Welcome back to our Sellers Guide Series. So far in this series of blogs we have talked about whether you even need a real estate agent to sell your home, what questions to be asking when you’re interviewing and a whole bunch of other important things. Make sure you read them first to get caught up or watch the vlogs.
In today’s blog we’re going to talk about what happens behind the scenes before the house is ready to list. Whenever it comes to selling a home we’re dealing with the home selling trifecta. You’ve got staging, marketing and the most important, pricing. When we’re staging a property you’re going to do the basics, you’re going to be decluttering, which mean moving a lot of the big furniture and showcasing the property. In addition to decluttering you want to be depersonalizing. This means taking down all of the personalized pictures around the house. You want to make it look like a model home when a person walks through it and make them subconsciously be able to picture themselves in the property.
Once you declutter and depersonalize, you want to freshen up the house with a coat of paint, do some minor things like fix up some nicks and scratches, and fix up the curb appeal outside. These are a variety of different things that are going to be very cost efficient.
The next thing you’re going to want to do is make sure that your house is odour-free. This means no food odours, if you’re a pet owner like I am you want to get rid of that pet smell and most importantly you don’t want your house to smell like smoke, but if you have to smoke make sure you’re doing it outside. The smell of smoke in your home with drastically reduce the amount of money you’re going to get when you sell. I have personally experienced this. Buyers will walk away from a house the second they walk in because of the cigarette smoke. We try to get rid of the smell using an ozonator in our staging process, but sometimes it can really be caked in there. We try to do as much as we can, but just to avoid it, step outside to smoke. Even if you smoke in the garage and you have an entrance to your house, the smell is undoubtedly going to come in. The smell is a lot more sensitive and noticeable to non-smokers, so you definitely don’t want to smoke in your house especially when you’re preparing it to be put on the market.
All of those things mentioned above are what we do when we’re actually staging a property. The next step would be updating things. The best return on investment when you’re making an update is fixing up the kitchen and bathrooms. However, you don’t want to overspend, especially if you’re doing all of this for the sake of selling. I tell my clients that if they’re doing a certain renovation because they want to enjoy it and it’s their home, they need to realize they’re not going to recoup their entire investment. If you’re okay with that than that’s fine, go ahead and do it. However, when you go above and beyond in a certain aspect when it comes to renovations you may not be able to recoup that when it comes to selling. I’ll give you an example. I once had a client that had a beautiful home, somewhere in the $600,000 range. They ended up putting in over $75,000 in the landscaping outside. It of course looked gorgeous, but you can’t expect to now sell your house for $650,000-$675,000 because you invested so much into the backyard, the market does not care. A buyer may come in and say how much they love the backyard, but are they willing to pay an extra $50,000-$75,000 when they can get a similar home in the area for less? Highly unlikely. However let’s just even assume they do; the bank is not going to approve them on their mortgage if they put an offer in for $650,000.
The most common renovations we see people doing before they sell their home is kitchens and bathrooms. It can really different depending on the market you are in though. We’re more the happy to talk to you and give you an idea of what you should be doing. It comes to down to the house as well. If you’ve got a house that hasn’t been updated in 35 years, it makes no sense for you to update the kitchen when everything else is dated. There are a few varying things that we have to take into consideration before you do all of the necessary improvements when you’re going on the market.
At the end of the day when you’re going on the market you want to showcase your property to its best potential. A potential buyer is going to make their decision within the first seven seconds of walking in the house. When clients tell me they have just got a new roof done or fixed the furnace, this maintains the value of the home as opposed to actually increasing the value. Of course if you’ve got a metal roof and no one is ever going to have to update it again, that is going to increase the value. However if you say you’ve got the roof done two years ago and you’re expecting to add $5,000 to the purchase price, it is not going to work that way because the buyer is expecting a roof in good shape. If the roof isn’t in good condition they are going to want a reduction on the purchase price to make up for it because they will undoubtedly have to fix it themselves in the near future.
Something I caution all homeowners against is signing up for these furnace and air conditioner contracts. You definitely don’t want to sign up for one and then have to end up selling your home. Any potential buyer will not want to take overt that contract because most homes come included with them. The only contract we usually see is for a hot water tank and that’s only $30-$35 a month at the most. So if you are signing up for a furnace contract you need to keep in mind that a potential buyer is going to want you to pay that off before transferring ownership.
That’s it for today’s blog. Staging and preparing your home for showings is a very important aspect when it comes to selling your home. A lot of people think we are just going to sign a contract and put a sign on the lawn, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is a very intensive process and we work very closely with our clients, stagers and our team to make sure that we can showcase your property to its best potential and recoup as much of that investment as possible. You only want to do things that you know are going to making a different for your bottom dollar because it really comes down to how much you’re going to take away after you sell.
Click here for a copy of the Durham Region Home Seller Guide.