If you are looking for tips to help you sell your home – look no further. Selling your home is as easy as one two three… we have provided to you one hundred and twenty three (123) tips that you, as a home owner, can take to improve your chances of selling your home on your terms. All in one article! Don’t be scared – the majority of these tips are are tips that anybody can follow – whether as a private home seller or as a seller working with a real estate agent. We have worked very hard to ensure that this article is probably one of the most comprehensive lists of home selling tips on the internet.
Private Sellers – as For Sale By Owner enthusiasts, or FSBO for short, you have undertaken the challenging task of selling your home. The reward is immense – savings that can amount to tens of thousands of dollars in commissions. You should first start by seeing how much you can save. Simply multiplty the sale price of your home by 5% and add the applicable sales Tax. Now that you have evaluated the value of your savings when you sell your home privately, it is time to get into the nitty gritty details of the work which you have to do to sell your home on your own and help you with your journey of selling your home privately. So without further ado, we hope you enjoy this list.
- There should be other homes for sale in your neighborhood, or nearby neighborhoods. Determine the price of your home. You may consider what neighboring or similar properties sold for.
- Review an Agreement of Purchase and Sale to understand the general terms of a sale. Consider if you are excluding any fixtures (such as a chandelier). Consider if you are excluding any appliances. Consider if you are including any chattel (such as outdoor patio furniture).
- Get Some Ideas. Purchase a few home magazines. You will better understand current home trends and it will guide how you place your furniture and what accent pieces to buy. For additional ideas you can also look at our homenova pinterest page. We constantly pin new helpful articles.
- Read About Market Conditions. Searching online for news articles about the real estate market in your area is a great way to know whether the real estate market in your area is booming, stable, or dropping. You do have to differentiate between houses for sale, townhouses for sale, or condos for sale, as the market conditions may be different for each of the property types.
- Pick The Right Season. Real estate market peak season is booming between April to August (after spring break and up until the school year starts). Generally speaking spring and summer times are also the times which your home will look its best (rain and snow are mood killers for home hunters). Selling during peak season is generally easier. If you have to sell off-season, be prepared for a longer selling duration.
- Gauge the competition. The more similar properties are to yours in the area, the less leverage you will have. Keep this in mind especially in condo buildings and townhome neighborhoods, where properties may be nearly identical. Do research what they are priced at, and understand that your price needs to reflect the comparison between your property and other properties for sale in your area.
Collect Information About Your Home
- Locate your home purchase documentation. If you bought your home recently, you may have information such as a survey, floor plans or other information you can pass on to prospective buyers.
- Depending on the property, you may wish to obtain a survey. Newer developments typically involved leveling the ground and building houses on accurately measured lots. Older houses were not constructed in such a fashion and a survey may indicate appropriate boundary lines.
- Get a professional residential home appraisal. You will understand the value of your home compared to your neighborhood. But note, home appraisals are typically lower than the market price. Home appraisers typically provide for a price range which will allow a bank to sell a home between 30 to 90 days.
- Consider Getting a Complete Home Inspection and provide the report to future buyers. It will provide peace of mind, may ease some liability in regards to legal disclosures as to the state of the home, and can give you leverage to demand that buyers waive inspection conditions as part of their offers.
- Review the home inspection and fix the easy stuff. If the Home Inspection recommends cheaper fixes, consider making the fixes. If the recommendations are costly, expect the buyer to consider this when they make their offer.
- Obtain a copy of your property tax bill and include the annual amount in a feature sheet.
- If you live in a condominium, you should obtain the amount of your maintenance fees and include this in your feature sheet.
- If you live in a condominium, you may consider obtaining a status certificate at the outset. This document will be required later. It sets out information concerning the condominium corporation, including the amount of money held in reserve and any outstanding liabilities, such as lawsuits.
Get Legal Advice
- Real Estate Lawyers are necessary for the purchase and sale of a home. Real Estate Agents are not. Retain a real estate lawyer early to assist you if you would like to or need to change components of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. The real estate lawyer may also give you advice concerning negotiation, or terms to accept or deny. Negotiate your fees up front. For real estate lawyers, you can typically negotiate a flat fee and ensure that the fee includes review of any serious incoming offers.
Organize Your Home
- Thoroughly clean your living space – put everything away and dust, wipe, vacuum, and scrub. If necessary, you may want to hire a professional cleaner.
