make it conditional upon the sale of ours but we just have to fix a few things and should be ready to list in a week or two.”
First and foremost do the walk I wish I had a dollar for every person who has told their real estate agent that they just need to finish a few little projects in their homes before they can put their house on the market. Meanwhile they are out looking at homes and checking the MLS listings for their next home. “Yes I want to put an offer on this one – it’s just what we are looking for” they say. “We’ll make it conditional upon the sale of ours but we just have to fix a few things and should be ready to list in a week or two.” through test. Better yet have a friend – who will be brutally honest – walk through your house from bottom to top and make suggestions on what needs to be repaired, changed, painted, discarded, replaced, renovated, or upgraded.
Second before you begin any of the above, call a Realtor for their opinion of which improvements would give you the best return on your investment or ensure that your house was gaining a competitive edge in the current market. Most sellers are not going to do extensive renovations like changing the complete kitchen or bathroom but sometimes small improvements they wouldn’t have thought of can produce very favorable results. Perhaps you think you should repaint your daughter’s bedroom pink when actually the buyers may have two boys and would have preferred neutral colours.
Third. Decide on which projects meet your budget and time schedule and then GET TO IT. You know the old saying ‘Why Wait Till Spring – Do It Now’? Well that saying is still in fashion and still is aimed at all of those procrastinators who keep planning and never doing. You have 3 slow, cold months ahead of you – the perfect time for projects around the house. If you don’t know where to turn for help, call your realtor. Many have a list of preferred tradesmen that not only do a good job but charge a fair rate for their work. There’s another saying worth repeating – ‘Do what you do best and leave the rest to the professionals’. Taking a day or two off work to putter around with the job you were never trained for, will probably result in 2 days lost pay plus the cost of hiring someone in to fix what you fixed.
Fourth. Clean, declutter and stage your home, make it show ready. This process will definitely give you a competitive edge because buyers usually make a decision on whether your home is appealing to them within the first 3-4 minutes of the visit. Is there any odor in your home from pets (litter box), smoke, cooking or a mouldy smell in the basement? Is there so much furniture, toys, knickknacks or clothing spread throughout the house that buyers have a hard time navigating their way through the house? Don’t forget about the exterior vista of your home. Remove garbage cans, spruce up the gardens, paint the front door and railings, roll up the hose, weed between the patio stones. You get the picture. If you were told that your house could fetch $10,000 more just from being cleaned and decluttered, would you make it a priority? After all how long does it take you to make $10,000 at your job?
Last step. Get your financial house in order. This includes visiting your bank to see how much you still owe, how much you can borrow, if there are penalty fees, what your moving costs will entail and most importantly getting a Realtor to provide a comprehensive opinion of value for your home. You need to know all these numbers in order to make a wise decision on your next purchase. As long as we’re into clichés I will end with one your parents probably always said to you.
When all the steps are taken you will have the competitive edge over other sellers and be well on your way to moving on to your next life adventure. Do you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future articles? Drop me a line at [email protected] or call me at 613-930-3536.