Before you can get serious about selling your home, you need to get your home in good selling condition. We’re not talking about staging here – we’ll cover that in our next post. Instead, we’re talking about deciding what major work you’ll need to have done in order to get the right price.
The art of selling a home has changed in the last decade. Buyers are more fussy than ever, and something as simple as the wrong colour on the walls can make a difference. Unless you live in a hot market like Toronto or Vancouver, you’ll need to do a lot more than stick a sign on your front lawn to get your home to sell.
Here’s how to figure out what projects you should and should not do to sell your home for full value.
Compare Your Home to Others That Have Sold
When you’re trying to figure out how much you need to do, don’t just jump on a listings site and look at the homes for sale in your area. This is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make. The problem is that you have no idea if those properties are priced correctly for the condition they’re in, or if they’re going to stay on the market for months and not sell.
Instead, compare your home to similar ones that have already sold. This will give you a much better idea of what kind of shape they need to be in to sell in your area and for your type of home. Here’s more on why the right price of your home matters.
Have a Home Inspection Done
The best way to prevent a surprise during your buyer’s home inspection is to do one yourself before putting your home on the market. This will identify the real problems in advance and give you a chance to get them fixed.
You’ll be able to ask much more for your home when you’ve got your foundation, roof, electrical, plumbing and heating systems sorted out.
Handle No-to-Low Cost Projects First
When you’re selling your home, the last thing you want is for buyers to think of your property as a fixer upper. And yes, even small flaws can be seen as problems by many buyers. In their minds, buyers will begin to discount the price that they might offer for every problem they see, whether it’s a “real” problem or not.
The list will include all those things you’ve been meaning to get to over the years, like that sink with the chipped enamel or those cracks in the driveway. Remember, you’ll be improving the value of your property with these projects, so don’t sweat them, just do them (or have them done for you).
Painting the Right Colour Adds Value
A coat of paint will probably be on this list too, unless you’ve already painted recently. This not only freshens the look of your home, but choosing a light, neutral colour that goes well with lots of other colours will help buyers visualize their possessions in the home.
Painting your home the right colour could be worth over $1,400 or more to the final sale price according to a recent Zillow survey. More importantly, it can make the difference between selling and not selling. There are lots of people out there who won’t buy because they hate your purple bathroom.
Get an Estimate on Major Upgrades
One of the biggest sticking points is whether or not to do major projects like kitchen or bathroom renovations. If they’re in your budget, then all major upgrades should be considered, and if you go ahead be sure to please a wide array of tastes with a simple style. In terms of selling a home, the kitchen is the most important room in your house.
When it’s not possible to complete major renovation projects, the next best step is to have them professionally priced out prior to sale. Have the estimate available for buyers to review, so they’re fairly accounted for during the negotiation stage, as buyers will always overestimate.
Start on Lawn Maintenance and Landscaping in Advance
Not every neighbourhood calls for amazing landscaping, but one thing everyone wants to see is a green lawn. No matter how tiny the yard is, if there’s grass it should be fertilized, well watered and free of bald patches and weeds.
If you need to do some lawn rehab, start as soon as you’re even thinking of selling because it may take a few seasons. The good news is that while lawn care may take time for the benefits to show, it’s not very expensive.
If the other homes in your neighbourhood have good landscaping, you’ll need to make sure yours measures up. Even planting a few shrubs can help – again; do this as early as possible so things have a year or two to fill out.
How Much is Your Home Really Worth?
Figuring out the market value of your home and deciding which projects you will need to do to improve its value can be overwhelming.
If you need professional guidance on how much your home is worth, we invite you to take advantage of our free home evaluation and market analysis service.