This is the season of “For Sale” signs – spring is the hottest time of year for real estate, and Ontario home sellers have an even stronger market to look forward to this year.
According to Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, Toronto in particular has seen growth in prices and sales volumes so far in 2015, and the market will only get hotter.
But preparations shouldn’t stop when the “For Sale” sign goes up – here are five things home sellers can do to take advantage of a hot spring real estate market.
1. Spring Clean
If you haven’t already started spring cleaning, now’s the perfect time to pick up that feather duster, whip out that mop, roll up those sleeves and do some deep cleaning around the house.
It goes without saying that, when it comes time to show off your home to a potential buyer, it should be clean and free of clutter. There’s nothing quite as off-putting to a would-be buyer than a house that’s not exactly clean. To make sure you cover every area of your home, use our spring cleaning checklist as you move from room to room.
Note: If you’re a pet owner, be extra vigilante – you may have gotten used to the smell of your furry friend, but pet odours can be a home sale killer.
2. Don’t Skimp on Curb Appeal
After you’ve scrubbed the floors, vacuumed the carpets, and dusted every nook and cranny, make sure to keep that curb appeal high by tidying up the front yard and driveway.
Survey your property and remove any debris that winter may have left behind on your front yard. Clean up the driveway, edge the garden, cut the grass, and fertilize the lawn. To make your home even more inviting to potential buyers, add some colourful plants or flower arrangements to the front porch and add a new coat of paint on the garage.
Remember – a spotless interior undercut by a messy exterior does not make for a good first impression, so don’t skimp on your home’s curb appeal.
3. Get Those Renovations Done
Although it’s not necessary to take on any major renovations (you simply won’t get the money back in your purchase price), minor DIY projects around the house will make your home look more appealing to potential buyers.
Little DIY renovations – like changing old doorknobs, replacing caulk in the bathroom, updating light fixtures, and even replacing the front door – can actually make a big difference in your home’s appearance. Remember, small projects can deliver big returns.
Plus, if you already have some half-finished DIY projects laying around the house, it’s a good idea to get those done before putting your home on the market.
4. Declutter and Depersonalize
After you’ve spring cleaned and wrapped up those DIY projects, make sure to declutter and depersonalize your home to ready it for the eyes of potential buyers.
If you’ve ever strolled through a model home, you know that an open house is no place for clutter. Buyers want to see a tidy, primped version of your house in which they could envision themselves living – remove clutter and get rid of any magazines on floors, bills or other papers on tables, grocery lists on refrigerators, etc.
While you’re decluttering, take time to depersonalize too – that means getting rid of excessive family photos on walls and putting away any particularly eccentric art. No would-be buyer wants to walk into a living room filled with glamour shots from the 80s!
5. Market and Price It Right
While it’s important to ready your home physically, you should also make sure to market it properly to take advantage of this hot seller’s season. That means researching the real estate market in your area and going over marketing strategies with your agent.
Since most home buyers start their search online, make sure to get your house listed on multiple websites, preferably with a set of professional photos, detailed descriptions, and a virtual tour. Online brochures, single property websites, and real estate websites are all ideal for getting your home some serious exposure. Don’t forget about open houses – plan those with your agent as well.
When it comes to pricing, make sure to compare your house with similar recently-sold properties in your area to ensure your price is competitive. Remember to be realistic – just because the market is hot, doesn’t mean buyers will flock to unreasonably-priced listings.
Although spring is generally the best time to sell, it’s not enough to simply plop a sign on the lawn. If you put in the effort to properly prepare, though, you’ll be rewarded in turn with a sign that says “Sold.”