- Thoroughly de-clutter your home. Consider selling items that you do not use or that you have not used in years at a garage or community sale, or on an internet selling site such as kijiji or ebay.
- Remove all unnecessary clothing. Purchase large containers or zip lock space bags to store clothing. You can keep some clothes around so the closet is not empty. Keeping 50% of your clothes in your closet is a good rule of thumb. The rest needs to go.
- Remove unnecessary items. Old boxes with kid’s toys. Old presents that sit in your drawers. Old furniture you wanted to give away but never got to it.
- Remove family photographs. Bring family photographs to a family members house, if possible.
- Remove religious paraphernalia. While some religious amulets cannot be removed, consider tucking away religious books into cupboards or drawers.
- Throw, donate or store whatever you do not intend to keep or use in the next three months.
- Storage. Place the storage bins or bags at a family members house while showing your house. People want to imagine having their clothes in your closet; they do not want to see your wardrobe in there.
Secure Your Valuables
- Remove your valuables. Rent a safety deposit box from the bank or a fireproof safe and store at a family members house if possible.
- Remove your medications. Place medications in a lockable cabinet in your house.
- Remove any spare keys. Place spare keys in a lockable cabinet in your house.
- Consider purchasing or renting an IP WIFI Camera and placing it at your front door. It will provide you with an added sense of security. While you may feel that having a real estate agent will prevent thefts – many real estate agents will let individuals look at the property unattended. And if someone decided to do something nefarious, it is unlikely a realtor would do anything to stop them. An IP WIFI camera will allow you to see who is coming to your house when you are not home and take a screen shot. Advise that you have a camera on scene and it is unlikely that anything negative should happen.
Lightly Renovate Your Home
- Inspect all lightbulbs and change any that are not working.
- Update light fixtures where necessary. For example, old lights in bedrooms can be replaced with nice light fixtures or ceiling fans without much work or cost. Consider purchasing replacements from home improvement stores or Costco.
- Improve Lighting. If your house is not very bright, or not bright during certain hours, consider purchasing standing lamps or table lamps.
- Update bathroom light fixtures. You may want to update bathroom light fixtures instead of thoroughly updating a bathroom. Bright lights in a bathroom will make any bathroom feel bigger.
- Paint the walls. Bright paint will make the house look newer, clean and bigger. Consider the colour palate of your furniture and select the appropriate paint colour. Choosing the second lightest shade will add the colour you desire, will make white baseboards and doors stand out, and will allow rooms to appear bigger.
- Change the doors. If your doors are outdated, consider changing the doors on the main level and upstairs. Home Depot, Lowes and Rona have a good selection.
- Replace any outdated faucets. Hardware stores have a good selection. Also make sure they run properly!
- Paint window panes. This will brighten the look of the room.
- Switch plate Covers. If your light switch covers are chipped or simply old looking, don’t worry. They are super easy to replace and cost a couple of bucks each. Just head to your nearest home hardware store and grab new ones.
- Change the door hardware. Consider changing door hardware if out of date. Especially the front door. Examine cabinetry. A change in hardware to the old bathroom handles will change the look. Home Depot, Lowes, Rona and Restoration hardware are good options.
- Purchase a new chandelier. If your chandelier is new, make sure it is cleaned. If it is outdated, purchase a new one, as it is a central point of your home. If you spend a considerable amount of money, be sure to exclude it from the sale. Buyers will like the look of the room with the chandelier but will likely not balk if you remove it.
- Clean windows on the inside and outside. It will really liven up the view outside.
- Paint Kitchen Cabinets. You may consider staining or painting kitchen cabinets to add new shine to your kitchen.
- Consider redoing your crown moulding or installing it yourself. It will add a touch of elegance to your home.
- Replace Toilet Sits. If they are in a bad condition, they will reflect bad on you and the house. They are very cheap to replace.
- Fix toilets. People may use your toilets, if they do the last thing that you want is for them to overflow or keep running.
Your Home Exterior
- Review your home’s exterior. Make any repairs needed. The exterior is the first impression that home buyers have and if your home is not maintained it may indicate that the interior is not maintained or that your home is difficult to maintain. Neither of these inspires confidence.
- Ensure lawn and garden are maintained. Gardens do not need to be big but should be weeded.
- Purchase flowers and plant or use potters. Flowers make a house feel like a home and add a lovely smell.
