Expert Tips for Preparing Your Property for Sale

A home getting soldThe market for buying homes is starting to pick up speed, and if you're looking to sell your home, timing is everything. If you start the process too late in the year, buyers are likely to hold off until next spring or summer when more houses are available.

If you want to get top dollar for your house, it has to look its best before any potential buyers arrive. The article below offers expert tips on how you can prepare your property for sale.

1. Clean Up Your Yard

A well-maintained yard can increase a buyer's interest in a particular house by as much as 60 percent, so make sure yours is neat and tidy. This means removing all dead plants and cutting the grass regularly. It also means removing unwanted vegetation and critters from your yard. In Canada, geese can be a significant problem if left unchecked because they ruin your grass and leave lots of droppings. It would be best if you get rid of geese humanely by lacing their food source (grass) with a digestive irritant. This can do a better job of deterring them from coming back to your yard than driving them away yourself.

2. Declutter, declutter, declutter! 

One of the first things potential buyers do when they enter a house is to look around and judge its overall condition. If their initial impression is that the rooms are cluttered and unkempt – even if this isn't true – they may immediately write off your home as too much work for them to handle. An excellent way to avoid this problem is by getting rid of most of your belongings. 

The fewer things you have around, the bigger and more spacious your home will feel to potential buyers. It's important to get rid of any clutter in your cabinets, closets, and drawers. Buyers want to be able to visualize themselves living in the home without obstacles getting in the way. Get rid of anything that isn't necessary for day-to-day life or that doesn't fit into the style and décor of a modern home. Transforming a cluttered house into a clean one can make a huge difference for potential buyers. 

3. Put on a new face

After you finish decluttering, it's time to spruce up your place. Your home should look as good as – if not better than – the day you moved in. To start, replace all light bulbs with crisp, clear 60-watt equivalents and install dimmer switches throughout the house so that buyers can set different moods depending on their preferences or time of day. You will also want to invest in high-quality appliances: consider installing a recent model stove and refrigerator and buying high-efficiency washer and dryer units for extra points with eco-conscious buyers. 

Finally, don't forget about the outside: pull out any weeds or dead plants in your garden beds and check for cracks or scuffs in the driveway and sidewalk caused by harsh winter weather.

4. Display your home's best features

To convince potential buyers that they should choose your property over all others, you need to put your best foot forward. A great way to do this is by highlighting a few of its standout features. Maybe it has a beautiful view of the beach from the kitchen window or a large backyard perfect for summer barbecues? Whatever it is, make sure your buyers know about it!

5. Be realistic about what you can get for your home

Once you have decluttered and spruced up your place, it's time to open up the curtains and let the sunshine in (figuratively speaking). Your property will be exposed to the world – including real estate agents, inspectors, and potential buyers – so it's necessary to put your best face forward.

6. Showcase its best features

When you first listed your home for sale, it probably looked fine from the curb. But now that you've decluttered and freshened up the paint, you need to attract buyers' attention with even more pizzazz! One way of doing this is by staging your home. This means using décor elements like fun throw pillows or candles to give rooms a more personalized feel. You can also use art pieces that reflect current styles or trends to appeal to younger generations of prospective buyers. 

It would help if you listed all of your home's best features on a handout that you give out to potential buyers when they visit the property. Ensuring this information is available will help you sell your home faster by helping these individuals know what they're looking at as soon as they walk through the door. 

7. Make minor repairs as needed

Even if you've decluttered and freshened up your place, a few issues may likely have been swept under the rug during this process. These might include peeling paint or drafty windows – things your home inspector would be sure to point out to potential buyers. Make sure any major problems are fixed before putting your house on the market, but do so gradually throughout the process rather than all at once. The last thing you want is for a buyer to think there might be something wrong with the plumbing just because a faucet was installed yesterday!

8. Edit photo captions carefully

One of the most important aspects of selling your home is getting it in front of the right audience. To do this, you'll need to upload photos of your house to an online real estate listing website. Make sure that all captions are accurate and up-to-date so buyers know exactly what they're getting into from the moment they see your property.

9. Be honest about what you can offer as a seller

In today's market, there are many types of sellers: those who have already moved out but plan to rent back from the new owners, those who plan on staying in their home until closing day, and those who expect to move immediately after signing a contract. Be clear about which category you fall under so potential buyers know whether or not to put in an offer.

10. If you have a pet, prepare accordingly

In this market, buyers are willing to pay more for properties that allow pets. However, this also means they'll be coming to your home with their real estate agent in tow – and it's likely that even the most agreeable buyer will still have qualms about buying a house full of holes from your dog's chew toys or a carpet covered in cat hair. 

Make sure there is no trace of your furry friends by either putting them up at a kennel or finding homes for them with friends or relatives while showing your property. This way, buyers can focus on the more important things like square footage and walk-in closets instead!

11. Test all appliances and systems

It's important to know that all your appliances and major systems (like the heating, ventilation, and cooling system) are in working order. It's also a good idea to conduct a home inspection before putting your house on the market so you can check for any problems or issues that might be easily overlooked. You don't want potential buyers finding out about these things after they've made an offer – that'd just give them another reason not to buy!

12. Know how much you're willing to negotiate

A quick Internet search will reveal that there is no single answer as to what price you should list your property for it all depends on current market conditions and similar properties in your area. However, you should still decide on an upper limit or a bottom line price. This will help you make a quick decision on whether to accept an offer if one comes along – and it'll save time for all the buyers who contact you!

13. Get excited about your home's unique features, but highlight its practical advantages as well

Your house has benefits that may not be apparent just by looking around: perhaps it is close to public transportation, features a double-door entry, or backs onto a scenic body of water! These things should definitely be mentioned in your listing – but know what they mean for potential buyers so you can do so accordingly. For example, proximity to public transit means less car traffic and therefore a quieter zone – important things to note when selling to those with young families.

14. Fix the common pitfalls that could turn off potential buyers

Buyers can be easily turned away by a host of things: musty odors, outdated appliances and fixtures, creaking sounds, and more. Fortunately, these problems can often be fixed fairly easily – but it's important to know what they are before putting your house on the market. By knowing what you need to do in order to sell, you can avoid wasting time with buyers who aren't really in the right mindset for purchasing a home!

15. Price your property competitively

This is probably one of the biggest decisions you'll make when selling your home. If you list too low, you might end up losing out on much-needed income or relegating yourself to having to drop your price at a later time and risk losing the buyer in the process. If you list too high, on the other hand, you might end up wasting everyone's time since buyers will quickly rule out properties that are above their budget. In either case, it's best to base your listing price on actual market conditions – it'll help ensure a faster sale without all the hassles!

Beautiful house with fence getting ready to be soldTry not to look at this process as a means of "making money" or finding "the best house": it's the opposite. Instead, see your property for sale in terms of an opportunity to change, develop and grow – both independent from material possessions and in conjunction with them. This way, you'll be able to focus on what really matters: enjoying memories with family and friends instead of fretting over things like inspections!

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