Selling Your Home? First Impressions Matter
Selling Your Home? First Impressions Matter;
Your Essential Checklist of “Things To Do” and “Things To Don't"
How exciting! You’ve finally decided. You are finally putting your home up for sale!
You begin to daydream as visions of home staging, professional photoshoots, Instagram House-Selfies, Centris Listings, Flipbooks, Drone Photos, Marketing Videos, and Matterport Layouts swirl in your imagination...it's a high; it's thrilling... but it's emotional and a little scary both at the same time. But you’ve decided and you are ready to commit. Look at you, you're a trooper... because you know it's time, and your new dream home awaits!
And then it hits you. Before all the fun, there’s work to do, and there's a lot of it. Now’s the time to go down that seemingly endless task list and take care of all those pesky little chores waiting for a rainy day. And it's raining today!
It can feel overwhelming but in fact, it is rather simple if you approach it from a sense of organization and simplicity. Keep it manageable, and the best way to feel accomplished is by making lists and handling one small task at a time. One of the tools I use with my clients is my checklist of “Things to do, and Things to don’t”. And, I thought to share some of the highlights with you to help get you started.
Where To Begin?
Begin with fresh eyes. Walk around your home; outside, inside… room by room. What do you notice? Where does your eye go first? How does it feel? Is it bright and inviting? Does it feel fresh and open? Is it… happy?
First impressions matter; that ever-important curb appeal from the driveway to your front door. Is that doorbell broken? Is the door paint faded and chipping away? What about when you step inside? Will your Buyers be welcomed by shoes, jackets, and recycle boxes?
Now I know you’re thinking, “… but Candis, I need to live in my home.” And of course, you do, but organized editing can create both visual appeal and practicality for every day; while providing ease for last-minute showings.
It’s a simple fact that the little things do matter and it can be surprising the “little things” that will turn off a potential Buyer. So here’s my “shortlist”. Feel free to add to it as these things have a way of taking on a life of their own! But keep it doable and simple and focus on the most relevant and important tasks.
Things To Do…
Repair everything… and I mean everything.
Now I’m not talking about major renovations or expensive jobs. Those are the things you discuss with your realtor to determine their respective need versus value cost and their relevance when determining your asking price.
What I’m talking about here are all those little forgotten things that add up in a potential Buyer’s mind making them skeptical about the condition of the entire house. “What other more important things have been neglected as well?”, they will wonder.
So replace those lightbulbs, broken handles, leaky faucets, wobbly handrails, flickering lights, etc. It’s imperative because if overlooked you can be assured each and every neglected item will be pointed out by your potential buyer and will most certainly be reflected in a much lower offer.
2. Clear the Excess
When selling your home, less is absolutely more.
Remove unnecessary or bulky furniture, rarely used kitchen countertop appliances, and unnecessary rugs, limit the dog toys, piles of magazines, plants, overflowing paperwork, knickknacks, endless throw pillows, etc. Go all, Marie Kondo on your clutter; be grateful, and then... let it go. Remember the focus is on showing your home and helping Buyers to visualize it as theirs.
Clear away all those things (you know what they are); all that stuff placed “there for now” that has become “there forever”. Forever stops now. Clear it away. You’ll feel so much better and your home will begin to feel open and airy and light again!
Now is the perfect time to gather those well-loved and unneeded items and give them to a friend, shelter, or charity. It feels amazing and incidentally, it becomes addictive.
4. The Power of Paint
I cannot say it enough. Paint is your best friend. No really, it is.
White, Ecru, Bisque, Parchment, Oyster… whatever name you want to call it (you get the picture) go neutral. Now, is not the time to make a design statement. And don’t go overboard using the grey… I know it’s a thing, but just… don’t. Not everyone is into cool and trendy. Remember here, we want to appeal to the masses.
5. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
Clean; clean everything. I’m not talking your everyday clean, I’m talking about the big one; the one where you call in the troops and the hazmat suits (JK).