- Ensure that your lawn is maintained. Make sure lawn is properly trimmed and either mow it yourself or hire a lawn maintenance company.
- Weed Your Driveway if your driveway has interlocking brick. It is a somewhat difficult task but makes a big difference in appearance. Using boiling water can assist to kill the weeds to make pulling them out easier.
- Evaluate Your Driveway. Re-pave your driveway if your driveway is asphalt, old and cracked. An old driveway makes a house look older and unmaintained.
- Touch-up on Front Door by paint or purchase a new front door. As the buyer waits to come inside, they will take note of your front door.
- Purchase or display porch furniture. If you have porch furniture, make sure it is clean.
Decorate & Stage
- Have a friend walk through your house and provide comments. Perhaps have a few walk through and let them write down comments anonymously to give them to you. You will likely receive more honest feedback.
- Go to open houses. You will understand how other people are staging their homes and get ideas.
- Kitchen. Master Bedroom. Bathrooms. People care about where they eat, where they sleep, and where they… have to go. Make sure they are all clean, tidy, and meticulously staged.
- Purchase mirrors. Replace hanging family photos with mirrors. Mirrors brighten the room and make it feel bigger. Consignment stores, Ikea, or Homesense have a good selection.
- Take pictures of the rooms from multiple angles and wait a day before looking at them. You will then understand if a couch should be moved or dishes that are displayed should be put away.
- Rearrange your furniture around several times to understand how it is best used or placed in the room. You can finally opt to go in for the best furniture look as opposed to the best function, which brings us to the next point.
- Remove all unnecessary furniture. While you may enjoy having several chairs and couches in a room, when people are looking at your house, several people in a room full of furniture can make the room seem smaller than it is.
- Artificial flowers in a nice vase add a touch of colour to any room. Michaels has a great selection, and some can be found at furniture stores or Homesense / Winners.
- Bathroom ensembles, such as matching toilet paper cover, toothbrush holders, soap dispensers and garbage cans add a touch of sophistication to your bathroom. Be sure to purchase a set that matches the design of your bathroom – if your bathroom is modern, stick to modern and do not purchase pieces that may be found in an old Parisian hotel.
- Consider buying an area rug to add sophistication to the rooms. An area rug should nicely highlight the furnishings so stick with a neural colour. Home Depot, Ikea, and Costco have great selections.
- Make sure each room has a theme. If it is a guest bedroom, you may want to include a bedside table with a clock, some small hotel sized toiletries, and a bathrobe in the closet. A master bedroom coffee table can have a tray with two glasses of wine and a wine bottle.
- Purchase a glass vase to display fruit in your kitchen. Second hand or consignment shops carry unique dishes at a fraction of the cost of many other retailers. Otherwise, Ikea and Homesense/Winners have a good selection. Display oranges or lemons to give a sense of cleanliness and a sweet smell. You can buy the fruit at Costco.
- Use lightly scented cleaning products. Some people have extreme sensitivity to smells so ensure cleaning products do not have any harsh scents.
- Consider setting the table. If you have a nice dining room table and that is a focus of the home, consider using your fine china purchasing china and setting the table. Consignment stores have a great selection of lovely china and you do not need to worry about damaging any of your own.
- Purchase new art. Some new art pieces will give the room some life. Ikea, homesense, and home outfitters have a good selection.
- Freshen up couches with new pillows. You can find good pillows at Home Outfitters, Ikea, etc. You can also cover up stains on your couch with pillows or neatly folded blankets.
- Cover cracks or holes in walls with pictures or a mirror.
- Remove or Replace blinds. If your blinds are in really bad shape and you do not want to invest in new ones, consider removing the blinds all together. For higher end homes you may want to invest in lower end new blinds.
- Replace any outdated bedding. New, clean bedding will be inviting. Consider Ikea, Anthropologie, Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Outfitters. You will keep the bedding with you as it is not included in the sale (unless specifically included), so do not be considered about return on investment.
- Purchase new towels from Ikea, Bed Bath and Beyond or any bed store. Place new folded towels in your bathroom as you would see in a spa. It will give prospective buyers the impression the home is relaxing.
Compile information About the neighborhood
- Compile a list of the schools which are zoned within your neighborhood. Obtain both the public and catholic elementary and high schools. Also, consider if there are any reputable private schools in the neighborhood and list them with approximate distance. You can include this information on a feature sheet or on a separate print out.
