Household Hints: Before You List a Home
Ready, set, sell! Finally, its spring, a time when many people’s fancy turns to real estate. If you’re planning to put your home on the market this year, a good strategy can save you a lot of money and anxiety.
The following is a 10 step guide to making the sales process less painful and more profitable:
1.Clean It Up!
A homeowner can plump pillows till the cows come home, but if your house isn’t clean, it won’t sell. Buyers don’t mind changing tiles, paint colours, appliances, but if the bathroom is dirty or the stove’s a mess, buyers wont stay long enough to see its merits. My advice is to clean every inch of the house, especially the windows. Another suggestion is to paint-which is the same as good cleaning-steam clean the carpets, recaulk the tub and shower, regrout the tiles, change the shower curtains, polish furniture and dust doors and picture frames. If you are a smoker, you need to wash down everything, and smoke outside for a month before listing the property.
We have so much stuff; it’s hard to see the bones of the house. The only way to tackle decluttering is to let go of your emotional equity. While your things may be lovely, they may be hiding the qualities of your lovely home. This includes removing half of the things in your closets so buyers know there is room for them. Remove jars, knick-knacks and gadgets from kitchen and bathroom counters. Remove junk from storage and furnace rooms, even crawl spaces and under the deck, because buyers look everywhere.
Decluttering, though, isn’t just about clearing out your closets. It is also about editing your style. You may want to replace the dining suite for example, at least temporarily, if it doesn’t flow with the rest of the furnishings. That unified look extends to colour.
3.Find a Handyman.
It’s time to find a handyman if you’re not one yourself. I suggest walking around your home and creating a “deficiency list”- all those things that need fixing. If you haven’t been maintaining your home, expect to spend some money to make it presentable. A handyman wont take too long to ensure all doors are working smoothly and properly, align cabinet doors, fix cracked tiles, fix faulty door handles, patch nail holes, glue down peeling wallpapers and replace washers in leaky faucets. Then, consider planning old appliances, beat up flooring, old cabinet hardware, light fixtures, switch plates and doorknobs that don’t match.
If buyers make a split-second decision about your house, they’ll do it from the front yard, so make sure that first impressions are great. First thing to do is to weed the garden. Proportion is also critical-the proportion of plants to one another, the variety of height and texture and the relationship between green space and hard surface (paths and house foundation). The solution is to pull plants out from the foundation of the house and don’t rim the lawn with plants. Because the path is your homes welcome mat, it should be wide and inviting-about four feet if you have room, and made of natural stone. For the backyard, I would suggest creating outdoor “rooms” with different seating and dining areas, and paths connecting to them, much as you have corridors inside.
5.Kitchen and Baths.
While kitchens are a huge selling feature, budge and time constraints don’t always allow a wholesale renovation. But you should at least repair anything broken, like hinges or cabinet doors. Changing hardware, counters, flooring and appliances are relatively inexpensive and fast ways to increase your return. But do check out the neighbours-if granite reigns supreme, and the counters got to go, then consider quartz, Silestone, granite or Corain rather than laminate, no matter how great the new ones look.
Bathrooms should get the same treatment. Clean, paint, replace dingy fixtures, apply fresh grout, add a new shower curtain and basket of towels. Wall tiles that are dated-in grey, pink or mint green, for example-can be covered with melamine paint.
6.Layout, Traffic Patterns.
Start with a focal point-a sumptuous bed in the bedroom, a fireplace in the living room, a buffet in the dining room. And the function should be identifiable-if your dining room multi-tasks as a home office, library or music room, remove a function or two.
Symmetry in the room is pleasing to the eye and contributes to a feeling of calm. By keeping the weight on each side of the room equal-a sofa balanced by two chairs, two loveseats flanking a fireplace-symmetry is easily achieved. There should be enough space to move easily through the room and around the furniture, and keep access to windows clear since people like to stand at windows and look at the view. Symmetry extends to consistent materials. So, if there’s hardwood in one room, tiling in another and broadloom in a third, the look is choppy. If it’s possible, change at least one for better flow.
If you don’t have any, it’s easy to make-just frame black and white photos, or even photocopies, to hang as a gallery wall. Scale is key in hanging artwork: smaller, framed photos or art need to be grouped together rather than scattered across a wall; and frame photos in similar frames with crisp, white mats.
Avoid hanging too much personal art (religious items, family photos, even erotica). It can leave potential buyers feeling like intruders-or offended. It’s also a good idea to remove all children’s art and magnets from the fridge.
Colour is probably the most difficult thing about interior décor, which is why most of us play it safe with beige. That instinct is right-light colours keep things airy and open, but bland is not beautiful. Go for complementary colours in light tones-green and cream with blue accents, or blue and cream with brown accent, but what’s more important is consistency.
If formal dining furniture fights the casual look in the rest of the home, consider pain. Bright accent colours can be added through accessories-in small doses-when the house is big, open, and uncluttered. And pattern should be restricted to one that’s simple and minimal; forget trying to mix patterns.
Light adds life take it away and no matter how nice the furniture, the home will have no character. Pools of light expand space and create good shadows, but also add warmth and sparkle highlight objects and even change the wall colour.
If you’ve played your decluttering cards right, you should only have your best accessories still around and the rest stored. With the exception of fresh towels and a few items, you should be able to find everything you need in your own home. One suggesting is to group items into a “collection” and creating a focal point. It’s better to see everything together in one place-on a table or in a bookcase. When dealing with a fixed element that’s strong and unattractive, add things to distract from it.
If you have any questions or require more information, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to assist you.
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