First and foremost I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday Season and that you have fantastic plans brewing for your New Year's celebration. With the year literally days from being done, it is certainly time to leave 2016 and even more so 2015 in the rearview mirror. The economic downturn affected many families and businesses in various disciplines but I am hopeful that 2017 will be the turnaround year that we have all been yearning for and with that may come the desire to sell your home. Regardless if this is your first time or your fifth time in selling your abode in Calgary, there are many tips and tricks you can easily do to prepare your home to ensure you show off its best features and qualities. So, I have decided to postpone today's planned annual Calgary Real Estate review until January when all final stats will be out for 2016, and instead I have compiled a list of tips for home preparations that I have found to be the most important.
1. Choosing the right realtor
Naturally, you may think I am going to say choose me, but of course that would be too easy. I do honestly suggest picking a realtor who has your best interests set as his or her priority. Choose one who knows the area, has interest in the area, has previously worked in your neighborhood of choice, and one who can leverage all the details in the area such as amenities, schools, and transportation. I may or may not be your chosen realtor however I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you if you are thinking of selling.
2. Pricing it right
It is important to determine fair market value based on location, size, condition, finishing's, floorplan etc. Too many realtors simply look at square footage and multiply by the neighborhood average to derive the listing price. For many, selling a home is the largest transaction of one's life therefore more thought should be put into the pricing process. Do not use your City of Calgary assessed value as they are simply based on a general mill rate (ie., multiplication factor) for the area.
3. The kitchen comes first
Think of it as you’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops, but a prospective buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style.
4. Lights, Camera, Action
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is one thing that every buyer states they want in a home. Take down obstructing window coverings, clean the windows inside and out, replace all light bulbs to daylight white (the photographer will thank you), and let the natural light shine in. A home with good lighting feels larger and more expansive to potential buyers. This is also true with how our home is represented in photos. It is important for a professional photographer to have consistent lighting as it means less photo processing afterwards and will show a true representation of the space and colors.
5. Declutter and De-personalize
This is a very important point- the more personal stuff in your home, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living in there. Remove family photos, personal keepsakes and remove a third of your extra items. Put things in storage, because as cliche as it may be, out of sight is truly out of mind. Home stagers are amazing at envisioning what a space can be transformed into by simply moving a few things around, adding certain colour accents and drawing focus to where it needs to be.
6. Conceal the pets
Although I love animals, it doesn't mean that every potential buyer shares the same sentiment. Not everyone is a dog- or cat- lover. Buyers don't want to walk into your home and see a bowl of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. Try to keep the evidence of animals at a minimum throughout the home. You may need to shampoo the carpets to remove the animal odour from your home, and thought it is time-consuming, it is a worthwhile investment.
7. Half-empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what's left in there. Be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.
8. Keep it clean
Your house needs to be "show-ready" at all times. This can be difficult with 2 kids, 2 dogs and a busy schedule but you never know when a potential buyer is going to request a showing. Do your best to keep things tidy, don't leave dishes in the sink before going to work, make the beds in the morning, leave the bathrooms clean and get rid of any obvious dust built-up in the corners. If you employ the "clean as you go" method, it won't be so daunting and keeping your home clean will be rather achievable.
9. Capitalize on the first impression
Lastly, buyers start judging your home the moment they step out of their realtor's car. It is important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Focus on your curb appeal, a few shrubs, flowers or feature items can go a long way. Entryways are also important. You may use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. However, when you're selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench and a vase of fresh-cut flowers.
This may seem like an intimidating 'To-Do' list however it is important to put the effort in prior to putting your home on the market. Never assume that a potential buyer is going to look past a deficiency or clutter. My real estate services include a consultation with a home stager that can help you getting your home prepared. If you would like to discuss listing your home, please do not hesitate to contact me via email, phone, or through my social media channels. Tune in next week as we resume our profiling of neighborhoods in Calgary's WestSide and feature the community of Apsen!