As you know by now, we made the decision this past January to put our home up for sale and go on a family adventure. This was a decision that actually completely surprised us as we didn’t have any plans on moving at all, but more on that in the weeks to come! But for today, I want to share with you five tips on how to get your home ready to sell, if you are considering putting your home on the market. I won’t lie – the whole process can be incredibly overwhelming as there are so many things to consider and do before the “For Sale” sign hits your front lawn. So here are some tips to help streamline the process and ultimately help you sell your home for top dollar!
Five Tips to Get Your Home Ready to Sell
1. Declutter, Declutter and Declutter!
I cannot stress enough how important it is to start decluttering your home the minute you decide you want to sell. The reality is is that most of us collect far too many things over the years, especially if you have kids. So many toys, craft projects, electronics that likely don’t even work anymore, etc.
This process is honestly quite overwhelming, I’m not going to lie. For me personally, I found this process exhausted me before I even started. And the reason for that is because you quite literally need to go through EVERY SINGLE ITEM in your home and think through what you want to do with it. Do you want to keep it, store it or toss it and that can get overwhelming extremely quickly, especially if you have a lot of stuff!
One of the ways I’ve found to help me with the decluttering process is to have three empty bins close by as I started going through everything. One bin is for items we are keeping, one is for things we will donate and the third is for stuff that is simply trash. Being able to quickly determine whether you are keeping or getting rid of your items is key and I will say, it does get easier the more you keep doing it.
Bonus Tip: If you can, try renting a small storage unit where you can store bins you’ve already sorted through or any additional furniture/items you may want to keep but don’t want in your home while you are trying to sell it.
2. De-Personalize Your Home
If you’ve ever looked at homes that are for sale, you may (or may not) have noticed something that most of them have in common: the homes have been de-personalized. This is a tip that many realtors and home stagers will advise their clients on when getting ready to list their house on the market. This means removing any personal pictures or personal mementos that have your family’s name on it.
The reason for this is two-fold: 1) Protecting your privacy is important, as there will likely be many people who come and look through your home. Often times potential buyers will not know who’s home they are buying until it comes to signing the paperwork and everyones legal names need to be included. But typically, all the interactions between buyers and sellers happen between realtors and lawyers to keep some privacy.
The second reason for de-personalizing your home is so that the potential buyers can picture THEMSELVES in your home. You don’t want them getting distracted by looking at your family pictures from your recent trip or all the baseball trophies your child may have won. You want your potential buyer to envision what THEIR life could look like in your home and one of the best ways for that to happen is to have as few personal items on display as possible.
3. Minor Renovations & Upgrades
Especially in today’s hot real estate market where homes are selling for top dollar, many buyers are wanting to see that homes have upgrades when it comes to things like light fixtures, bathrooms, hardware and more. Whenever people are spending that kind of money, they want to know that they are getting their money’s worth. So when you are going to list your home, if you haven’t already made some improvements while you’ve lived there, it’s important to consider doing some upgrades to help you get that top dollar for your home.
Typically home buyers are looking for updated kitchens and bathrooms most. Because these are high traffic areas, having done some upgrades to them is always enticing to a potential buyer. But another reason people look for these spaces to be upgraded is because the cost to do those upgrades is not only quite costly but it’s also typically beyond the average persons skill set to know how to renovate those areas. When taking on a renovation in the kitchen and bathroom, it’s likely going to require hiring contractors, electricians, plumbers, etc., and that can get quite costly. So if those areas in your home are already renovated, that is huge selling feature for buyers.
But if you haven’t upgraded those areas in your home, do not worry – you can still make some small changes that will make it feel and look updated without breaking the bank or taking up too much time.
Areas to focus on for minor renovations would be to update light fixtures, hardware (on both cabinets and entry ways) and bathroom vanities.
When we went to sell our home a few months ago, the truth was that both upstairs bathrooms had only really been painted before and not much else. We always had plans to do more but simply hadn’t gotten to them yet as we were renovating other areas in our home, like our kitchen, office and downstairs powder room. We spoke with our realtor and she recommended that we do minor renovations to both upstairs bathrooms so that it matched more the overall look and feel of the home.
We took her advice and decided to put in new vanities in both bathrooms, as well as swap out the mirrors, light fixtures and hardware. Because my husband does know enough about renovation, he was able to remove and install the vanities himself, including doing all the plumbing. It was incredible the difference that it made to bathrooms by simply swapping out the vanities and light fixtures without having to do a major renovation.
We did the same with the light fixtures and door handles all throughout the house – anything that we hadn’t upgraded yet, we swapped out with new lights and/or hardware and let me tell you, it really makes a world of a difference.
