It’s that time of the year again. Spring is here. Temperature is rising. Finally, after months of grueling snow storms, the cherry blossoms in High Park are in full bloom. Cherry blossoms are a sign of hope & are often associated with a warrior’s spirit. Trust me – if you’re a potential home buyer (or seller), you need a warrior’s spirit to transact in Toronto’s real estate market – especially in spring!
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You don’t need to be a board member of the Canadian real estate association or a real estate professional to realize that spring officially kicks off the selling season in Toronto’s real estate market. Moving in spring/summer is a good idea. New listings flood the real estate market, giving potential buyers lots to choose from. Though due to the lack of supply real estate bidding wars are still all too common.
As a seller, there’s a lot that you can do to make your property stand out from all the clutter. If you’re somebody who wants to get a jump on the market and is compromised on time, this guide is for you.
In this blog, I share with you what I have learned over 17 years of experience as a real estate agent. Know your prospective buyer, know what adds value to your property and finally do the dirty work (or hire professionals) to get your house ready for sale in under 30 days!
What You Need To Know Before Preparing Your Home To Sell
What Rooms To Focus On While Preparing Your Home For Sale?
I’d like to say all but that’s probably not very helpful. If I had to prioritize, I’d say focus on your bedrooms, the kitchen, the living room, and then the bathrooms. Once the interiors are in check – you can then look outwards at your curb space, garage, and so on.
What’s The First Thing You Need To Do When Preparing Your Home For Sale?
You can start to prepare your home for sale by creating a work-back schedule for your timeline to sell. This means, if you want to list your home for sale on March 31st, what are the things you need to do to make that achievable? Once that’s done, start checking boxes off the list: schedule the services of your handyman, book a call with a real estate professional, book professional cleaners, etc.
The best way to get a house ready to sell quickly is to do what you, as the homeowner, can as early as possible. If you’re too overwhelmed by all of the things you need to organize, consider hiring a professional organizer to help make this stage more efficient.
Tips To Help You Prepare Your Home For Sale
How To Prepare Your Home For Sale In 5 Simple Steps
There are five key phases that go into preparing your home for sale. You can do them in whatever order you like but below I share my preferred approach to this.
Repair The Essentials & Focus On What Adds Value To Your Property
When selling your home, you’ll want to ensure everything is in good working order. From a loose light bulb to a screen door that doesn’t shut properly — whatever is going to deter potential buyers should be addressed.
Work on making repairs to the larger appliances first. Then, gradually shift your focus to the minor repairs that need your attention.
Put yourself in the shoes of a home inspector and audit your home. Think like a potential buyer. Afterward, have a handyman come by to make all major and minor repairs. Use this opportunity to patch up any holes in the wall or caulk your bathtub. These little fixes will go a long way to come showings.
Less Is Always More: Cut The Clutter
Depending on the size of your home, how long you’ve lived there, and how many things you’ve accumulated, you’ll want to start decluttering your home as soon as the idea to sell occurs to you.
This is a great opportunity to get rid of many of the items you know you won’t need in your new home. Need a bit of inspiration? Turn on Marie Kondo on Netflix and start going through your home looking for the items that don’t spark joy. You’ll definitely want to organize those closets too. Don’t be tempted to hide everything away there, when buyers come to see your home they’ll definitely be peeking in your closets.
Decluttering not only helps you get rid of items, making your move much lighter, but it will help when you get ready to list your home. Even if you aren’t planning to stage your home — though you definitely should — it will help minimize the extra clutter and appeal to more buyers.
Don’t Ignore Your Outdoor Space
One of the best ways to prepare your home for sale and attract buyers is to amp up your home’s curb appeal. Once that for sale sign is in your front lawn, you’ll want to ensure your property is looking its best.
Some key things to do to increase your curb appeal are:
Paint your front door
Fix and repaint your front porch
Tidy your lawn of debris and unnecessary clutter
Add new flowers or bushes to your gardens
Add fresh mulch to garden beds
Clean your gutters
Home Staging Is The Secret Sauce
One of the best ways to sell your home for top dollar is to have it professionally staged. Staging your home will elevate your property’s appeal, commanding attention and resonating with buyers beyond the front door.
Your staging designers will bring in contemporary furniture and decor that will accentuate each room’s best features and give potential buyers a home they can envision themselves living in.
