While we all believe that our home is our castle, our personal tastes may not appeal to everyone. Your agent will work with you to give you an impartial analysis of your home – how it relates to other “competing” homes on the market and how your home reflects current design and style trends. Your agent will also take a good look at the general condition and upkeep of your dwelling.
Overall, your agent will work with you to position your home on the market so that your sales experience will take place as expeditiously as possible.
Complete a market analysis to determine a realistic asking price. Make recommendations on making your home more “sellable.” Provide a professional marketing program. Advertise your home on the Multiple Listings Service (MLS). Arrange showings. Negotiate the best terms possible.
When you’re ready to list one of the first things you and your agent will do is draft a listing agreement. It provides prospective purchasers with:
This service is only available to real estate agents. It is a database of all the homes for sale through agents. Details about your home will be available to other agents searching for homes in your area, in the range of your asking price.
In addition to giving your home the once over with a mop and dust cloth, have your agent prepare a home feature sheet. This is a one page synopsis of your home that highlights lot size, room dimensions, features and upgrades as well as utility costs and taxes. Prospective buyers will take a sheet and refer to it while viewing your home. Plus, it makes for a great reference sheet when the buyers are comparing properties.
The Open House: This is usually not a pleasant experience. The upside is that you usually won’t have to be there to act as a guide. The downside is that you might have a series of open houses over a few weeks, with people poking through all areas of your home. And you’ll have the constant pressure of keeping your home looking its best.
The Viewing: When an agent has a client who is interested in your home, they will first call to make an appointment with your agent. If you’re lucky, you’ll have time for the last-minute tidying. Of course, you can say no if the prospective purchaser wishes to come at an inconvenient time.
During the viewing, make sure you give the viewer and the agent a feature sheet and get the agent’s business card. Give viewers the freedom to wander around your home by themselves. Following may make them uncomfortable. The agent will stay with the prospects to offer some protection against theft or property damage.
That’s what they say about first impressions. Now, take a look at your house as if you were a buyer. With a critical eye, examine your home from outside and inside. Bring along a pad of paper and take notes! Determine what can be solved by a simple cleaning and what needs professional attention and repair. Your list should also include problems that are immediately evident and underlying problems you know of, like a leaky basement.
Let’s start with the exterior of your home. Think of what you would like to see when you’re viewing a home, or better still what you wouldn’t like to see — cluttered yard, weeds crowding the garden, loose or dangling exterior features (like a broken door), paint peeling, broken fence, or an oil-stained, damaged driveway.
Get out your ladder and inspect the roof. Are the shingles in good shape, are the gutters in good condition and free of debris? You may wish to trim back any trees or shrubs that are leaning on your roof or drainage system.
Take a good, objective look at the outside. Would what you’re facing invite you to explore further or make you ready to leave?
Simply having the lawn mowed or the driveway shoveled in the winter will make a better impression. Also, remove any “cutesy” lawn decorations that may have home viewers rolling their eyes. And trim any overgrown shrubs or hedges. If you have a sizable property, you may also wish to hire a professional to weed and feed your lawn.
Flowers are a very effective way of adding colour and warmth to your home. If you’re selling during the spring, plant flowers to make the property colourful and inviting. A bouquet or two in your house also adds a nice touch.
You’re in the home. Your five senses are alert. Is what you see clean and organized? Is there an odour? Old shoes? Stale cooking? Garbage? Pets? If there is, it could be a deterrent to potential purchases. Bake cookies or simmer potpourri before your home is shown to give your place a comforting smell. Also, clean your carpets and air out your home.
And speaking of carpets, cleaning them is fairly inexpensive. Without the grit, and with the carpet pile looking fresh, your home takes on a new appearance. While you’re at it, take a broom around and brush your walls and light fixtures to remove any cobwebs.
Work your way from the ground up. Wash the walls or repaint soiled areas. Touch up chips or plaster nicks. If you’ve used severe designs or dark colours on your walls, you may wish to repaint your home so that has a more neutral move-in appearance. Also check the ceiling and plaster and repaint it white if necessary.
Put extra emphasis on your kitchen and bathroom. Replace moldy shower curtains and clean mold and mildew off of bathroom tiles. Caulk if necessary. Repair leaky faucets and replace cracked toilet seats. Ensure that the toilet flushes properly. Make certain that the drains are unclogged. Everything should sparkle — faucets, floors, counters, mirrors. What can be cleaned, should be!
In the kitchen, clean the stove and refrigerator, organize the cupboards and wash the floor. Make certain your appliances work. Wipe the walls, touch-up paint or re-stick wall paper if necessary. Clean the sink and ensure that it drains properly and the faucet doesn’t leak. (When your home is shown, make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink and don’t forget to take out garbage out!)
Replace missing or damaged tiles. Is there any wood rot? Do the floors look clean? Does the wood need a good sanding and varnishing? Does the floor squeak? (There’s a new device on the market that enables you to invisibly fix your squeaky floor right through the carpet. Ask your hardware retailer for details.)
Are your stairs creaky? Are the handrails loose? Are there any missing pieces?
That means all interior and exterior doors. Look for structural or surface damage. Do the doors need repainting? Do the hinges squeak? Are the door knobs worn – and do they work?
Are the windows drafty or are they properly caulked? Are they easy to open? Are they clean? It goes without saying that all window panes should be crystal clear and unbroken.
If it is finished, make sure that it is as spotless as the rest of your home. If it is used as a storage area, eliminate the clutter and organize all boxes. (This will also help you with the move!) Check for any signs of dampness.
Are there leaky pipes or electrical outlets that don’t work? Have them repaired before you put your home on the market. Also, it’s a good idea to replace any broken switch or outlet covers and match switches and covers to the room decor.
Replace the furnace filter and have the furnace and air conditioner professionally serviced.
Buyers will look everywhere — into cabinets, under carpets, inside closets. (You think you had it bad with nosy relatives poking around!) Plus, a clean house gives the impression of being larger.
Make notes on what needs minor clean up and what needs a major repair. Evaluate your home as if you were a potential buyer, so the key is to be honest with yourself!