Tips for Selling

For Selling Your Investment – Your Home

Selling your home may or may not be a challenging and stressful time for you. We at Tip Top Realty Inc. Brokerage understand the confusion and stress this can cause, which is why we will make every effort to make this experience a rewarding and successful one.

Create “Curb Appeal”
It is said that a picture is worth 1000 words so creating a “curb appeal” and “making sure your home shows at it best” makes the marketing of your home a more positive experience. “Curb appeal” is critical. Prospective buyers may do a drive by so improving curb appeal is imperative to generating traffic. While it does take time, it does not need be difficult or expensive, provided you keep two key words in mind: neat and neutral.
Neatness sells. New paint, an immaculate lawn, picture-perfect shrubbery, a newly sealed driveway, potted plants at the front door — put them all together, and drive-by shoppers will probably want to see the rest of the house. Hand-in-hand with neatness is neutrality. If you’re going to repaint, stick to light, neutral colors. Keep the yard free of gardening tools and the kids’ toys. Remember, when a family looks at a house, they’re trying to paint a picture of what it would be like as their home.
Take a walk across the street and take a good look at your house. Look at nearby houses too and see how yours compares. You need it in TipTop Shape for Lasting First Impressions.

Make Sure Your House Shows at it’s Best
First; make your house look as clean and spacious as possible. Remember, people may look behind your doors, in the closets and crawl space area as well as those to the bedrooms and bathrooms. So, get rid of all the clutter; have that garage sale and haul away the leftovers.
After you’ve cleaned, try to correct any cosmetic flaws. Paint rooms that need it. Re-grout tile walls and floors. Remove or replace any worn-out carpets. Replace dated faucets, light fixtures, and the handles and knobs on your kitchen drawers and cabinets.
Finally, as with the outside of your house, try to make it easy for prospective buyers to imagine your house as their home. Clear as much from your walls, shelves, and countertops as you can. Give your prospects plenty of room to dream.

More TipTop Tips that could make the Difference in Selling your Home

Touch up the interior
Put a fresh coat of paint in the most used areas of the home. This will clean as well as brighten up the rooms

Wash the walls where paint is not appropriate (i.e. wall paper, paneling).
Wash all floors and bathroom tiles.
Shampoo dirty carpets.
Get rid of clutter. Clean out your closets, garage, basement and attic. Have a yard sale or store unused items in storage. Rent a storage unit if needed.
Replacing air filters will help keep the dust down.

Replace bathroom and kitchen fixtures that are worn or leaking
People will notice a leaking or worn-out faucet. By replacing these items, you will give a new look to the room.
Clean under the sinks and repair any area from leaks

Get rid of any bad smells in your home
Pay attention to pet or cigarette odors. If people do not have pets of their own or do not smoke, they are more sensitive to these odours and may find them very offensive. It may be of benefit to you as the home owner to smoke outside during the time of listing and showing of your property.
For those owning 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 those adorable lovable little dogs. You might also try sprinkling carpet freshener on the carpet on a periodic basis. Also, don’t forget to pick up after your dog outside as potential buyers may do a walk around the house.
Empty kitchen and bathroom trash daily to eliminated trash odours

Disconnect Your Emotions
When conversing with real estate agents, you will often find that when they talk to you about buying real estate, they will refer to your purchase as a “home.” Yet if you are selling property, they will often refer to it as a “house.” There is a reason for this. Buying real estate is often an emotional decision, however, when selling real estate, you need to remove emotion from the equation.
You need to think of your house as a marketable commodity and making it “Anonymous”. 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

Make Your Home “Anonymous”
If there is a new model home in your neighbourhood, go visit or view model home via internet. 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 sports trophies, collectible items, knick-knacks, and souvenirs and clean off all magnets etc off your fridge. Put them in a box. Rent a storage area for a few months and put the box in the storage unit. If you are not taking this box of stuff with you when you move then get rid of it.

Decluttering the House
This is the hardest thing for most people to do because they are emotionally attached to everything in the house. After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it.
Clutter collects on shelves, counter tops, drawers, closets, garages, attics, and basements. You want as much open clear space as possible, so every extra little thing needs to be cleared away.
Take a step back and pretend you are a buyer. Let a friend help point out areas of clutter, as long as you can accept their views without getting defensive. Let your agent help you, too.