As part of the staging phase, you may also want to paint your walls to a more neutral colour. Not only does this give your walls a clean fresh coat of paint, but by choosing a neutral tone, you are more likely to appeal to a broader range of buyers.
Staging your home professionally will also make your listing photographs look magazine-worthy and draw in buyers from the minute they see your listing on MLS.
Pro Tip: Why Stage Your Home Before Selling?
First impressions matter and home staging gives you – the owner – the unique opportunity to highlight exactly what’s unique about your property and why it’s the perfect home for your prospective buyer.
Let me break this down for you with some numbers. Staged properties can sell for 4% – 20% higher than the listing price and 2x to 8x times quicker.
On average, the cost of home staging in Toronto is between $2000 – $10,0000. However, if you choose to work with a realtor who offers complimentary staging with their listing services – like us – you won’t feel a pinch, just a sigh of relief! Take a look at our staging gallery to see what our team is truly capable of!
Finish It Off With A ‘Clean Sweep’
Once you’ve repaired, decluttered, and even staged, call up your local cleaning service and give your home a deep cleaning. This is a very important part of the process that you do not want to overlook. You can do it yourself, but you’ve got too many other things on your mind when preparing your home to sell. Treat yourself and hire a professional.
10 Inexpensive Ways To Help You Prepare Your Home For Sale
At the risk of repetition, here are 10 small things that you can do to prepare your home for sale without splashing out the cash!
Mow your lawn, clip the hedges, cultivate your garden, and get rid of any weeds or overhanging foliage that disrupt or mess up your outdoor space.
Buy a couple of nice flowers or any other foliage like herbs to bring some colour/utility to your outdoor space.
Air your property completely. Open all the doors and windows to get rid of any unpleasant odor. Pro tip: use air fresheners.
Sweep the floors and dry clean / steam clean your carpets.
Brush up all your furniture – make sure to get rid of all stains and cobwebs.
Add a fresh coat of paint to all surfaces – interior and exterior – that looked washed up and dirty. Pro tip: use neutral colors to repaint bright surfaces that attract too much attention.
Fix all leaking pipes – be they in the kitchen or the bathroom. You can use the services of your local plumber if you’re not sure where to begin.
Get a new doormat that speaks to prospective buyers.
Give your washroom the ‘hotel makeover’. Buy a couple of plushy towels, some fancy soap, and a special lavender air freshener.
If you can’t give your entire kitchen a makeover, just focus on the cupboards, the splashback, and make sure to wipe the benchtop and flat sources completely clean.
What Not To Do As You Prepare Your Home For Sale
Avoid rescheduling open houses / virtual tours. Always be available and show that you care about the transaction. Do your best to abide by your prospective buyers’ schedules. If a prospective buyer raises a question about a particular repair, avoid saying no immediately. Hear the buyer out and their woes. Do a cost-benefit analysis. Be empathetic to their issue. At the end of the day, we are all humans, and being a human can make or break a real estate transaction.
Avoid closing deals with prospective buyers that are not qualified. Even if it’s a lucrative offer that’s higher than other offers – I’d recommend that you negotiate with the buyer who has a pre-approval letter from their lender instead.
Avoid making changes that cost you more than the value they add to your property. For example: if you’re spending $1000 on a repair, make sure that it adds at least $2000 – $3000 to your final selling price.
Avoid personalizing your property to the extent that it alienates potential buyers. Be wary of who your prospective buyer is and stage your home accordingly. For example, a family with kids will not be very receptive to a house that looks and smells like a man cave.
Avoid ignoring the recommendations made in a home inspection. If in doubt about anything in particular, question the home inspector or your real estate agent and clarify all confusion to protect your real estate transaction.
Unless you’re good with cameras, avoid using your personal property photos for the listing. I highly recommend that you use the services of a professional photographer to showcase the best version of your house to prospective buyers.
That’s a gist (a pretty long one at that) of how you can go about preparing your home for sale in Toronto. If you feel overwhelmed at any stage in the entire process, consider working with a professional. In my 17+ years as a real estate agent in Toronto, I have helped countless individuals, families, and retirees prepare their property for sale – and successfully at that. I’d be delighted to add one more happy client to that list.