You have decided to sell your home. Now what? Here is what you need to do before you sell your home:
- De-Clutter: You want a nice easy flow when buyers are walking through your home without bumping into things or having to walk around things to get to the next room. All unneeded items and clutter in areas such as hallways, the kitchen, living rooms, and bedrooms should be neatly put away. Buyers will also have a peak in your closets and under the sink to see the amount of storage. Make your home look bigger by getting rid of anything you can. Remember, less is more!
- Home Maintenance: If carpets or floors need cleaning or repairs do them or get someone who knows what they are doing to do it. Check your walls to see if they are dirty or need repairs. If the walls are very dirty or chipped, they may need to be repainted. If you have bold colours on the carpet or walls, you may need to look into painting and replacing the carpets, since most buyers prefer neutral colours. If there are any water stains on the ceiling, you need to repaint that as well. You’re not hiding anything if it was an old problem that has been resolved. When it comes to bathrooms, reseal around the shower and sinks, etc. with a nice clean bead of caulking (silicone). Lastly, clean windows, window coverings, and have your furnace serviced. This will freshen up your home and impress the buyer and the home inspector. When it comes to the outside of your home, a nicely groomed lawn and trees are a great first impression and add curb appeal. If weather permits, plant some flowers. Again, this shows the buyers that the home has been well taken care of.
- Stage and de-personalize your home: Take down and pack away anything personal in your house such as family photos, personal keepsakes, and memorabilia collections. This helps keep potential buyers from distractions and allows them to imagine themselves living there. If done properly, staging your home with your own furniture or hiring a home stager leaves a great impression on the buyer who will start imagining your home as theirs. They will also note your great taste and want to do something similar if and when they buy your home.
- Renovations/upgrades: A great way to add value and help sell your home is to do some upgrades and renos. The kitchen and the master bedroom and ensuite are the rooms that leave a lasting impression. The quality in the materials is important but the craftsmanship/installation more so. Do not get caught up in all the T.V. shows about renovations, if you have never done the work then hire a professional or don’t do it at all. It makes more sense to price your home accordingly to the market and home conditions than trying to slap a few upgrades that the buyer will have to tear out or redo. You don’t always get back what you put in, so do not over upgrade. Price is still determined by the average neighbourhood active and sold prices. A home that sells for a million in an estate area will not sell for the same price in a neighbourhood with an average sale price of $400,000.
- Price it Right: It is important to price your home correctly. This is the time you have to be honest with yourself, and take any emotional attachment out of the process. Imagine your home in the eyes of the buyers. How does your home compare to the others that are currently for sale and recently sold? The market always determines the price! You want to be ahead of the market, not chasing it. You will have serious buyers through and better offers if priced right. Once a home is on the market for a long time buyers start to think something is wrong with your home. Always compare your home to not only your community but to surrounding neighbourhoods as well. Most buyers are not fixed on one particular community. This is where having a good realtor is important. You want to pick someone who is honest and will price your home competitively, not just quote you the highest price in order to get the listing.
Understanding Market Conditions
The Real Estate Market runs in cycles and it is important to understand how this can affect the sale of your home. There are two types of markets; overall market and local market, and three market positions; balanced markey, sellers market, and buyers market. Talk to a real estate agent to discuss what the current market conditons are.
Overall Market: The overall market is what is currently happening in the entire city. This is the market you will hear about when watching the evening news and reading the newspapers. The numbers they mention is an overall look of all the current listings and solds in the past month that will include all price ranges and all neighbourhoods. If the outlook is positive, the general public confidence is positive as well. It is important to ask your agent to break down the numbers to better understand where the media have drawn these numbers from.
Local Market: Your local market is a look at what is currently happening in your community as well as surronding communities. Evaluating current listings and solds in the past 90 days will help you determine the market position you are entering into. Most buyers are not soley focused on living in one specific community and they will usually see what the surronding communities have to offer as well. The variation of homes and prices in communities within close proximity is little compared to the active and sold numbers of a community in a different quadrant.
Balanced Market: The number of homes for sale is approximately equal to the demand (Demand/Supply equal).
a. Inventory levels are stable.
b. Prices remain stable.
c. Days on the market is reasonable.
d. Offers are reasonable.
Sellers Market: Buyers demand exceed the amount of homes for sale (Demand high/supply low).
a. Inventory levels are low.
b. Prices are higher and increasing.
c. Days on the market are short.
d. Offers are close to asking price or above (competing offers).
Buyers Market: Supply of homes exceed Buyers demand (Supply high/Demand low).
a. Inventory levels are high.
b. Prices are stable and/or dropping.
c. Days on the market are typically longer.
d. Offers can be lower since buyers have more leverage and more to choose from.
There are many factors to consider before deciding if you are ready to sell. The situation of each seller is different and the market condition is only one factor. Talk to your agent to figure out what is your best choice and plan of attack to get you top dollar for your home.
Preparing your Family for a Move
Planning a move always involves a little stress no matter how organized and prepared you are. If your doing this with children things are typically a little more difficult. You want to prepare your children for the move and make this easy on the entire family. Below I will outline a few things to consider when making a move.
1. Get them ready. The first thing to do is break the news about moving as soon as you have made the decision. Timing will depend on if you have to sell your home before buying. Give them enough time to process the information and see that future changes are for the best. Always add a positive spin to the move. For example, let them know that the new home has a perfect place for their favorite toy to live. Mention the new playground that they can play in and the nearest ice cream shop or slurpee store. If it is not too far, make an occasional trip to your new community and explore with them.
2. Get your children involved. Allow your children to get involved with the search for a new home, packing, cleaning, organizing the move. You can also use this opportunity to teach them important life lessons about what a mortgage is or the steps of buying and selling a home. If they feel involved the move begins to be exciting.
3. Packing and unpacking your children’s belongings. Involve your children in sorting through the toys. Have them pack a few of their favourite now toys. Toys that are beyond repair should be tossed out and toys that are no longer an interest can be donated. Giving your children choices gives them a feeling of control. Make sure your children’s belongings are packed last and first to be unpacked at the new home. Surrounding them with familiar things will help calm them with all the changes that are going on.
4. Take you children to visit your new home and community. Getting them familiar with their surroundings will help ease anxiety. Have them play at the playground a few times. But go at the same time if possible. They may run into other children a few times and make friends. What is a better way to unpack while your children are at their new friends house.
5. Move-in day. Have the movers unload all the children’s things first. This will keep them occupied while you get the rest sorted out. Involve your children in decorating their rooms and order their favorite food while unpacking. You want to keep this positive and exciting. If your lucky and have friends or family around have them stay with them while you have everything unpacked.
6. All settled in. When you are all unpacked and ready to enjoy the home have a house warming party. Invite neighbours with children to help them become friends.
Although moving can be difficult for both you and your children keeping them involved with the process and introducing them to the great new things in the community will help ease anxiety.