Kitchen Clutter
The kitchen is a good place to start removing clutter, because it is an easy place to start.
First, get everything off the counters. Everything. Even the toaster. Put the toaster in a cabinet and take it out when you use it. Find a place where you can store everything in cabinets and drawers. Of course, you may notice that you do not have cabinet space to put everything. Clean them out. The dishes, pots and pans that rarely get used? Put them in a box and put that box in storage.
You see, homebuyers will open all your cabinets and drawers, especially in the kitchen. They want to be sure there is enough room for their “stuff.” If your kitchen cabinets, pantries, and drawers look jammed full, it sends a negative message to the buyer and does not promote an image of plentiful storage space. The best way to do that is to have as much “empty space” as possible.
For that reason, if you have a “junk drawer,” get rid of the junk. If you have a rarely used crock pot, put it in storage. Do this with every cabinet and drawer. Create open space.
If you have many foods crammed into the shelves or pantry, begin using them – especially canned goods. Canned goods are heavy and you don’t want to be lugging them to a new house, anyway – or paying a mover to do so. Let what you have on the shelves determine your menus and use up as much as you can.
Beneath the sink is very critical, too. Make sure the area beneath the sink is as empty as possible, removing all extra cleaning supplies. You should scrub the area down as well, and determine if there are any tell-tale signs of water leaks that may cause a homebuyer to hesitate in buying your home.

Closet Clutter
Closets are great for accumulating clutter, though you may not think of it as clutter. We are talking about extra clothes and shoes – things you rarely wear but cannot bear to be without. Do without these items for a couple of months by putting them in a box, because these items can make your closets look “crammed full.” Sometimes there are shoeboxes full of “stuff” or other accumulated personal items, too.

Furniture Clutter
Many people have too much furniture in certain rooms – not too much for your own personal living needs – but too much to give the illusion of space that a homebuyer would like to see. Again, be rid of unused furniture, tables, etc. Think “open space”.

Storage Area Clutter
Basements, garages, attics, and sheds accumulate not only clutter, but junk. These areas should be as empty as possible so that buyers can imagine what they would do with the space. Remove anything that is not essential and take it to the storage area. Or have a garage sale!
Ceilings, Walls and Painting
Check all the ceilings for water stains, whether the leak is caused by plumbing or a faulty roof. Find the leak and repair it and make sure a proper job is done. Nothing irritates a buyer more than finding out – after the fact – about plumbing or roofing leaks. They will be talking about calling a lawyer faster than your car engine starts when you turn the ignition key.
If a water stain is left after something you have already repaired, do the cosmetic work necessary to improve the desirability of your home. That means painting.
You may have to paint anyway, especially if dirt has accumulated in spots or you have an outdated color scheme. Painting makes a home look fresh and new on the inside and never fails to impress.
Painting can be your best investment when selling your home. It is not a very expensive operation and often you can do it yourself. Do not choose colors based on your own preferences, but based on what would appeal to the widest possible number of buyers. You should almost always choose an off-white color because white helps your rooms appear bright and spacious.

Carpet and Flooring
Unless your carpet appears old and worn, or it is an outdated style or color, you probably should do nothing more than hire a good carpet cleaner. If you do choose to replace it, do so with something inexpensive in a neutral color.
Repair or replace broken floor tiles, but do not spend a lot of money on anything. Remember, you are not fixing up the place for yourself. You want to move. Your goal is simply to have few negative impressions upon those who may want to purchase your property.

If you are selling your home in the winter be sure to have the house toasty warm when your guests arrive. The same holds true for summer, be sure the air in one so home feels nice and cool. Again, first impressions are important and this is the first one upon entering the house.

When you know someone is coming by to tour your home, turn on all the indoor and outdoor lights – even during the day. At night, a lit house gives a “homey” impression when viewed from the street. During the daytime, turning on the lights prevents harsh shadows from sunlight and it brightens up any dim areas. Your house looks more homey and cheerful with the lights on. This also makes the homes easier show without stumbling around looking for light switches & lamps. Be sure to check for burnt out bulbs and replace them.

Windows and Doors
Check all your windows to make sure they open and close easily. If not, a spray of WD40 often helps. Make sure there are no cracked or broken windowpanes. If there are, replace them before you begin showing your home.
Do the same things with the doors – make sure they open and close properly, without creaking. If they do, a shot of WD40 on the hinges usually makes the creak go away. Be sure the doorknobs turn easily, and that they are cleaned and polished to look sharp. As buyers go from room to room, someone opens each door and you want to do everything necessary to create a positive impression.

