Working in real estate for over 25 years, I have some very definite ideas on what works and what doesn’t when staging your Windsor Ontario home for sale. Many sellers are often frustrated because they feel their home needs to be picture perfect. Maybe because of the home improvement television programs are to blame for this and why homeowners feel it will cost them an arm and a leg to get their property ready before they list it.
Of course, as wonderful as it would be to sell magazine worthy homes day in and day out, it’s completely unrealistic. After all, sellers need to live in their home and agents understand this. What buyers want is a clean and decluttered home with some nice updates. The majority of buyers do want a move-in ready home, but there are things that simply won’t matter to a buyer as well. I strongly recommend that every seller spend time with their real estate agent to determine what repairs and updates will give you more bang for your buck. Not every improvement is created equal and usually, it’s the smaller, less costly work that buyers notice.
When touring your home with your real estate agent, ask him or her the following questions:
1. What repairs or upgrades are absolutely necessary? What will buyers ignore?
2. What improvements will give my home the bigger impact for the least amount of money?
Let’s take the kitchen, which is the room most buyers want to see and usually determines if they are interested in the house. Outdated appliances, old countertops and flooring and dingy cabinets are big turn-offs for buyers. But is it necessary to remodel a kitchen to get top dollar? No. Maybe all you need is a coat of paint, some updated hardware on the cabinets, some inexpensive improvements to the floor and counters. Also, new appliances do not need to be top of the line as mid-range will do depending on the home’s list price.
If you have a home that needs updating, there are very simple things you can do. If you are unsure, go look at model homes as builders must appeal to a wide variety of homebuyers, so they focus on decorating their properties in neutral shades with rooms that show lots of space.
These are some of my favourite staging tips that cost little to no money.
1. Create storage easily!
Take half of your belongings out of your closets and cupboards and store away. Buyers will see more space. Just make sure it looks tidy and organized.
2. Don’t forget the light!
Get rid of heavy window treatments and bring in the sunshine. Buyers like to see a home that is bright and airy. Clean the windows, change lampshades, increase the wattage in your light fixtures and make sure all bushes and shrubs are trimmed outside of windows.
3. Declutter and de-personalize!
Buyers want to walk into a house and immediately feel an attraction and sense that they could move in right away. It’s hard for them to identify with a property as long as your family photos, personal keepsakes and collections overwhelm the space. If buyers can’t focus on your home’s special characteristics because all they see is your “stuff” then they won’t be back.
4. Wow buyers to make a valuable first impression!
The old saying, “you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression,” is true in the real estate market. Don’t forget the outside of your home to create good curb appeal. Almost always, it just takes a little elbow grease to get a property sparkling. Take care of landscaping, get rid of dead plants and shrubs, make sure the paths are clear and plant seasonal flowers in pots. If necessary, paint the front door, power wash the home and update outdoor light fixtures.
As you can see, there is no need for elaborate landscaping and high-end accessories in order to sell your home, and it doesn’t need to look like the cover of a magazine. But following the above steps can generate more cash for your sale.