This past year has been extremely stressful for most people. Between Covid and paychecks stopping, savings accounts dwindling, not to mention the cost of toilet rolls going through the roof last spring, it is no wonder people wound up so tight they feel that they just might burst. Especially if you want or have to sell your home. Everyone knows that having your home squeaky clean and in mint condition when listing will likely lead to a higher sales price, so how do you pull it all together?

The concept of putting your property on the market can be extremely overwhelming. Just stop to think of that drawer in your kitchen filled with nothing but bread clips, twist ties, dead batteries, and don’t forget about that thing that you have no idea what it is, but thought it might be useful one day. What about under your bathroom sink where you store all the expired aspirin and cough mixture as well as those hair and body products that you got at Shopper’s on the half-price shelf ten years ago, the contents long unrecognizable.

In today’s real estate climate, mere cleaning may not be enough; there’s a lot more you can do to ensure that the right buyers see your property.

More people are migrating around Ontario to smaller markets from the big cities, so it’s important to know what these incomers are looking for. The best thing to do is to engage a real estate professional early in the process. They can help advise you on all the necessary steps, prioritize the order in which tasks need to be completed, and set out a realistic timeline to get your home on the market.

Although the thought of decluttering your home can be worse than the idea of having a root canal, it is crucial, as you want your potential buyer to have the ability to see themselves in your home. Allow them to envision how their family, furniture, and belongings would fit into this new space.

When you have lived in the same house for many years, most people, excluding my husband, acquire a lot of “stuff.” Lean on your Realtor to guide you through clearing out closets, storage rooms, furnace rooms, and sheds. Minimize the number of accessories to essential and impactful, such as your “Blue Mountain Pottery” collection, not what you have always displayed on the HiFi, or in that kitchen nook.

If there are items that you don’t envision in your new space, get rid of them. It is unnecessary and expensive to move them twice (unless you are lucky enough to still have friends who don’t mind moving that player piano of yours around to and fro for a case of beer).

Repairs and small renovations go a long way to attract a higher price. Painting the interior of your home a light, bright colour will do wonders! Not only does it freshen up the space, but the light reflecting walls will give the impression of more room, higher ceilings, and overall, a larger house.

Rely on your Realtor to provide you with trades for small jobs, painters, junk removers, or whatever else is required. Your agent will advise on what they think are top priorities that will most affect the sale price. This work could take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the scope of work you decide to undertake. While your superb taste is surely self-evident, lean on your Realtor for design/colour advice as they know what today’s buyers are looking for.

Even in the off-season, keep the yard tidy to increase your home’s curbside appeal. Carpet and window cleaning is essential as it gives the impression of pride of ownership which suggests that you take care of your home. Potential buyers want to know that your home has been cared for and kept in good repair.

Don’t be offended if your Realtor suggests bringing in a professional stager to revamp your home. Gramma’s antique buffet might be put into storage, not because it doesn’t invoke gestures of approval from family members but because stagers know what interior design styles and paint colours are trending now. Neutral, stylish, and elegant is the look that will get you the biggest buck.

Staging costs should be part of your negotiation with your Realtor. If you trust your Realtor to sell your home, you should probably trust them to stage it.

One of the most important aspects of getting your home ready to sell is having it properly photographed. Buyers may be coming from afar to view your home, and if it doesn’t look good in the listing, it’s not likely that they will take the time to come and actually see it.

Good luck, be well, and may all of your selling hopes and dreams come true!

Submitted by: Linda McClean, Sales Representative, Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited Brokerage