5 Tips for selling your home with Jonathan Scott
Your home has probably seen a lot of good times and been the setting for many personal milestones. However, when it comes time to sell, remember that those fond memories of your kids growing up, or the amazing gatherings you've had here, aren't as sentimental to others. So put your memories aside and take an objective look at your home through the buyer’s eyes. With that in mind, here are five key things to do to make your home market ready.
1. Look at your house with critical eyes
Correct flaws you’ve overlooked or learned to live with. Ironically, this can mean maximizing your home’s livability just before you move out of it! Replace cracked tiles, worn or damaged flooring and fixtures and burned-out light bulbs. Repair holes and cracks in walls, fix leaky faucets, pressure-wash dirty decks and patios. Swap out dated door and window hardware and light fixtures for more stylish ones. These are simple, high-value fixes. Your house is only as strong as its weakest link.
2. More substantial improvements help your home stand out
Kitchen and bath improvements tend to be worth it, if done well. Painting or replacing cabinets, putting in stone counters and upgrading toilets, showers and tubs can pay off in greater appeal and a higher selling price. It may even be worth changing the structure.
For example, combining two small rooms into one, or removing a wall to improve the flow of space – but only if it will boost market value as much as, or more than, the added expense. Knowing what buyers in that neighborhood would expect will help educate you on where to spend so that you see returns.
3. Go green
Eco-friendly design is more than a fad – many buyers value it for its long-run environmental and money saving benefits. If you haven’t already done so, make your home more eco-friendly by adding insulation, using caulk and weather-stripping to eliminate leaks and installing new energy-efficient appliances or HVAC equipment (look for Energy Star-rated products, which may earn you tax credits).
Potential buyers will want to see copies of utility bills, so pull those together, along with repair and maintenance records and household operating manuals. It’s a big plus if buyers see energy savings from your improvements reflected in utility bills.
It's hard for someone to imagine themselves living in a new house, if everywhere they turn there's a portrait of your family. Depersonalizing your home makes it easier for others to see themselves in it. That means removing family photos and other memorabilia. Be ruthless about decluttering; rent a storage space if necessary, which not only reduces your presence but also makes the home feel more spacious.
Organize closets and drawers and don’t fill completely – buyers love orderly, roomy storage. Tone down wild colours and patterns with neutral paint hues and fabrics. But don’t make it too bland – flashes of colour add appeal and can give a more positive lasting impression.
5. Increase curb appeal
This is the first and last image of the house people will see and remember. Make sure exterior walls and trim look fresh and walkways are inviting. Repair or upgrade your driveway, walks and front steps (say, with new landscape lighting or a stone or brick border). Trim overgrown landscaping and add or expand flowerbeds. New flowers and other ornamental plants, in the ground or in good-looking containers, add allure at little cost.
Even minor things like new house numbers, a new mailbox or repainting the front door in a catchy colour can make a big difference. Outside and in, the house should look well-kept and inviting – in other words, ready to market. You want it to say, "Welcome!"