Eventually the real estate market will return to normal and hopefully both treatments and vaccines will be developed to help us function with this virus. Selling & Buying activity is greatly reduced and showings occur under much, stricter COVID protocols. If you have to sell, how can you go about it and still maximize your home’s resale value?
The answer to that is a short one; the same as before. Honestly, whether there’s a pandemic or not the fundamentals stay the same. Putting in the time, care and attention to your home before it’s listed will get you a faster sale. You’ll create an impression the home has been loved and cared for that will resonate emotionally with the Buyer. It will take fewer visits for the Buyers to make up their minds to make an Offer. And depending on the price range you may still create multiple offers, even in the current market.
Start with creating Curb Appeal. Tidy up and declutter the outside. Paint the front door if needed. Change out the mailbox. Freshen up the flower beds, clean the windows, trim the hedges, cut the lawn and power wash the deck. The outside is the very first impression and you don’t want to blow it. I can tell you that as an Agent for 23 years, I can pretty much tell what the inside of a home’s going to look like by the time I get to the front door. So pay attention to the outside presentation first.
The entry way sets the stage. It has to shine and look great. Make sure it’s not cluttered or messy. It should be well lit. You want this area to be painted in a lighter colour and free of shoes, coats, umbrellas or anything that takes up space. Make it cheery, bright and inviting!
Kitchen and Dining Room counters should be clear and clean. Don’t forget to clean all the appliances. Buyers will open ovens and fridges and will look inside your cabinets. Remove screens from windows to allow more light in. If it’s an eat-in kitchen, be sure to have a table & chairs set up but keep it within proportion to the space. If cabinets are dated or worn you can paint them out and add new hardware. Shine up the faucets and take out the trash before showings.
Living & family rooms are where most of the “living” happens so you want to pay special attention to these areas. Move your DVD or CD collections out of sight, shampoo or replace the carpet, clean the fireplace, rearrange photos or pictures on the walls and paint if necessary. If the furniture is less than stellar from raising kids and dogs, replace it. This is one area where you don’t want to skimp. This important space needs to feel warm, inviting and as large as possible.
Bathrooms are special but they carry the potential to be a horror story. Invest in a new shower curtain, paint the peeled ceiling above the shower, remove all reading material, put all personal items away and out of sight and remove everything from the countertop except for candles, fresh flowers or pretty soap sets. Check the faucets and underneath the sink for leaks or drips. Get rid of any mold in the grout. Replace lightbulbs with the brightest ones possible. And finally, leave the toilet seat down for showings.
Candles & fresh flowers are excellent accessories for the bedroom area. You want the bedrooms to look as big and bright as possible. If your kids have “branded” their bedrooms with their favourite boy band or Ninja turtle, it’s time to neutralize and paint. Clean up all toys and reading material except for one or two good books. Remove items that hang on the backs of doors and clean and organize the closets. Put a bright light bulb in there as well. Buyers will definitely look inside closets to see how much space there is. You want it to be tidy and organized rather than bursting at the seams!
Have a home office? Put away confidential or important papers into Bankers boxes, clean everything off the desk surface, weed out anything on bulletin boards and remove big or bulky filing cabinets. Make it look professional, tidy and clean!
Lastly, make the basement and laundry areas look as inviting as possible. A big, colourful throw rug in front of the washer/dryer helps to cheer up the space. Make sure to wipe down these appliances. You can paint concrete floors to give them a cleaner look. Organize boxes towards the outer walls of the basement to give good traffic flow. This is a good time to get rid of the stuff you don’t need. Keep the areas in front of the electrical panel and around the furnace/water heater accessible and don’t forget to wipe off these appliances. Also, replace the old furnace filter with a new one.
How do you keep your prep work organized and on track? Ask for our Room By Room Review workbook. We also have a variety of checklists that can help you stay organized. Remember, this is where the money is; in the pre-listing preparation of your home. We offer options for every home-owner. If you can’t manage the work, we can! It’s part of our turn-key home selling service. If you’d like a copy of our checklists or workbook, they’re FREE! Just reach out and request one.
Here’s to a successful house sale, no matter what the conditions!