The Vancouver real estate market is heating up and house prices are on the climb. This is encouraging more sellers to list their properties after what has been a record breaking slow nine months. Perhaps you’re getting ready to sell? Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work because getting ready to sell your home entails a lot more than just planting a “For Sale” sign on your front lawn.
Competition can be fierce under any circumstances. Vancouver has started to see the return of bidding wars, but this is largely due to lack of inventory. The market is still – just – favouring buyers. This will likely re-balance as more homes get listed and become available. As a seller then, you need to think about what will make your house ‘the chosen one’? And most importantly, how will you get top dollar for it? It’s essential to present your home in the best possible light.
But first, you’ll need to find a great real estate agent. Do some research to find a Realtor who is knowledgeable about your specific area. Your real estate agent should be someone you feel comfortable working with, whom you can trust to sell your house within a suitable time frame and for an amount you’re happy with. Don’t be afraid to talk with a few real estate agents before picking one.
Working closely with your real estate agent will allow you to simultaneously influence your best pricing and marketing strategy before listing your home. This is where your efforts really come into play. But where do you even begin? That’s why I’ve put together this checklist that will help you get ready to sell your home this spring. Some of these tips are surprisingly easy, while others might require a bit more time and planning.
You’re about to embark on an epic decluttering and spring cleaning mission, and you’ll need some tools to help you. Get yourself ready with sufficient supplies ahead of time to reduce stress in the moment. You can purchase boxes from Costco, or consider re-usable boxes from Frogbox which are more durable and good for the environment too! If you’re going to be moving a lot of stuff out of your house for the sale then you might even want to consider renting a storage locker.
Less is definitely more when getting ready to sell your home. The goal is to create a canvas in which your potential buyers can envision themselves living in. I know it can be tough, but remove family photos, knick-knacks, souvenirs, collections – anything that can be identified as being you. Remember, you want your home to appeal to as many buyers as possible. That will only happen if they can picture their own stuff in the house. Dedicate one day to each room or zone in your house to make the process more manageable for you.
It can be an expensive inconvenience to store all the stuff you don’t really need. When deciding what to keep and bring with you to your new home, it can be helpful to start with a broad sorting system. This can simply involve “keep”, “sell”, “donate” and “toss”.
One of the most cost effective ways to freshen up a room is with a fresh coat of paint. Bold and eclectic colours can be off-putting to some buyers, so definitely switch to neutral, more universally appealing tones to appeal to the most people possible. Tip: lighter colours can help small rooms look bigger! Pay attention to baseboards, sills, and ceilings for touch ups.
You’d be surprised how grimy windows can get on the inside! And of course, don’t neglect the exterior windows as well. If you’re in a condo you may not be able to reach your outside windows, but make sure you know the cleaning schedule to assure your potential buyer that it is planned for/recently done. You can, and should however get your blinds cleaned. They can get very dirty over time, especially the ones near windows and patio doors that are open a lot.
If your walls and doors are scuffed, buy some magic erasers and get to it! You’ll be amazed at the difference. This would also be a good time to update/add/remove any art work and wall décor.
Unless your carpets are brand new you’ll want to get them steam cleaned. You can hire a professional or you can rent a cleaner from your local hardware store. For hardwood and laminate floors, get yourself some wood pens and touch up any scratches to help them look brand new.
Stand on your street and take a look at your front yard. What do you see? Rent a power washer for the day; it’s a quick and easy way to make concrete and decks looking brand new again by safely removing algae without the use of chemicals. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint or some new hardware. Make sure to pimp up your backyard too and pay attention to the health of grass and plants as you have a tidy up of patio furniture.
Apply the same critique if you’re in a condo with a patio or balcony. Make it feel like the perfect place to unwind after work on a summer evening!
With your home looking magazine worthy, it’s time for the photographer to work their magic. This will happen a few days before you list your home sale, and may even include a video virtual tour. Be sure to communicate and coordinate with your Realtor when the light is best (be specific to the hour, e.g, 10am-11am) as this will make a big difference in the photos.
Buyers and agents are going to need all the details and historical information about your home and will be asking a lot of questions. Gather and organize everything into one convenient file so you can quickly provide the required information. For example, strata documents, utility bills, renovation details, appliances and warranties, tax bills, rental contracts, etc.
Your real estate agent, prospective buyers and their agents will need access to your home, so you’ll need an extra set of keys. It’s worth doing if you don’t want to hassle with the lockbox every time you come home.
Keep your kids and pets things concealed and out of sight when photographing and showing your home. Buyers won’t appreciate barking/jumping/food and water bowls so make a plan to get your pets out of the house. Plus, having multiple strangers in and out of the home can be stressful on your fur babies, so off to doggie day care, or grandma’s they go.
If you’re a pet owner be sure to pay special attention to pet beds, furniture, and other surfaces where they spend their time. You may be used to your pets scent, but buyers won’t be. Tuck the litter box away and use Febreeze on everything. Open up all of your windows before a showing or open house to get fresh air well ventilated throughout your home. Light a scented candle or place fresh flowers in main rooms to create a subtle fragrance that isn’t overpowering.
Hopefully this home seller’s checklist has helped you create an actionable plan in getting ready to sell your home. Remember it’s important to view the condition of your home from a buyer’s perspective and make it as attractive as possible. Does it look clean, tidy, and in good repair? Yes? Then you’re off to a great start.
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RE/MAX All Points Realty
102-321 Sixth St,
New Westminster, BC, V3L 3A7