Welcome to our regular 'Dear Urbaneer' post, where we tackle questions asked by our clients with our wit, experience and sage advice.
This time around, we are examining the ins and outs of getting a property ready to go up for sale.
I’m preparing to put my home on the market, and thanks to my steady diet of home décor magazines and television, am well aware that there is far more to selling my home than putting a “For Sale” up.
That said, I’ve invested a lot into my beloved home – both financially and emotionally. I am keen to garner top dollar for my property, but would prefer not to spend enormous amounts of money unnecessarily to prepare my home for sale. I also want my home to stand out from the others. How do I style my home to make it look its best while enticing potential Buyers to commit to the purchase price?
Seeking Stylish Strategy
Dear Seeking Stylish Strategy:
As you have said yourself, being a homeowner goes beyond physical ownership. It’s about establishing an emotional connection- which is an essential part of a successful home sale strategy.
First and foremost, you have to look at a property from the perception of the Buyer; they are looking not just for shelter, but also for a place to throw down roots, and call “Home”. Understanding this pathway to the emotional connection, and by taking the time and the steps to create an environment that is inviting and emotionally tempting, you not only enhance the opportunity to grab your Buyer’s heart, but also increase the likelihood of acquiring your desired price. So if you’re getting ready to sell and want to take active steps towards bringing the best version of your property forward (while prepping to move) here are a few tips on how to make your home the dwelling of choice.
*Photo courtesy of ApartmentTherapy.com
Paring Down – Knowing that closing dates are often in the range of between 45 and 90 days from date of sale, there is no time like the present to begin preparing for your move. An austere attitude towards your “stuff” can help you reduce and streamline your belongings in advance of going to market.
Paring down is straight-forward, yet admittedly, challenges exist; there is always a balance between practicality and sentimentality. First, you need to eliminate everything from the property that won’t be moving with you. Get rid of furniture that is past its prime; make closets more spacious by donating old clothes and empty drawers of those ubiquitous odds and ends.
Next, pre-pack some of your belongings. Reorganizing and removing items will contribute heavily to an overall sense of light, space and airiness in your residence. Start by hiding away seasonal clothing, rarely used linens, and out of season gear – which will have the two-pronged effect of creating space in your closet- and making your life easier, come moving day. Face it, there is nothing more effective to dissuade a buyer than opening a closet stuffed to the ceiling and being unable to easily close the door. It screams “This house lacks storage!”
Fluffing – Don’t underestimate the optics of a home that is fresh and clean, when it comes to a selling strategy. A clean home is a home that is cared for. Sometimes you need to spend money in order to make money- and when preparing to sell your house- this certainly holds true. A little investment in touching-up or re-painting a feature room, placing new carpeting on your stairs, or laying new linoleum across your basement floor can work wonders towards making your home stand out and also underscores the chances of getting the price you want. Replacing old light fixtures with track lighting, changing broken handles on doors and cabinets, or adding a wall of storage shelving in the garage can give your home a discerning, well-maintained edge in the minds of Buyers, over properties in the same price range.
Fluffing is strategic. A home that comes to market with the smell of fresh paint, new carpet and a glow from an intense scrubbing tells prospective Buyers you’re house proud, which provides a visual and scented cue that says you care about where you live- and this sense of pride goes a long way to enhance value and communicate worth. Who wouldn’t find that appealing?
Staging – You are no doubt familiar with the industry of ‘staging’, where people advise home sellers on how to make their homes more appealing to Buyers. Much like ‘propping’ in shelter magazines, where the magazine editors bring in their own pieces to create a more appealing ‘stage set’, there are businesses that bring in quality furnishings, rented art and masses of flowers to produce the illusion of a beautiful, well-loved home.
As selling strategies go, staging is an effective tool. We can say, with evidence gleaned from our experience, that a vacant property will generally garner a lower price because of lack of visual and emotional impact. This is simply because, without key visual cues and the creation of the impression of “Home”, it is difficult for Buyers to visualize how life would unfold for them between these walls. In additional to giving a potentially false impression of scale, an empty property doesn’t convey the feelings of home, as the emotional connections that Buyers seek are missing. Creating an alluring dream home for a Buyer to fall madly in love with is the goal of effective staging.
It’s not a ploy, it’s a strategy! While we do not suggest that you set to baking aromatic goods in advance of a showing, we do encourage the strategic placement of sensory cues to solidify that emotional connection between potential buyer and property. An enormous vase of fresh flowers injects life in a room, creating a pleasant scent while drawing critical eyes away from possible flaws- like floor scratches or cracked plaster- resulting in a highly functional, visually appealing focal point as well. To create an oasis for escape from the daily grind, stock bundles of new over-sized bath sheets next to a soaking tub to emit calm and serenity. Place accoutrements for a meal on the kitchen counter to suggest that your space is perfect for gathering people round your table. Don’t underestimate the power of the olfactory influence in total experience, either. Wood burning in your fireplace or even lightly-scented candles are both subtle, yet alluring to prospective buyers. Paring down, fluffing and staging provide prospective buyers cues that subliminally whisper “Home” and push your property ahead of others in Buyers minds. The cause and effect here centres on that emotional connection that puts the wheels in motion to buy- faster and at a better price.
Our Free urbaneer.com Style Enhancement Service
For homeowners who would like to get the highest price, urbaneer.com offers our exclusive Style Enhancement Service as part of our listing package. Along with providing a property-specific list of improvements and tasks to elevate your dwelling’s presentation and maximize your return on investment, Urbaneer.com also has its own home furnishings storage facility filled with unique furnishings, art, and accessories geared to today’s decor trends, along with items which are little unusual and eclectic to make your property more memorable. Working with your existing furnishings, we’ll come in and Style Enhance your residence to achieve the highest price possible.
Want to see some examples of our work? Here is our Style Enhancment page showcasing what we've done for past clients!
Do you have questions? As real estate practitioners who monitor trends and markets in housing, we offer consumers insight and assistance in making rational and educated decisions about real estate. Specializing in renovated and restored character dwellings, low-maintenance living, revenue-producing income properties and loft conversions, call us now at 416-322-8000.
We're here to earn your trust, then your business.
Steven Fudge and the Urbaneer team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage
www.urbaneer.com • firstname.lastname@example.org