Today a home that stands out among similarly priced, competitively financed houses is the home that sells. Why? Because it makes a good first impression that lasts right through to when the agreements are signed.
You may not be able to improve the market value of your house (finish basement, remodel kitchen, etc), but you can improve its marketability. The key is to put yourself in the buyer's shoes.
First impressions are hard to break, and the way your home looks from the street is the first impression a prospective buyer will get. This can make or break the sale. Does it look a little dingy or dull? Give it a face-lift with a good old-fashioned paint job or power wash. Keep the grass mowed and the weeds pulled. Trim trees and bushes. Plant flowers to add a touch of colour. Replace a weather-beaten mailbox, and add visual interest by positioning rocks and potted plants around it!
Once you get the potential buyer out of the car, continue the allure them with a friendly front door. Restore its lustre with a few coats of varnish or spiff it up with a rich, new accent colour. In other words, make your house a showpiece from the curb to the front door. Here are a few pointers:
- Trim your lawn,
- Make sure your shrubs are well-proportioned.
- Remove garden hoses, lawn tools, dog house, and toys from the yard.
- Clear windows that give a glimpse of something nice inside.
- Clean, or even paint the front door.
- Keep walks and steps free of any dry leaves etc
They're ready to open the door. Is your home in order? Start by getting rid of the clutter (don't forget the garage), leaving a blank canvas for buyers to fill in with their own ideas.
Clear out closets and cupboards. Remove knickknacks from tables, countertops and bookshelves. Remove all unnecessary furniture to make your rooms seem more spacious. Brighten rooms with a fresh coat of paint. Choose neutral shades of white, off-white, beige or light pastels that will coordinate with most decors.
Here are some general pointers:
- Give your home an open, airy feel by opening the curtains and pulling up the blinds.
- Turn on as many lights as possible.
- Kitchens should be absolutely spotless. Pack up all excess kitchen appliances.
- Clean the oven inside and out.
- Run a lemon through the garbage disposal for a fresh smell.
- Bathrooms are just as important. Remove stains from bathroom fixtures, repair dripping faucets and polish mirrors.
- Add sanitizers to toilet bowls and keep lids down.
- Potpourris and scented soaps add a nice fragrance to the air.
- And as a final touch, appeal to the home buyer's senses by playing soft background music while people tour your home.
Many buyers judge the house keeping by the oven and stove. Appliances must be spotless and make sure everything works perfectly. Replace or repair anything that sticks, squeaks or drips. The counters and cabinets should be kept open and uncluttered without countertop appliances.
The master bedroom
The second-most appealing room to a buyer is the master bedroom. Furnishings should be uncluttered. Try to define sleeping, dressing and sitting areas with furniture arrangements. Show the true size of closets by removing or packing items that can be stored elsewhere like off-season clothes.
Sinks, toilets, bathtubs, tiles, and even shower curtain must be immaculate (no soap film). Fix leaky faucets. If there are rust stains, it indicates faulty plumbing. Lighting must be soft (no harsh fluorescent).
The recreation room
The recreation room should give the ‘feel’ of an open space that accommodates an assortment of activities. Fireplace or wood stove with fresh logs is an ideal extra for this room.
The perfect garage holds only cars. Make sure that the garage is uncluttered. Sell, giveaway or toss unnecessary articles. Clean oily cement floor. If you do use the garage as storage area, make sure it is orderly and tidy.
Organize the basement by hanging tools on pegboards, and putting things on shelves. Cure any damp smell by placing a bag of limestone in the damp area. Try brightening the basement by painting the walls.
The following conditions may require a work order:
- Broken windows.
- Debris in crawl space.
- Dry rotting or deteriorated wood.
- Earth-wood contact.
- Overgrown shrubbery.
- Electricals not in working condition.
- Gutters and downspouts blocked or missing.
- Inadequate foundation ventilation.
- Inadequate attic ventilation.
- Peeling or missing paint.
- Plumbing not in working condition.
- Single oil or gas space heaters to heat entire house.
- Water damage inside the home.
Sellers/Developers wishing to advertise their properties under construction or even off-plan for sale need to be able to provide prospective buyers with visual aids of how the finished product will look like. In addition to floor plans, site plans and other specifications, 3D video animations and 3D images are highly recommended.