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Calgary Home Seller's Resources: Preparing Your Home For Showings


 

 

Getting ready to sell? Discover the little tricks that the pros use. Home builders have been doing this for years and for only one reason, it makes money. If you want the quick home staging "Boot Camp" condensed version read 12 Top Tips for Showing Your Home and 12 Best Ways to Host Showings. These two sections are the meat & potatoes of being ready to sell when the Buyers arrive. It you feel you are ready and want to go the extra mile then venture into the Guerilla OverAchievers section.

 


 

 

Three Great "Get-Your-Home-Ready" topics on one page!

  • 12 Top Tips for Showing Your Home
  • 12 BEST WAYS TO HOST SHOWINGS
  • GUERILLA HOME STAGING FOR OVERACHIEVERS

 


 

 

12 QUICK WAYS TO MAKE YOUR HOME READY TO SHOW

We don’t get a SECOND chance to make a GOOD first impression. Most buyers look for homes that are well cared for and bright.

  1. Curb Appeal
    Remove clutter, cut grass, edge walks, trim hedges, weed gardens. Paint, fix or wash railings, steps, storms, screens and doors. Tuck away any children’s toys, gardening tools, etc. If it is winter, make sure the walk and steps are clear of ice and snow.
  2. Kitchen
    Should be clean and free of clutter. All appliances including the hoodfan should be spotless, inside and out. Clear all work space (ie put away small appliances and knick knacks). Remove fridge magnets, decals, children's drawings, messages and catchalls. Stash scouring pads and dish drainers under the sink.
  3. Bathrooms
    Need to be neat and spotless. Grout and caulking must look fresh. Bleach the stained grout, replace any missing tile, and be sure all surfaces sparkle. Stash toiletries in drawers or cupboards. Keep the most necessary items neatly in a basket or on a tray on the counter. Hide or remove garbage cans
  4. Follow your nose
    Pet, cigarette or cooking smells can put buyers off no matter how attractive the house is otherwise. Look into having your pets visit someone else during the showing period. Consider professional steam cleaning for carpets and drapes and a professional cleaning crew for the rest of the house. Air out the house frequently and make sure the garbage is empty.
  5. Clutter
    Go for a minimalist approach with wall-hangings and personal items. Remove collections of family photos from the walls and mantels, posters from kids' rooms, and certificates from the den. Start packing now. Pack extra books so that book shelves look sparse and open. Pack out-of-season clothing, sports equipment and other excess items and stash them in a mini storage locker. Don't strip the house bare, however. Arrange ornaments and knickknacks attractively in groups of one, three or five.
  6. Create more space
    In small dining rooms, remove the leaves in the table and the extra chairs. If the dining room is large, leave the leaves in the table to show buyers how nicely a large table fits in the room. Tidy hutches and buffets.
  7. Closets
    Neat and tidy closets help your home to feel more spacious.
  8. Plumbing & Hardware
    Make sure everything works. Repair dripping faucets, leaky toilets and unclog drains. Oil hinges, tighten door knobs, cabinet doors, faucets. For sliding doors that stick in their tracks, rub the tracks with paraffin or candle wax.
  9. Lighting
    Ensure that every room is adequately lit and appealing. Replace all burned out bulbs, faulty switches. Install high wattage bulb in dimly lit areas. Don't forget to clean the windows. Clean windows can make a house seem 20% brighter.
  10. Ceilings
    Check ceilings for leak stains. Fix the cause of the damage, repair the ceiling and repaint. Sometimes lightly applying diluted bleach will save a paint job. If repainting the walls, stick to off-whites or neutral colours.
  11. Garage
    Straighten up, sweep floor, fix or wash doors and windows. Ensure the garage door is clean, attractive and in good working order. Remove everything but the essentials from the garage interior and arrange tools neatly.
  12. General Condition
    Dust, wash, putty holes and paint walls, fix defects, as required. Store unneeded items to "enlarge" room size. Shampoo all carpets so they are odor free and look their best.
     

12 BEST WAYS TO HOST SHOWINGS

  1. It is always best to leave your home during showings. Children, pets and adults can keep prospective buyers from feeling at ease while they look through a home. Keep pets well out of the way, preferably out of your house during the showing. Barking dogs can create a negative emotion and those potential purchasers who are afraid of or allergic to pets will not wish to view your home. If you’re out during the showing, it allows the Buyer to comfortably view your home and to speak openly about it. This gives their Realtor an opportunity to overcome objections.
  2. Turn off the television and stereo, even background music can be distracting.
  3. Turn on all lights for the entire showing. Open drapes in the daytime, close them at night.
  4. Strong cooking, smoking, or pet odors can ruin a sale. Make sure your home is fresh for showings.
  5. Have a lockbox installed and leave your home ready to show whenever possible.
  6. Buyer’s Realtors are working for the Buyer. Do not give them any information that would affect your bargaining position.
  7. Proofread your home's feature sheets, and notify us of any errors. Make sure the detail sheets are left in a conspicuous place.
  8. If there are features in your home that you would like to bring to the Buyer’s attention, have your Realtor prepare feature cards.
  9. Use an answering machine or voicemail messaging service so messages can be left regarding appointments.
  10. Remove and replace items not included in the sale of your house (e.g. chandelier, water conditioner, etc.)
  11. Often it is difficult for Realtors to schedule appointments precisely. Expect Realtors one half hour either way of the appointment.
  12. If your sign is vandalized or dislodges, please let us know right away and we will have it corrected.

