Do you hope to sell your home fast? While there are many reasons why a seller may choose to quickly list and sell their home — change in family circumstances, job relocation or even debt consolidation — quite often selling your fast can also mean a more lucrative sale.
In most real estate markets, the less time a property lingers on the market, the better the sale price. While this isn’t always the case — see “Best Time To Sell” — a quicker sale on your property will mean faster access to cash, enabling you to move forward with whatever new adventure awaits you.
For a fast sale, consider these five ways to prep your home before you list. Each of these tips will move you closer to the goal of encouraging a buyer to put in an offer and seal the sale.
Prep Step #1: Rent a Storage Unit
One practical priority for home buyers is ample storage space. When potential buyers arrive at your home for a viewing, they will unconsciously take in how cluttered or cramped the home is, and, quite often, they’ll look in every cupboard, closet and storage spot that’s accessible.
Opening up a closet door only to be hit with a landslide of clothes, toys, or boxes isn’t good, as they’ll take this as a sign that your home lacks adequate storage space.
Some sellers try and get around this by packing up all their “extra” stuff and storing these boxes in the attic, garage or storage locker. But keep in mind the “idea” of space is just as important in the dedicated storage areas of your home. Many buyers interpret this as a more organized seller, who still has a storage problem and this defeats your intention: To show a home that has plenty of storage space.
In order to help alleviate these concerns, consider renting an off-site storage unit. The benefit of this prep step is that it allows you to systematically prepare for your eventual move by forcing you to begin packing up all non-essential items in your home.
Once these boxes are packed and in the storage unit, your closets and storage space will look emptier and feel roomier and this will have a psychological impact on potential sellers.
Buyer Psychology: Buyers perceive clean closets and cabinets as larger, and that adds value, to your home, in their minds.
Prep Step #2: Amplify Curb Appeal
Before you can lure buyers to see how fantastic your home is on the inside, you need to impress them with what’s on the outside. That means paying attention to your home’s curb appeal — and this is true even for condo owners (who may not have a direct influence on how the building or complex presents itself to the general public).
That’s because the first impression is, quite often, through online photos. When buyers first start considering homes to buy, they usually begin with an online search. This search allows them to view photos and this will prompt a shortlist of homes they’d initially like to see. The biggest draw, in this process, is how your home is presented through the photos.
This doesn’t mean you need to pay for professional photos — although, it doesn’t hurt! But it does mean you need to pay attention to whether or not photos show your home in the best light. A few good tips are to turn on all lights in the home and open all window coverings, prior to taking the photo and to remove all signs of pets and clutter off of floors and countertops. Remember: You need to turn your home into a show-home because the buyer wants a blank enough canvas to imagine living in the property.
Of course, for those living in houses or townhouses, you’ll need to go one step further and actually address your home’s curb appeal. As soon as potential buyers develop a shortlist of homes they find most attractive, they’ll head off on a drive-by to pinpoint which properties they’d like to tour with an agent.
If your home doesn’t ooze curb appeal, buyers may get turned off and cross your home off from their “must-see” list.
To amplify your curb appeal make sure your landscaping is done. Collect yard waste and leaf pile, trim hedges and prune trees and add splashes of colour through potted plants or beds of flowers, particularly around the entrance-way.
Don’t stop there. Clean the windows, inside and out, wipe down the eaves and clean debris from the eavestroughs. If your exterior trim needs a fresh coat of paint, do it. And, if your home and driveway need the brightening effect of a power washing, hire someone to tackle the job.
Buyer psychology: Poor curb appeal sends a message to buyers that you’ve also neglected the interior of the home. While that may be an unfair assumption, it is essential that you understand this aspect of buyer psychology before you hang up a “For Sale” sign.
Prep Step #3: Clear Personal Photos and Mementos
You look at your favourite family photos every day, and they bring a smile to your face as you recall fond memories with your loved ones. While those memories are precious to you, buyers won’t find them quite as endearing. These are your memories, not memories of potential buyers, and as a result, these photos and mementos can become a distraction.
To remove this distraction, you need to clear your home of personal items. While it might feel odd to walk through your kitchen and see your kiddo’s macaroni art project missing from the fridge, remember that the goal is to sell your home fast at the best possible price. Removing remnants of your life in the home allows potential buyers the freedom to imagine how wonderful it would be to live in your home — and that’s key to tweaking the heartstrings of potential buyers.
The best part? By putting all these precious mementoes in storage you get an opportunity to lovingly unpack in your new home — and it will feel like Christmas morning as you reconnect with your family treasures.
Buyer Psychology: When you list your home, you want to help buyers imagine their life inside this property. People find it hard to imagine their own life if they are surrounded by reminders of another person’s life. Remove the distraction to create an uncluttered path to a potential buyer’s heart.
Prep Step #4: Are Your Kitchen and Bathrooms on Par?
Take a close look at your kitchen and bathrooms. Are they on par with other homes in your area? That means are they upgraded, updated and clean when compared to the other homes for sale in your area? If not, this is where you will want to invest some time and money.
Assuming you’ve kept up with maintenance over the years, these don’t need to be expensive upgrades. Things like freshening up the paint, installing new light fixtures or replacing draw and cabinetry handles can go a long way to breathing new life into these rooms.
And don’t overlook the importance of a good clean. Sweep away all cobwebs inside and outside, clean every nook and cranny and scrub all walls, windows and appliances until they sparkle like new.
Buyer Psychology: Buyers want to move in and enjoy their new home. If they are faced with a home that’s dirty or falling apart, they’ll question what else has been neglected. This can introduce doubt into a buyer’s mind, which can lead to hesitation and severely reduce your chance of a fast sale.
Prep Step #5: Engage the Services of a Real Estate Agent
Once you’ve taken those previous steps, it’s time to engage the services of a real estate agent. How do you find an awesome agent? Ask friends for a recommendation, search online reviews, look for agents or brokerage firms that are active in your community and trust your gut instinct.
For example, if your neighbours had great success selling their previous home and sing praises about their agent, give that agent a call and invite them to chat with you about your listing.
Your agent should offer to perform an analysis to help you determine the right price, set a marketing strategy, and advise you on any other “tweaks” your home needs before you list it. If you are not offered these services, then look for a different agent.
Buyer Psychology: An experienced, top real estate agent will know how to price your home competitively enough to entice buyers and this is important because your home will be competing against other properties for sale.
The Bottom Line
Once you decide to sell your home, consider it an “investment” rather than “home.” While it can be bittersweet to remove your belongings and pack up memories, remember that your end goal is securing the funds you need to open up the next chapter of your life.