Your house may be your biggest asset. When the time comes to sell your house or condo, it is very important to plan this event carefully, choose optimal timing, pricing and marketing, and attend to details that would increase the appeal of the residence. The goal is to ensure that, after all expenses, your net return is the highest possible.
There are many factors that affect the sale price of a property. Some of them are 'fixed', like location, or current market conditions. Some of them, however, can be changed to produce the best selling price and selling conditions.
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. Traditionally such a time comes in the spring. In the Toronto real estate market spring comes early, usually at the beginning of February. It may not be wise to wait until the flowers in the garden are in bloom. By that time many properties become available, and the advantage of having an early start is gone. If you think your garden is a real asset and would increase the perceived value of your home, why not take some beautiful pictures and mount a display?
This is one of the most important aspects of a successful sale. In the recent frantic real estate market a house that was priced low enough to appear as a 'bargain' would attract a large number of offers, and, as a result, often sell above the market value. You may find some examples of such sales in my Neighbourhood Statistics section (left menue). It is ill advised, however, to list too high. If, in a swift market, a house doesn't sell within a week or two, it raises questions. Buyers might think there is a problem with the house. More likely, however, there is a problem with pricing. Your agent should be able to determine what would be the most advantageous listing price, to invite multiple offers.
It is important to have a good marketing plan. Most houses are sold on the open market using MLS exposure. Majority of buyers hire Realtors to help them in their search and to negotiate the purchase. But today’s tech-savvy buyers like to be involved in the process and also search the Internet for suitable properties. It happens often enough, 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 the Internet traffic, and that the Realtor whom you hire to market your property is comfortable with Internet marketing and has a good Internet presence (website).
When the buyers approach your front entrance, it is the first time your property will be judged. Do not deceive yourself that small defects, like peeling paint or a crooked step, would not be noticed. Look at your home objectively, and put yourself into the buyer's shoes looking for faults. Small defects are usually easy to fix, and fixing them will put money into your pocket.
The first impressions are made here. Make sure the front hall is as neat and attractive as possible, and also that it is well lit. Put away extra coats and footwear. In the winter provide a rug for wet shoes and boots.
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, and often a small improvement goes a long way. Generally, it is wise to unclutter and clean the counters and the fridge door, place fresh, attractive towels in the bathroom, perhaps buy a new, pretty shower curtain and decorative soaps. Strategically placed potted plants add to the ambience.
In the frenzy of preparing the house for showings it sometimes happens that the basement becomes cluttered with the 'overflow'. If possible, however, it should also be neat, and should provide access to all the important parts that make the house function – the furnace, electrical panel, water heater etc.
General appeal and atmosphere:
If you don’t feel confident that you can create the best atmosphere that will make your home irresistible to the prospective buyers, you should ask your Realtor for an opinion and advice. It has become increasingly popular to hire a company that arranges the furniture and objects, sometimes adding from their own collection, to maximize the appeal of a home. This is called 'staging'. Your Realtor should be able to provide you with such contact if appropriate.