 

GUERILLA HOME STAGING FOR OVERACHIEVERS

Want to go above and beyond the 12 Quick Ways to Get Your Home Ready? Do you want Buyers to write an offer right now? Here are some more suggestions for making your home irresistible.

You need to try to pull back and be objective about your home. Think of your house as a marketable product. Your goal is to get others to see it as their potential home, not yours. If you do not consciously make this decision, you can inadvertently create a situation where it takes longer to sell your property.

The first step in getting your home ready to sell is to make it buyer friendly, stage it. Try your best to look at your home through the eyes of the buyer.

Home builders spend thousands of dollars when preparing show homes. The reason that they do is simple – IT WORKS! Buying a home is very much an emotional decision & we want to get buyers excited and feeling good about moving into your home.

The following is a comprehensive "to do" list to maximize your return on your home investment. There is an extensive amount of information. Let us know if you would like a pre-listing appointment to get advise on preparing your home for sale. It can make a substantial difference to your bottom-line.

Outside:

A first impression is crucial in selling a home. Remember that when a prospect comes to look at your home, the first impression (curb appeal) is vital. Seventy percent of the time a potential buyer will drive past your home to see the outside before they will make an appointment to see the inside. Take a walk across the street and take a good look at your house. Look at nearby houses, too, and see how yours compares.

  • Paint, fix or wash railings, steps, storms, screens and doors.
  • Replace any missing shingles.
  • Clean out gutters & wash windows.
  • Install large, visible number and mailbox.
  • Replace & repair fence and deck boards, hinges, gate locks, etc.
  • Repair loose siding or pavement
  • Replace any cracked or broken windows.
  • Consider power-washing or painting the exterior of your home to spruce it up a little.
  • Keep the yard mowed, raked, weeded, fertilized and watered.
  • Trees and shrubs should be pruned and trimmed. Trim bushes so they don’t block windows and cut down on light.
  • Use plants and flowers on porches and front walk way - create curb appeal! Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.
  • In the winter, remove ice and snow from the walk and steps.
  • Remove dying plants or keep them out of sight.
  • Is your landscaping at least average for the neighborhood? If it is not, buy a few bushes and plant them. Do not put in trees. Mature trees are expensive, and you will not get back your investment. Also, immature trees do not really add much to the appearance value of the home.
  • Hoses and garden equipment should be kept neatly out of sight.
  • Dog owners should constantly keep the area clear of "debris."
  • Remove all toys, bicycles, tools, unattractive patio furniture, trash, etc., from the yard.
  • If you have swing sets or anything elaborate for your kids, it probably makes more sense to remove them than to leave them in place. They take up room, and you want your back yard to appear as spacious as possible.
  • Display patios and decks with a few pieces of matching furniture and some well-tended pots of flowers, or add a few ornaments.
  • Outdoor furniture should be kept clean.
  • Porches, steps, verandas, balconies, patios and other extensions of the house should be kept uncluttered, swept and in good condition.
  • Keep trashcans deodorized, covered and out of sight.
  • Highlight your pool area, water garden, etc. with lighting, benches, planters, flowering plants, etc. Create an outside living/dining area with furniture and plants.
  • Put a fresh coating on your driveway.
  • When you look at your house from across the street, does it look tired and faded? A fresh paint job can spruce up the appearance of a house, adding dollars to offers from potential home-buyers. Choose a color that is not garish or unusual, but one that fits well in your neighborhood.
  • Buy a new doormat.
  • If you have a cute little plaque or shingle with your family name on it, remove it. Even if it is just on the mailbox. You can always put it up again once you move.
  • The front door should be especially sharp, since it is the entryway into the house. Polish the door fixture so it gleams. If the door needs refinishing or repainting, make sure to get that done.
  • If your doorknobs don’t look new and shiny, replace them.
  • Make sure the lock works easily and the key fits properly. When a home buyer comes to visit your home, the agent uses the key from the lock box to unlock the door. If there is trouble working the lock while everyone else stands around twiddling their thumbs, this sends a negative first impression to prospective homebuyers.
  • Put a seasonal wreath on your door.

Inside:

  • If there is a new home sales tract near your home, go visit. It doesn't matter what size the homes are. What you will find are some wonderfully (but sparsely) furnished homes that anyone could live in -- with the emphasis on "anyone." They are anonymous. There may be a baseball glove in the boy's room, but no family photos on the walls. There may be "personality" - but no person.
  • The reason you want to make your home "anonymous" is because you want buyers to view it as their potential home. When a potential homebuyer sees your family photos hanging on the wall, it puts your own brand on the home and momentarily shatters their illusions about living in the house themselves.
  • Put away family photos, sports trophies, collectible items, knick-knacks, and souvenirs. Put them in a box. Do not just put the box in the attic, basement, garage or a closet. . Rent a storage area for a few months and put the box in the storage unit. Part of preparing a house for sale is to remove "clutter," and that is the next step in preparing your house for sale.
  • Do not do anything expensive, such as remodeling. If possible, use savings to pay for any repairs and improvements – do not go charging up credit cards or obtaining new loans. Remember that part of selling a house is also preparing to buy your next home. You do not want to do anything that will affect your credit scores or hurt your ability to qualify for your next mortgage.