- Get a list of daycares. Obtain a list of licensed daycares in the neighborhood. You can include this information on a feature sheet or on a separate print out.
- Compile a list of amenities. Determine the distance to the nearest public transit stop, pharmacy, grocery stores, dry cleaners, etc. You can include this information on a feature sheet or on a separate print out.
- Compile a list of nearby restaurants. You can include this information on a feature sheet or on a separate print out.
- Compile a list of nearby recreation centres. You can include this information on a feature sheet or on a separate print out.
- Compile a list of nearby houses of worship. You can include this information on a feature sheet or on a separate print out.
Photograph Your Home
- Consider getting a professional photographer. A professional photographer will have a wide angled lens to make rooms appear bigger. Consider the photos your #1 tool to get attention from prospective buyers.
- Consider getting a virtual tour. As people view homes online, a virtual tour gives the best possible picture of a house and allows prospective buyers to meet their expectations when they view a house in person.
- Alternatively, if you have a good camera and you are a good photographer, go ahead and shoot the pictures yourself.
Get Online Exposure
- List your home on homenova for free Not only you will have a great way to list your home, but you will help to support us.
- Share your home listing on your Facebook by way of a link to your online home listing.
- Share your home listing on your Twitter by way of a link to your online home listing.
- Consider Other online free Listings Sites.
- You may purchase Facebook Ads that will specifically target demographics.
- You may purchase Google Ads that will specifically target your neighborhood or street.
Print Marketing Material
- Create and print a brochure that includes home pictures of each room, summary information of the size of the rooms, and information about the lot size. Including any relevant neighbourhood information. Include any relevant property information (inspection, survey, taxes) and neighborhood information (schools, daycares, grocery stores).
- Summarize your brochure and print it on cheaper paper as a one page flier, which includes one featured picture, address, contact information, and key highlights about your property and neighborhood.
- Create Web Page. Chances are that you can buy a domain with your home address for as little as $10 or host for free on wordpress. Consider a free hosting site and a wordpress installation. Include pictures, virtual tours, PDF of brochure, and any other relevant information.
- Buy or Make Signs. In particular, you want one “For Sale” sign for your lawn, and 2-3 open house signs (generally enough signs to cover each turn in the round between your home and the nearest major road.)
- Consider having your brochures and fliers professionally printed. You can do it yourself, but the quality will most likely be better if you buy a batch from a print shop.
Promote Your Property
- Tell your family you are selling your home, and ask them to let their friends know. Give them each a flier.
- Tell your friends you are selling your home, and ask them to let their friends know. Give them each a flier.
- Tell your neighbors you are selling your home, and ask them to let their friends know. Give them each a flier.
- Tell your colleagues you are selling your home, and ask them to let their friends know. Give them each a flier.
- Drop fliers in mailboxes in your building or neighborhood. Chances are, one of your neighbors knows somebody that is interested in the neighborhood.
Showings & Open Houses
- Clean (again) before each showing or open house. Remember to dust. The last thing you want to see after an open house or showing is that someone has written the word DUST in the dust on the side table.
- Consider using a soft fragrance or scented candle. Purchase a neutral smelling scent from a spa or Aveda or something similar. Do not use any heavy smells.
- Be Hospitable. Purchase bottled water and keep several bottles on your kitchen counter and encourage viewers to refresh themselves. Smile at people and be polite and informative.
- You may consider purchasing or making snacks, such as wrapped candy and leave in the kitchen or on a table by the door.
- Always be available. You do not have the only house for sale and even in a sellers market, the ability to be available shows a willingness to work with people and compromise on time, which translates into confidence when purchasing.
- Consider trusting a nearby friend, family member, a neighbor or your building concierge with a spare key to your home, so they can show it in the unlikely event that you are not available.
- Consider using a lock box if you are unable to be home. Ensure there are no valuables in your home.
- Have an open house as it will attract people to see your home. Even if one of them is not interested, they may know someone who is.
- Keep pets out during an open house. Have pets stay with a family member or in a daycare. Put away their beds and food trays.
- Keep children out during an open house. Have children stay with a family member or babysitter. A screaming baby will drive anyone out of a house and keeps your attention away from your visitors.
