By Jelena Djurkic
We’ve all seen television shows on selling your house. We’ve watched wary couples re-paint and renovate their homes in a bid to get them sold. Not to mention the shows on people flipping homes for profit. But reality shows aren’t always reality. If you’re in the market to sell, what are some easy steps you can take to maximize your house’s showings and minimize the time it spends on the market? In our Agent Moms five-part series, I take a look at five questions every mom should ask herself before taking the real estate plunge.
This week: How to help your house sell?
If you’re selling your house that means you’ll be packing up soon. Get a head start and startpacking all the things you don’t need access to. Store them offsite or at a friend’s place. This is also a perfect opportunity to depersonalize the space. The whole point of a showing is get potential buyers to feel like it’s their future home, not your current one. Get rid of personal photos and knickknacks that can distract the eye.
CLEAN IT UP
Hoarders aren’t pretty. If there’s one thing you can do yourself, it’s to clean your house. A simple dusting and good ol’ scrubbing will return that sparkle to your house. Declutter every room in the house, not just the main floor. Address everything, from your kid’s closets that are jam-packed with toys, clothes and who knows what else (that’s where that book went) to the extra couches you have in your basement. If you haven’t used it in the last six months, toss it or, better yet, donate it.
“If you’ve got children, pick a spot where you’re going to live while you’re showing the house,” says Fortin. Everything else has to stay tidy. You don’t want to be saying no to a showing because your kid’s underwear is on the living room floor.
SPRUCE UP THE PLACE
Paint touchups (trims, baseboards, outlets) are a quick and cheap way to spruce up a room. Buyers don’t want to see themselves having to fix the place up after you’re gone, says Fortin. If you feel it’s needed, re-paint the rooms but stick to neutral colours. If bright fuchsia is your idea of neutral, ask your real estate agent for advice. Replace old faucets and if you’re going to shell out some cash, fix the carpeting in all of the rooms (doing only one room may cost you more money in the long run – your house might sell for less.) Finish up those half-finished home projects and only spring for major renovations if they’re really needed.
“The first couple of weeks have to be fresh for every person who walks in the door,” says Fortin. Don’t forget the outside of the house too. Cut grass in the spring and summer and shovel walkways in the winter.
STAGE IT WELL
We’ve all heard of baking fresh cookies or playing soft music to create an enticing atmosphere for buyers. But Fortin advises that you tread lightly when it comes to scents. Scent plug-ins can be distracting and overpowering. It might also send the wrong message – that you’re trying to mask something. What is necessary is that you stage your home well. Don’t be scared to move around furniture, add in fresh flowers and turn your lights on for a nicer ambiance.
Your real estate agent can offer tips on staging or recommend a professional stager. If anything, make sure your agent takes nice photos for the property listing and avoid words like “cozy” in the listing. It could mean two very different things, says Fortin.
KEEP AN EYE ON IT, JUST DON’T BE THERE
I remember being 10 years old, having a couple of buyers enter my home to see the place one night. Too bad I didn’t know they were coming (and awkwardly retreated to my room.) This is a big no-no, says Fortin. You should make sure that you’re not there during the showing. Why? Buyers are likely to feel that they’re disturbing your life and will not stay long. It’s best to be flexible and get out of the way when people come to see your house. This may make the difference in giving your house the fair showing it deserves. Keep your kids in the loop and send away pets to Grandma’s house.
“I look for the dancing eyes,” says Fortin. If eyes are moving around the home and potential buyers are already talking about where their couch would fit in your living room, that’s a good sign you’ll soon be receiving a cheque.