Seller's Checklist

Get the Highest Price for Your House

If you are like most people, your home is likely your biggest, most important asset. When the time comes to sell your home, it is very important to plan this event carefully, choose optimal timing, pricing and marketing, and attend to details that will increase the appeal and therefore, marketability of the home. The goal is to ensure that, after all expenses, your net return is the highest possible.

Marketing:

It is important to have a good marketing plan. Where in the past you could just put up a for sale sign and advertise your home for sale in the local classifieds, the face of real estate marketing is rapidly changing, with the majority of buyers relying heavily on the internet to find their new homes.

Most homes are sold on the open market using MLS exposure.
Buyers will usually hire Realtors to help them in their search, negotiate the purchase and help to guide them through the process.
Today’s tech-savvy buyers are more likely to be involved more hands on, and will also search the Internet for suitable properties.
It is not unheard of that a buyer finds and falls in love with a property that is totally different than what he initially described to his Realtor.
Therefore it is extremely important that your house be exposed to Internet traffic.
The Realtor whom you hire to market your property is comfortable with Internet marketing and has a strong website where your property can be displayed to prospective buyers.

Timing:

If you have a choice with regard to timing:

It may be best to expose your home to the market while there is less competition and while there is high demand.
Common sense would say that the less homes buyers have to choose from, the easier it is to sell a home on the market.
In most Canadian markets, this is usually in early spring. However, with the ups and downs of the market lately, there are pockets of slower and busier activity throughout the year.
Your Realtor will be able to show you local statistics that show exactly what the market is doing at any given time and advise you of the most ideal timing to list your home for sale.
Time after time, this will prove to play a crucial part in a successful sale.

Curb Appeal:

When a prospective buyer drives up to your home, it can be compared to meeting someone for the first time. You know the old saying about not having a second chance to make a first impression. Well, it applies to homes as well.

Buyers will notice many little things that you may be easily able to overlook having seen your home day in and day out.
Don’t fool yourself that they won’t notice that loose board on your porch or the old coffee can that you use as an ashtray.
Try to look at your home objectively, as a buyer would.
Most fixes are easy and inexpensive and will help your home sell faster and for more money.
Pick up the garbage that the Chinook has blown against your fence, mow your lawn and keep it and the flower bed weed free and watered.
And above all, shovel your walkways in the winter!

The Entrance:

Your front entry, both inside and out should be in the best and cleanest condition possible.
As the buyers stand outside the front door, they have ample time to scrutinize as they wait for their Realtor to open the lockbox, retrieve the key and unlock the door.
How is the paint on your front door? Is it peeling and dirty or fresh and appealing?
Are there spider webs on the siding and exterior light? How about the hardware on the door?
Can the Realtor easily open the lock or does it have to be jiggled just right? I’m sure you get the idea.
The same can be said of the inside as the buyers come in and remove their shoes.

What is the impression that your home creates?
How does it smell? Could it benefit from a good airing out (especially in winter when our Canadian houses get very little fresh air).
Don’t try to over power smells with cloying air freshener products or your home will just end up smelling like bad air and Febreze.
Small things can make a big difference in the appeal your home will have to buyers.

Kitchen and Bathrooms:

Kitchen and bathrooms are the selling areas of your home.

If your kitchen or bathroom could use some refreshing, don’t decide to get them renovated before getting advice from your Realtor. The aim is to leave the most money in your pocket.
Often a small improvement goes a long way and you may decide that major renovations may be too time consuming and costly to truly accomplish your goal.
The most common sense solutions for kitchens is to unclutter and clean the counters and appliances (inside and out).
Tidy the pantry and remove items with a strong odor.
Take out the kitchen garbage frequently to eliminate unpleasant smells.
Bathrooms can benefit from fresh towels, attractive decorative soaps.
Replacing the shower curtain and matts is often a good idea.
A few well placed plants, bunches of fresh flowers and some accessories can go a long way, but don’t over do it.

Garages, Basements and Storage Areas:

As often happens in the frantic activity leading up to placing your home on the market, it is all too easy to shove items and clutter into whatever spaces may be available.

Buyers are usually very interested in the storage that a home has to offer, how much room there is for the car in the garage and the general room around the house.
They will also be interested in inspecting the mechanical areas of the house, including the furnace and air conditioning systems, hot water and water purification systems, electrical panels etc.
While it may take some extra effort, its definitely worth the time to try to keep these areas as tidy as possible and allow for access to the mechanical.
Changing the filter in your furnace and cleaning your humidifier is beneficial.

Children’s Toys:

Kids will be kids, and as such, particularly the younger ones, will have an abundance of brightly coloured toys. Many moms that I’ve worked with, will drive themselves into a frenzy over the state of their preschoolers rooms. Some practical things to remember when you live with the cast of Toy Story:

Keep the toys contained to a bedroom or play area, and not in every room.
As long as there is some neatness and it is possible to comfortably walk into the room without stepping on Barbie, the Lego need not be colour co-ordinated.
Don’t expect young children to maintain showhome like conditions in their rooms, adults viewing the homes will be understanding, and such impositions tend to create added stress for children and parents alike.