Entrance

  • Create the feeling of a spacious entry area by using decorating accents, mirrors, rugs, etc. and by removing all unnecessary clutter.

Kitchen

  • Stove, refrigerator, hood fan and sink should be spotless.
  • Your counters become display centers when selling. Create a presentation based on visual appeal, not functionality. Remove countertop appliances and add decorative baskets with fruit, dried flowers etc.
  • Clear all work space. Remove fridge magnets, decals, children's drawings, messages and catchalls.
  • Dish cleaning tools, scouring pads and dish drainers go under the sink.
  • Pack away any spare cleaning supplies, only keep the most necessary items.

Bathrooms

  • Neat and spotless is the rule here. Again remember that counters are display areas when selling.
  • Grout and caulking must look fresh. Bleach the stained grout, replace missing tile, and be sure all surfaces sparkle.
  • Take down dusty ceiling fan covers, wash and replace.
  • Look for condensation stains around the fan. Repair any damage re-paint or touchup. Sometimes lightly applying diluted bleach will save a paint job or using ceiling stain-block aerosol paint.
  • Repair dripping faucets, leaky toilets and unclog drains. Clean any calcium build-up. "Gel-Gloss" synthetic marble counters & sinks.
  • Empty, hide or remove garbage can.
  • Create a presentation based on visual appeal. Use a fresh set of towels and wash cloths for showings.
  • Pack away any spare toiletries and cleaning supplies, only keep the most necessary items.
  • Bathrooms should be kept clean, toilet lids down, no hair in the sink. Do not leave dirty towels out; wipe down the shower areas after each use.

Closets

  • Neat and tidy closets help your home to feel more spacious. Be ruthless – This too is a good place to start packing in advance.
  • Remove seasonal clothing, unused children’s toys, extra books etc.
  • You're going to move anyway -- start now!

General Condition

  • Dust, wash, putty holes in walls, as required.
  • Paint inside walls with a neutral colored paint. This will brighten the home and make it look bigger and cleaner.
  • Depersonalize teenager's rooms and decorate in a more neutral manner.
  • Where necessary, repair or replace doors, closet doors, and/or windows and screens so that they open with ease.
  • Remove or hide any excess extension cords and exposed wires.
  • Clean exterior of air-conditioner, furnaces and replace dirty filters.
  • Install high wattage bulb in dimly lit areas.
  • Replace all burned out bulbs, faulty switches.
  • Check ceilings for leak stains. Fix the cause of the damage, repair the ceiling, re-paint or touchup. Sometimes lightly applying diluted bleach will save a paint job or using ceiling stain block aerosol paint.
  • Oil hinges, tighten door knobs, cabinet doors, faucets. For sliding doors that stick in their tracks, rub the tracks with paraffin or candle wax.
  • Professional steam cleaning for carpets and stripping yellowed floors can rejuvenate a home.
  • Clean or repair any marks on vinyl and wood flooring.
  • Re-grout ceramic floors where required.
  • Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.
  • Remove all smoke odors, pet odors, and odors resulting from hobbies.
  • Remove and replace items not included in the sale of your house (eg. chandelier, water conditioner, etc.)

 

Pets:

  • Apologies to pet owners, but pets come with odors. You may have become used to them, but they are oftentimes noticeable to Buyers visiting your home. The very best solution is to give pets a holiday away from your home while you are selling.

    If you just can’t give your pet a vacation then;
     
  • For those with cats, be sure to empty kitty litter boxes daily and use plenty of baking soda.
  • For dog owners, keep the dog outdoors as much as possible, even smaller dogs. You might also try sprinkling carpet freshener on the carpet on a periodic basis.

Fireplace:

  • Wood Burning: Clean out old ashes & any soot stains on brick & ceiling. Put in unburned logs for appearance.
  • Gas Burning: Turn the burner up to high for the best presentation. Wipe off any handprints & dust. Be sure to clean buildup on the inside of the glass.

Garage:

  • Straighten up, sweep floor, fix or wash doors and windows.
  • Ensure the garage door is clean, attractive and in good working order. Remove everything but the essentials from the garage interior and arrange tools neatly.

If You Have Tenants:

  • Arrangements will have to be made with them to keep the property looking good for showings, as well as to allow Realtors with Buyers to show the home.

If Your Property is Vacant:

  • Show homes have furniture in them because it makes it easier for Buyers to envision their own possessions in the space. If you can leave some furniture behind to showcase the rooms, it will seem more inviting.
  • If you like, there are home staging services who will bring in furniture for the specific purpose of and helping the home look it’s best for showings.
 

 

 


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