The Back Yard
The back yard should be tidy. If you have a pool or spa, keep it freshly maintained and constantly cleaned. For those that have dogs, be sure to constantly keep the area clear of “debris.” If your lot is relatively small again remove anything that is not being used. They take up room, and you want your back yard to appear as spacious as possible, especially in newer homes where the yards are not as large.

The Front Door & Entryway
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.
Make sure the lock works easily and the key fits properly. When a homebuyer 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.

If the Home Is Vacant
Vacant homes may present a blast of stale or mildew-laden air. Once buyers smell mildew, they are out the door. During cold months, the interior of a house without heat always feels colder than it is outside. Leaving the heat or air conditioning running while a home is on the market reduces odors and makes the house more inviting. Keep the lawn and landscaping tidy, even if you must hire someone to do it.

Preparing For Your Open House

Open Houses
Open Houses are a somewhat different from normal showings for a couple of reasons. First, instead of having to deal with just one buyer, there is the possibility of 5, 10, or more visitors, all arriving in a compressed period of time. Some may be honestly interested in your home, but others may be neighbours’, people thinking of putting their house on the market, or just folks out for an afternoon drive. Regardless of the quality or type of visitors, there is the possibility of a large volume of people coming through the house in a short amount of time. All showings are closely monitored by your Tip Top Realtor to ensure the safety of your personal property and possessions. Even though an Open House may not bring a ready, willing and able buyer, it may bring someone “who knows someone” that may have an interest in your home.
The second reason that makes an Open House different from an ordinary showing is that when a house is held open, people do expect the house to be 100% ready to view, which will take a bit more preparation. When a buyer sees a house during a normal showing, a few things out of place is not seen as a deterrent. To some degree, they expect it. It is understood that you, the seller, do still live in the house on a daily basis. In an Open House situation, though, things that aren’t “just right” can be a major distraction. Extra time must be put into preparation when an Open House is scheduled.

This is also a good time to put on a bit of a “show“: fresh flowers in a vase on the dining room table with soft music playing in the background.
Doing an open house when your property is first listed on the market can be very important. It provides effective marketing to the local community, your neighbours, individuals looking at locating to your geographical area and people out for a drive and see the open house sign. These people may tell their friends about your house, creating more “word of mouth” advertising.

Showing the House
Your house should always be available for show, even though it may occasionally be inconvenient for you. Daily habits of making beds and picking up water glasses etc may all that is need. All showings will be completed by a Real Estate Representative and arranged ahead of time so a lock box will be provided for scheduled appointments.
Most agents will call and give you at least a couple of hours notice before showing your property. If you refuse to let them show it at that time, they will just skip your house. Even if they come back another time, it will probably be with different buyers and you may have just lost a chance to sell your home. Often buyers may be out for a drive and sit in front of the house and call us for a viewing. If possible please allow these showings as they may just be the buyers. Short notice may provide not so perfect house showing but buyers understand the inconvenience and do appreciate the short notice viewing.
Try Not to be Home
Homebuyers will feel like intruders if you are home when they visit, and they might not be as receptive toward viewing your home. Visit the neighbours, or local coffee house, or take the dog and kids to the local park. If you absolutely cannot leave, try to remain in an out of they way area of the house and do not move from room to room. Do not volunteer any information, but answer any questions the agent may ask.

Pet Control
If you have pets and cannot remove them from the home for a showing, be sure to inform us so that we can put a notice to the realtor for all showings. The last thing you want is to have your pet running out the front door and getting lost. If you know someone is coming, it would be best to try to take the pets with you while the homebuyers tour your home. If you cannot do that, it is best to keep dogs in a penned area in the back yard. Try to keep indoor cats in a specific room when you expect visitors, and put a sign on the door. Most of the time, an indoor cat will hide when buyers come to view your property, but they may panic and try to escape.

Set a Realistic Price
Discuss this with your TipTop Real Estate Representative. Residential real estate markets, as they are today, may fluxgate up or down in any given week which is why it is imperative to call TipTop today and again next month when you decide to list as the price may have gone up and you want to make sure that it is listed at fair market value.

How to Determine Your Asking Price
Tip Top Realty Sales Representatives will suggest an asking price based on a variety of different information you may not have at your disposal, including recent comparable listings which will be a competition to your home, houses that have sold in your neighbourhood which reflect recent sales of comparable homes in your neighbourhood.

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