So you've decided to sell your home.
Here are five things you can do to change that "For Sale" sign to "Sold."
1. Get ruthless: Go room to room, decluttering and depersonalizing.
Selling your house is about taking your personality out of it and having people going through it envisioning their own life and personality.
That means doing a bit of a purge. Even if you don't plan on throwing things away, you've got to get all of the clutter out of your house. Pack rarely used household items, overabundant decorative doodads and off-season clothing in containers, then store them in the garage or at a friend's or family member's house.
That includes packing away most, if not all, of those framed family photos bedecking side tables and the fireplace mantel, and taking down that gallery of magnet-held children's artwork covering the fridge.
Even wall art should be assessed with an eye towards prospective buyers.
Art is very personal, but mirrors aren't. Mirrors are great for adding depth and dimension and visual space and light.
2. Kitchen and bathroom: They're the heart of the home, so make sure they show to their best advantage.
It's not a cliche, it's truth: kitchens and bathrooms sell homes.
Spending mega bucks on an all-out kitchen reno aimed at upping your asking price — and one you don't get to enjoy for long — can backfire if the space doesn't align with buyers' tastes. And it may not result in a higher selling price.
Instead, consider painting or refacing kitchen cabinets and perhaps changing up the backsplash, a minimal area that nevertheless can deliver a visual punch.
So you can give your kitchen a wallop in terms of style with not too much money, and you don't have to do any demolition.
There are paints for countertops, backsplashes, cabinets. It's about the right preparation for all those surfaces. Selling a house is about impressions.
When deciding whether the bathroom needs a do-over, ask yourself: "Is the juice worth the squeeze?"
Don't go in and completely retile your bathrooms. It could be as simple as repainting walls and trim (neutral colours are usually best when selling) and modernizing light fixtures. Lighting is key. It's easy to wire up a couple of bathroom sconces.
3. Welcome home: Present a clean, inviting space reminiscent of a hotel suite, one that would-be buyers want to stay in — permanently.
Worn-out hardwood floors should be refinished to a glossy sheen, or if still in good shape, they should be clean and gleaming. They're the biggest area in your home and they're the first thing that strike you when you walk in the front door.
Beds should look as if nobody has slept in them the night before, so a crisply made bed with plumped up pillows and shams are de rigueur.
Same in your bathrooms: fresh towels, fresh flowers, fresh soaps. Dress it up, make it look like the best hotel room you've ever seen, whether in reality or in a magazine.
In the kitchen, countertops should be antiseptically clean and devoid of clutter, but adorned with an eye-catching vase of flowers and a bowl of fresh oranges, which also put a beautiful scent into the air.
Consider hiring a home stager to make your house stand out from other listings in the neighbourhood.
Staging is such a crucial part of it. It's just as important as any sort of renovation, because if a buyer can't walk into a space and picture themselves living there, they're not going to give you top dollar, for one, and they might just turn and walk away.
Bringing in a stager doesn't have to be expensive, and the money spent is usually more than recouped with a higher selling price. A good home stager will work with your budget.
4. Price it right!
And that means investigating what your home is worth and not just throwing it out there at a price that makes you warm and fuzzy.
You need to put aside your emotions. This is a business transaction. You have to be realistic and that means having a realtor that can come in and give you a non-biased opinion as to the value of your home.
5. Curb appeal: You only get one chance to make a first impression.
While the emphasis may be on dazzling would-be buyers with your home's interior, don't neglect the outside, the experts advise.
Bump that up, because you want to make sure that no buyer that goes by your house doesn't want to look at it.
Paint the garage door or railing, put in shrubbery in the spring, make sure the grass is always cut. It's not expensive but it makes people look twice.