Buying and selling a home represents the biggest financial transaction of most people's lives. Some do it a lot, but most only take part in a few real estate transactions in their lifetime, so those few experiences are incredibly important to get right. On the buyer’s side, you’re looking to find a property you love, at a price that makes sense. On the seller’s side, you’re looking to maximize your sale price.
There are a number of levers a seller can pull to maximize their sale price. First and foremost is finding a great real estate agent who can build a pricing and sales strategy for your home. They will also support you with marketing activities that can go a long way in getting your listing in front of the right people at the right time. Another key way to maximize your sale price is to add value to your home through fixes, upgrades and additions. This strategy typically precedes the listing of your property and may take more time and some up front investment, but if done right, it’ll pay off in the end.
So how can you add value to your home? We’ll have a look at the best ways, from simplest and most cost-effective, to more time and cost-intensive, but ultimately most valuable.
This may sound obvious but it's amazing how many people neglect this part. And I’m not just talking about a vacuum and surface wipe, I’m talking about a deep clean that scrubs the floor boards, gets rid of soap scum, and shines your shower heads. You can do this yourself (check out a handy checklist here) or you can bring in expert crews that have all the right tools, supplies, and know how. This is a low cost option that can go a long way. No prospective buyer wants to see the dirt and grime that’s built up in your home after years of living there.
Get rid of your junk (or at least get it out of the house)
Especially if you’ve lived in your home for a long time, I’m willing to bet you’ve got some extra junk built up. While this stuff may hold some value to you, it takes away from how your home will show to a prospective buyer. For example, how can someone really evaluate your garage space if it's jam packed with bikes, boxes, tools, and old clothes? They can’t really, and they certainly can’t envision themselves in there when surrounded by your junk. In some ways, this can be the cheapest option on this list (and you might even make some money by selling old stuff), but it’s definitely a labour-intensive option. It’s hard to outsource this job, unless you know that you just want to get rid of stuff, in which case, something like 1-800-GOT-JUNK is a great option.
Freshen up the front of the house
This will be the first impression that prospective buyers have when checking out your place. If your house looks outdated, rundown, and unkept, that’s not going to be a great start. How you actually activate on this step will depend on your house. Do you have an old and rickety porch? You might want to consider replacing it. Is paint chipping off the front facade? You should probably repaint it. Is your garden full of dead plants and weeds? There are lots of folks out there that can help you with that. I’m sure that you already know what needs to be spruced up at the front of your house. Something like Jiffy is a great place to find the right people to help you out with these fixes.
Paint can make a massive difference in how your house shows. A fresh coat of white paint can turn an old and stuffy looking place into one that feels fresh and full of light. The difference a fresh paint job can make is often undervalued, especially as it seems silly to do it when you’ll be moving out soon, but in almost all cases it's worth it. What colour of paint will of course depend on the house and what type of mood you’re trying to set. If it’s not something you initially have a perspective on, a quick search of Google or Pinterest will give you a ton of ideas.
Finish the unfinished
We all have that one part of our property that we just never got to. Whether it's a basement that you never finished, a backyard that’s gone untouched, or a shower that you never needed and therefore, never fixed. As a prospective buyer looks at your home, they want to see how the space can be used and enjoyed. If there are unfinished portions of your home, it makes it difficult to visualize how it can be used in its entirety. And don’t forget about your yards - they’re often looked at as an extension of your home, so ignoring them is most definitely a mistake. Finish these spaces to help buyers see the whole picture. It doesn’t even have to be perfect - something is better than nothing!
Upgrade key spaces
Repeat after me - kitchen, bathrooms, front of house, backyard, and garage. These are the spaces that can have a disproportionate impact on your sale price. Even the smallest of upgrades to these spaces can completely change how a buyer perceives your home. By leaving these spaces dated and out of style, you're asking prospective buyers to envision a better alternative. While there are people out there who can do that, you will definitely be limiting your pool of potential buyers. Kitchens and bathrooms can be upgraded for a very reasonable cost through places like Ikea. As for your garage, this is another space that’s often overlooked. Give it a fresh paint job, add some storage, carve out an extra living space - there’s lots you can do to help your place stand out above the rest.
While selling your house for the price you hope for is never a guarantee, there are certainly things you can do to best position yourself for success. All of the above suggestions are great options to consider in the year leading up to your listing and are often well worth the investment. Again, none of this will replace getting good representation through an experienced real estate agent, but it’ll certainly help.
In addition to getting a great agent, you want to make sure you have a great lawyer. At Doormat, we marry technology with an obsession for customer experience to bring you the most transparent and stress-free real estate legal services in Canada. Check us out today to see how we can provide the best possible home transaction experience!