Lest there be any misapprehensions when it comes to selling your home, a good first impression is critical.
That’s the word from three local realtors, who all agree curbside appeal is hugely important when it comes to wooing buyers. In fact, when asked to provide their top five tips for preparing a home for the market, curb appeal was the only response all three agreed upon.
“The old adage, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, is extremely true when it comes to selling a home,” says Dianne Enns, an agent with Royal LePage-Brookside Realty.
It’s a sentiment shared by Mike Huber of Macdonald Realty, who says, “First impressions are very important, so yes, curb appeal is a must. Wash windows, in and out, pressure wash, cut lawns and clean up garden beds.
“A fresh coat of paint and a little work can go along way to help sell your home, and usually quicker and for a large dollar amount. Think of yourself as a buyer. What would your first impressions be?”
“Drive around your neighbourhood and pretend that you are a buyer,” says Willard Dunn, from Re/Max Lifestyles Realty. “What do you see that you like? And what not? Now drive home and look at your house with the same thoughts. If your home is not as nice as all the other ones you’ve seen, make a list of the things you can do – and can afford to do – then make those changes to yours.”
Naturally, that’s just the start for anyone who is serious about selling, and who wants to improve the chances of selling fast and for a better price.
Garnering two nods apiece, and next on the list of priorities are the following: new paint, tidying and de-cluttering, and creating space.
The more spacious and bigger you can make your home feel, the more buyers will like it,” says Dunn. “Open the drapes and turn on the lights [to eliminate shadows].”
Put away shoes and clothes, clear counters, pick up anything from the floor that doesn’t belong there, and pack up the knickknacks. It’s also a good idea to put into storage those items from your closets that you aren’t using to create a more spacious look. Prospective buyers will look in your closets, so don’t just jam everything in there to get it off the floor.
“If you have not used it in years, you probably do not need it. Think of this process as getting a head start on your packing,” says Huber.
Some new paint inside and out is a great way to freshen things up, says Enns.
It’s relatively cheap, and it makes the home look new again. It can also brighten the house up and make it seem more spacious if you choose the right colours.
To sell, go with neutral colours and let the new owners deal with re-decorating.
Unless your home is particularly run down, you probably don’t need to spend a lot of money to get it ready for sale. Only spend money on repairs that make the home look well kept.
Replace burned out light bulbs, grease door hinges so they don’t squeak, patch holes, clean the furnace, test your alarms, fix leaks. Check to see that the doors are level. Clean the carpets.
A small investment in time and money will make your home look well cared for, and therefore easier to sell.
Another key tip, says Huber, is to find the right real estate agent for you. Do your homework and interview several realtors to find the one who seems most compatible.
“We are not all created equal, nor should we be,” he adds. “Real estate is not a ‘one fit’ solution … Sellers and their agent are a team, and must be able to work together.”
Also remember, says Dunn, that these are just tips on improving your chances. At the end of the day, there’s only one thing that will definitely sell your home, he added, and that’s the right price.
“And only the buyer and the seller know what that is.”
Robert Prince is a local freelance writer.