Bonus Tip: If you are going to take on minor renovations, I’d highly recommend getting a dumpster delivered to your home. We started doing this when we first moved into this home rather than constantly bringing things to the local dump and it was a game changer! There are many companies where you can rent a bin from them for a set rental price (typically a weekly fee) – they will deliver the bin to your driveway and once you are done with it, they will remove it and go dump the items. You then pay for the cost of how much it was for them to dump your trash (typically per pound). It’s really convenient to have delivered to you and available on your driveway, giving you more time to work in your home on renovations and decluttering rather than filling (and dirtying your vehicle) to make multiple trips to the local dump.
4. Paint Changes Everything!
I’ve talked for years about the transformative power of paint on this blog and it most definitely applies when it comes to selling your home. A fresh coat of paint on the walls can make a world of a difference in making your home look cleaner, more bright and updated. But don’t just stop at the walls – painting your ceilings and all the trim can also have huge impact as well. Especially if we’ve lived in a place for a longer period of time, we often don’t see all the scuffs and scratches on places like floor trim. But trust me when I say – THEY ARE THERE! Even ceilings, especially if they are textured ceilings, can collect a lot of dust, dirt and debris over the years. So giving all of these surfaces a fresh coat of paint will absolutely make a world of a difference and help you sell your home!
This entire home has been painted with Valspar paint (with exception of the powder room), as they have been our go-to paint for years now. We’ve tested out many different paint brands, and we always come back to Valspar paint for a number of reasons. First, the paint quality is just really, really good! With all paint brands, there are varying levels of quality within their collection and I can confidently say that I’ve used the most expensive Valspar to the least expensive and they are all great! Of course there’s noticeable differences within each price point, but even with the most cost-effective paint in their collection, it always gets the job done and done well!
I’ve never been bothered by the smell of their paint either as many of their paints have ZERO VOC’s. There are a number of other paint brands that I’ve used where I would have to open the windows and turn on the fans because the fumes were so intense. I also find the coverage is great with their paint and the drying/re-coat time is quick which makes painting even faster!
Lastly, and arguably one of the reasons I keep coming back to Valspar time and time again, is because of their colour selection! They have so many colours to choose from with so many subtle tone differences which make it easy to match up to just about any project you want to do. Remember when I painted the mural in my office? I had SO many Valspar colours going all at the same time and loved how even the blues and pinks where able to work together almost seamlessly!
When it came for us to list our home, we knew there were some areas we’d need to paint, particularly some neutral colours in the common areas. Our foyer hadn’t been painted since we moved in, so we chose “Hailstorm Grey”, a more neutral colour that would tie in some of the more modern and more vintage spaces in the home. For our primary bathroom, we went with “Oyster Pearl” which is a warm, beige neutral that worked perfectly with the space. We also touched up spots in our basement, as well as kitchen with one of our favourite whites from Valspar, “Du Jour”.
Bonus Tip: If you have a lot of areas to paint in your home and are on a deadline to get your home listed by, I’d highly recommend that you consider hiring a painting company to come and help you. We worked with Paint4You, who are located in Durham Region, and they had everything painted in less than TWO DAYS! I couldn’t believe how fast they worked! We even had them help do a little bit of trim work as well and they just knocked it all out of the park! I’d highly recommend Matt and his team!
5. Get a Good Realtor
Once you are ready to sell your home, finding a good realtor is really important. We’ve bought and sold four homes before and with each home sale/purchase, we’ve used different realtors (as we’ve always moved in and out of different geographical areas). One thing I can tell you for sure is that while finding a realtor that is highly experienced is important, also making sure you have a good relationship with is really important too.
When it came to listing our home this time around, we knew we wanted to list with Dionne Allan from Red Shoe Homes. Chris had actually been doing all of her editing for the last year and had built a great friendship with her. We had partnered together on a fundraiser as well last Fall and I got to see first hand how hard she worked to achieve the goals that she had set out for her and her team. So it was an easy decision for us when it came to who we wanted to work with in regards to selling our home.
She brought in a bunch of her people – from electricians, to painters to cleaners and stagers to help get the house in tip-top shape to list. She also made a deal with our kids that if they kept their rooms cleaned and helped us out around the house while the home was on the market, she’d give them each a gift card to wherever they’d like for a certain amount of money! Of course our kids were SOLD on that idea and even signed contracts with her to make it official! It’s all those little things that end up making big differences when selling your home!
After implementing all of these tips, our home sold in a week, well over the asking price! While it was a somewhat stressful time, having put all of these ideas to work really helped us get top dollar for our home and made any of the stress worthwhile!
If you are looking to sell your home in the near future, putting in a little bit of elbow grease, decluttering, painting and finding the right agents to help you do so will always be worth it in the end. Presenting your home in the most beautiful and inviting way possible will ultimately help your home stand apart from many others and make sure you come out on top!
Love & Blessings,