I remember being a first time home buyer in 1992….those were the days, my friend. Although it was a “seller’s market”, the most a homeowner would do to tart up their house was to boil some sprigs of mint over the stove to control the odour of the kitty litter right beside the fridge. And in the beach, people still fought over these houses. We paid $1000 over asking on a semi-detached on Waverley Rd that had wall-to-wall rust carpet and different floral wallpaper in every room. Now of course, it’s a different story. In the last 7 years, we see houses in the east end going for tens of thousands over asking and even more. But to generate such a bidding frenzy takes work. Like a gold medal athlete, there is preparation involved and sometimes it is psychologically draining! Which is why, I highly recommend a consultation with a home stager before you tackle your to-do list. A good designer will point out things in your house that are your blind spots, they will obliterate the ugly and suggest the remedy. It can be as little changing the lampshades and throw pillows or as much as actually removing your furniture and replacing it with rentals.
1. De-Clutter It The first step is the hardest step but I promise you, this one is the most rewarding. Once you start the purge, you might not be able to stop so be careful when you get to #6 on our list. Go through all your closets and drawers in every room and get rid of everything you don’t use and there are methods that can help you, ie. Peter Walsh from the show “Clean Sweep” has a book “It’s All Too Much” and will suggest you make piles of keep, trash, and sell. You can donate, have a yard sale, or have someone take it away. If you have too much furniture but you want to keep it for the next house, you need to rent out a storage unit or a pod, stuffing it in the basement corner won’t do. Basements are considered as living spaces these days now that televisions have gotten so huge.
2. Clean It thoroughly! Have the windows cleaned inside and out. Potential buyers will look inside your fridge and make subconscious judgements if it s sticky and smells like old cheese. They will peek inside your closet so spray your shoes and put some scented reeds in the corner. They will also prowl inside your sanctuary, the furnace room, where you sneak cigarettes and talk to the spiders. Vacuum and dust, under and over and keep it that way during the selling process.
3. Fix it and if you can’t, hire someone! Loose tiles, doors that don’t close properly, grungy grout, and the list goes on. Always remember what Mies van der Rohe said “God is in the details” and let me add the Devil is picky! Buyers notice everything so make sure everything is well oiled and functioning.
4. Paint It. I know what you’re thinking “Ugh, why should I paint it when they’re probably just going to paint over it?” My answer is, sometimes buyers lack imagination. Decor is somewhat important for buyers to imagine themselves living in your house. A new paint job is like a facelift for your house. Pick light and neutral and you can’t really go wrong.
5. Re-Arrange It. Hopefully you have edited some of your furniture and put it in storage. Now it’s time to move things around. When people are viewing your house, they are going to need space to move around, so think about paths and arteries around the rooms. Move a clunky club chair up to the master bedroom. For some reason people like to see different kinds of furniture other than a bed in the bedroom. Maybe because they think it gives them options. Also move your dining room table around, I bet right now it’s in the wrong spot, most people go long when they should go wide. And now that all your tchotkes are gone (they better be!), put out some flowers!
6. Gather It. Find all your existing warranties for your appliances, your receipts from house repairs and have it in a folder so when potential buyers, ask, you have some answers. If you are selling your home in the winter and you have photos of your garden in the summer, have those set up to view. Some sellers provide a pre-home inspection that is available for potential buyers but traditionally a home inspection is at the buyer’s expense. Another option is to provide a home inspection binder from when you bought the house and then list the things that were done that were suggested by the inspector at the time.
Now you can sell it! If you want more information and are thinking of selling, you can contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
Reproduced with permission from My Toronto Eh!