- Have some help. Managing an open house can be tough. Consider having a friend or a family member during open houses can help a lot in case you are occupied and somebody has some questions. If you are a woman and your husband is not around, you may wish to consider having your brother, father, son or a trusted friend helping you in showing your property. Guys, you may also wish to have somebody in the house to help you out
- Piggy Back On Other Signs. If there are other open houses in the building or the street, put your signs near their signs. It may attract additional traffic to your home.
- Create a sign in sheet for people to use if you have an open house.
- Legally Check Offers. Have your lawyer check any serious offers that you get.
- Choose what is more important. Selling Fast or Asking for Top Dollars. Statistically speaking, the more competitive your house is priced, the faster it will sell (there are exceptions if the market is very hot or very slow, or if somebody really likes your property or is willing to pay a premium for a location). However, at the end of the day it all comes to supply and demand.
- Ignore Low ballers. If your house is priced competitively, and you get an insulting offer, ignore it. Most likely somebody thinks you are desperate or is trying to get a deal, either way this is not worth your time. If they call to follow up just tell them they are not in the ball park and to make a much stronger offer.
- Bluff. The truth of the matter is that everybody is doing it. If you get a good offer, you should consider taking it. However, if time is not an issue, and the buyer seems super interested, and you are willing to risk a buyer going elsewhere, you can always say that you have another close offer and ask if they can offer more. Sometimes you can squeeze a few more thousands or have them waive conditions.
- Consider Their Bluff. Just like you bluff, you may find yourself in a situation where a buyer is telling you that they are interested in making offers on multiple properties and pressuring you to take the offer that same day. Unless the offer is really amazing, you should consider calling them on the bluff and bluff them back saying that you have another offer and if they want you to accept today they would have to make it stronger. Do keep in mind that there is a chance that they are saying the truth, and you may lose them.
- Considering Holding Offers. If the market is really hot in your area you can consider setting up a bidding war. Make sure that you have a lot of open houses and showings prior to the date which you take offers. Exposure is everything if you choose this strategy! Many bidders will generally provide to you the highest offers with the least conditions. Do remember – you will need to be strong and tell people that you will not accept any offers until the due date, with the risk of losing a few offers.
- Take Deposits. Notify buyers that if they wish to provide offers they should be prepared to provide deposits with them. Consider the risk of accepting an offer without a deposit – you may not be able to accept another offer, and your first offer may fall through. A rule of thumb is 5% is fair but if there is a lot of demand for your property you may ask for more. If you are holding offers until a specific date, tell your buyers ahead of time that you will only accept offers with a deposit. Deposits should be in trust to your lawyer.
- Know What Needs Repairs. Other than trying to get a deal, people may ask for discounts for old roofs, broken utilities, or other necessary fixes. They may try to justify going below your asking price noting such problems. Be prepared and informed about the cost of such fixes so that you can negotiate better. If they exaggerate the price you can either tell them how much it costs or offer to fix it yourself at a cost which you control.
- Minimize Conditions. Ask people ahead of time if they are pre-approved for financing and provide pre-emptively inspection reports for your house. You can then put pressure for buyers to waive such offer conditions. Both buyer side home inspections and financing provide dangerous opportunities for buyers to change their mind. If they insist on such conditions you may negotiate instead a smaller, but non-refundable deposit to keep them committed.
- Follow Up. If you don’t have a lot of offers, and an interested buyer has gone cold for a week or more, give them a call, ask them if they have considered your home and see if you can start negotiating again.
- Know When to Sell. If you get a really good offer, chances are that it may be a while before you get another one. You need to be able to see when you get offered a good deal and take it. It may be that you could potentially get a slightly better offer in the future, but it may also be that you won’t, and remember that buyers perception is that if your house sits for long, something may be wrong with it.
- Reward yourself for the hard work. Nobody said selling your home is easy. Treat yourself to a nice restaurant, or a day at the spa. You have earned it.
- Don’t Forget About Closing. Your agreement of purchase and sale may include additional conditions in regards to closing. You will generally have to ensure your home is in a clean and swept condition when you leave and to provide all copies of keys and garage clickers to your lawyer. Also don’t forget to vacate on time!
- Tell Us About Your Experience and Don’t Forget to Share. Do share your feedback, ideas and comments by commenting on this article. We will integrate suggestions which we believe are helpful and effective. Also, if you found this article helpful please do share it with your friends on facebook, twitter or on your blog. We appreciate your support!