10 Tips for First Time Sellers
Making your property appealing takes more than just piling things into closets, stuffing items under beds and adding some scented candles. When you've got your place on the market, you want to show it off to full advantage. Here are 10 tips, that in our experience, help buyers warm to your property.
1. Depersonalize. This is one of the most important rules of staging. Store the trophies, family photos, religious items and toiletries. Buyers don't want to see the space as someone else's and getting rid of your personal items helps them visualize it as theirs.
2. Be a minimalist. Having less on display makes your place look bigger and more appealing. Pack up the knick-knacks, clear off the countertops, clear out half your closet items and organize what's left. If you're tempted to toss all the extras into the bunkie, boathouse or garage, don't. Buyers will be looking in there too. If you need to, rent a storage unit while your property is on the market.
3. Ensure your cottage or home is spotless. One of the biggest turnoffs for buyers is a place that isn't clean. Mop floors and make sure windows and mirrors are gleaming. And don't forget about the small everyday items like crumbs on the table, rumpled beds, toothbrushes left by the sink or half-full garbage cans. Details count and people will notice.
4. Always be show ready. Yes, this is a hassle. Realtors like to be organized and give plenty of notice. But showings sometimes happen spontaneously, so do your best to make sure your place is always clean and ready to go. Rather than putting dirty dishes in the sink wash them right away or put them in the dishwasher. Keep your valuables stored away and make sure personal information isn't in plain sight. Ensure your key is always in the lockbox. Follow a checklist so you don't miss anything.
5. Be flexible. Be open to last minute showings and other inconveniences. The more flexible you can be now, the less time it should take to sell your property. And don't stick around when potential buyers are there. There is nothing more uncomfortable than looking at a cottage or home while current owners are there, watching you. Go out for dinner, take the kids for a boat ride or visit friends.
6. Keep things fresh. A cottage or home that looks clean should smell clean, too. Cooking smells, mildew and pet odours are all serious turnoffs. Open the windows, turn on air purifiers, and use lightly scented candles only with extreme care if at all. Avoid using plug-ins, room sprays or other artificial fragrances. Many people are sensitive to them, and having an overwhelming scent can make it seem like you're trying to mask an odour problem. Less is definitely more.
7. Relocate your pets. While your pet maybe very friendly, don't leave them behind during a showing. Not everyone is an animal lover and no one wants to see the litter box or a bowl of dog food on the kitchen floor. Have a plan for taking your pet away with you during showings.
8. Make a great first impression. Ensuring the inside of your cottage or home looks great is important but don't forget about the part they see first: the exterior. Up your curb appeal by making sure windows are clean, trim is painted, decks and docks power washed, pathways trimmed. Adding some colourful plants to your garden or having containers on your dock is a wonderfully cheap and cheerful boost. And don't forget the entryway. Get rid of coats, shoes and keys, put out some fresh flowers and make it a welcoming space that offers the perfect step into to the rest of your home.
9. Lighten up. Create a bright, cheery atmosphere by turning on all the lights and opening up the curtains and blinds, or consider removing them completely. Trim back any bushes that block the window light and don't forget to clean the windows.
10. Show off your assets. Do your best to really maximize the best features of your cottage or home. Do you have beautiful hardwood floors? Put the area rugs away. Want to highlight a nicely renovated kitchen? Emphasis its beauty by storing dishtowels and countertop appliances out of sight.
It all boils down to this. If you do everything possible to make your space look its best and can be flexible about showings, your property will appeal to more buyers and sell faster.