Focus on washing windows, floors, mirrors, scuff marks, cabinetry, floor moldings, staircase risers, cobwebs and dust on the ceiling fan. Don’t use overly scented cleaning agents. Keep it simple…vinegar and baking soda are magic.
Outside the home, wash decks and walkways, and be sure to clean eavestroughs. Mow and trim grass in Summer, rake the leaves in Fall, and clear snow paths and driveways in Winter.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve waded through knee-high snow, visited homes with my buyers, or arrived at a home that hasn’t been mown in 3 weeks. You don’t want your Buyers’ first visit to begin as a hiking “adventure”.
Things To Don’t…
1. Don’t Decorate
Ah, I got ya there, didn’t I?
Strange advice coming from a real estate broker who is also an interior designer, isn't it? But, trust me when I tell you that, now is not the time to try all those amazing DIY ideas, or embrace your inner Martha Stewart. Just... don't.
This is not the time to try those “50 Ways With Fuchsia”. Choose wisely, appeal broadly, and use your accessories sparingly. You don’t want even the most beautiful of decor to become clutter, and worse… steal the limelight!
We want your Buyers to see your home and be able to imagine it... as theirs. We want them to feel the space, see the windows and realize the potential for imagining their furnishings, and their lives within your home.
2. Don’t Depersonalize… Well not, completely.
Being a designer and luxury real estate broker, my particular expertise is in the preparation of my listings for the market. I’m not of the “Depersonalize Your Home ”mindset. I’m no fan of sterile spaces that lack personality, either when decorating... or selling a home.
You’ve already got amazing things, they’re there…they merely need to be curated and used creatively to highlight your home’s best features and focal points. It’s not about being decorative as much as it is about drawing the eye to where we want it to go; purposefully.
Personality creates a conversation, and... we want the conversation to be a good one! I cannot count the times my Buying clients have connected with items reflective of the personalities of my Sellers.
“Omg I love that picture; it’s the exact spot in NYC where my husband proposed to me!” and, “Oh your son has the same name as ours!” and, “Your daughter won that trophy playing hockey? My daughter plays hockey too!” and, “I just love that artist, I have works by him as well!”... I could go on and on.
Remember it’s all well and good to be yourself…a little. Just don’t go overboard. Be discriminating in choosing which pieces of art, books or accessories make the “cut”. Use them sparingly and you’ll be more than fine. Glimpses and insights into your personality are important. They can create a commonality; a bond and a connection to the home and its owners. And that is invaluable when selling your home.
First impressions absolutely do matter
They say, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression”. And in real estate, this holds even truer. So ignore these “To Do’s” if you choose (hey that rhymes) but know one thing.
The only "second chance" you’ll get
is a Centris banner saying “Reduced Price”!
So, follow my “Things To Do” and ”Things To Don’t” and prepare your home right away even before you decide to list it. That way you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour a little longer!
And, if you have questions reach out to me!
Should you be considering selling your home; it is my pleasure to represent your real estate needs; building on my solid reputation of trust, specialization, commitment, and professionalism.
And don't forget, I provide curated home staging for all my listings as an entirely complimentary service!
What is your home worth? More than you think.
Let’s have that conversation… I’ll bring the coffee! ☕️
*Proudly representing sellers and buyers throughout:
Montréal (Westmount, Mont-Royal, Ville-Marie, Outremont, TMR, Old Montréal, Cote-des-Neiges/NDG, Le Sud-Ouest, Hampstead, Nun's Island, Verdun, LaSalle, Lachine and more...)
West Island (Saint-Laurent, Dorval, Pointe-Claire, Beaconsfield, Baie-d’Urfe, Kirkland, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Pierrefonds, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Senneville), Ile Bizard)
Off-island (Hudson, Saint-Lazare, Rigaud, Laval, Saint-Eustache, Oka, Pointe-Calumet, Notre-Dame-de-l’Ile-Perrot, Pincourt, Vaudreuil, Vaudreuil-Sur-Le-Lac, Ile-Cadieux, and more...)
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