Selling Tips for the Summer Market

Flowers in bloom, inviting green lawns, and interiors warmed by abundant natural light are all great reasons to sell during the summer months.  If you plan to put your home on the market this season, consider these tips to ensure that your home sells quickly and for the best possible price.

Outdoor appeal

Studies have shown that more than 30 percent of buyers begin their home search online and the first image they see is typically the outside of the building.  For house owners this is a fantastic opportunity to create a positive first impression, especially in the summer.  A lush, green lawn and groomed landscaping are very appealing.  Add a fresh coat of paint or stain to the front door and place a pot full of colourful flowers beside the door.  For a relatively small investment of time and money on plants, lawn fertilizer, and paint, homeowners can reap significant returns.  If weeds are popping up through walkways and driveway cracks, pour boiling water over them to kill them without harsh chemicals.  Filling cracks in the driveway and sealing is often a relatively simple and inexpensive repair.

Balconies and decks on condominiums and townhouses can also benefit from some attention.  If the space has become a makeshift storage unit for sports equipment and other items, start by clearing away the clutter.  Clean the floors, glass, and railings.  Show prospective buyers how relaxing the space can be with comfortable, attractive outdoor furniture, fresh flowers and a few accessories.  

Indoor improvements

Most home sellers face this dilemma: how much renovation spending is too much?   Investing several thousand dollars in a new kitchen may help to sell your home more quickly but you may not recoup the full investment in the selling price.  Every homeowner should address critical problems in their home such as replacing a broken dishwasher, cleaning the carpets, and repairing a faulty garage door opener.  Next, look at your home with a critical eye.  Are there areas that seem outdated?  Bathrooms and kitchens tend to show their age because fashions change quickly for cupboards, countertops, tile and fixtures.  If a complete renovation is beyond your budget, consider replacing just one or two aspects of the room. 

A Sutton REALTOR® can provide you with valuable information about the best renovations considering your home’s age and style in relation to local trends and competing homes on the market.

Vacant or furnished?

If you have already purchased a new home, should you move out your belongings before you begin showings?  The answer depends on a few factors.  Some buyers like to see vacant spaces because it helps them visualize filling a home with their own furniture and accessories.  Other good reasons to show a vacant home would be if you have too many items overcrowding your home or your furniture is very outdated or an unusual style.

However, in general, rooms look larger when they contain furniture.  Home staging is all about using colour, furniture placement and accessories to maximize the attractiveness of a home with the goal of improving the sale price and/or reducing the time on the market.  This is why show suites in condominiums are almost always staged rather than empty.  Designer décor appeals to many prospective buyers but if a professional consultation is beyond your budget, try these ideas:
-    clear away newspapers, magazines and unnecessary accessories
-    be sure your home is adequately lit; add lamps and overhead lighting where needed
-    bold colours will appeal to a minority of buyers so consider repainting in a neutral colour, adding slip covers over bright furniture and putting clean white towels in the bathroom
-    remove excess furniture and create clear pathways around the remaining furniture 
-    be sure that artwork complements a room without offending anyone’s religious or moral sensibilities

Go green!

Be sure to let your REALTOR® know about all the green features of your home such as drip irrigation, solar panels, insulating windows, high efficiency appliances, etc.  If you are planning to renovate prior to listing your home, consider buying products that have been harvested or manufactured in environmentally-friendly methods (e.g., hardwood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council) or items that are very energy efficient (e.g., Energy Star appliances).  When painting, look for low-emission paints.  Some stores even carry recycled paint.

With a growing number of chemicals in our environment, some people have become very sensitive to air fresheners and fumes from cleaning products.  As you prepare your home for showings, consider using products that are the least likely to bother potential buyers.  Instead of air fresheners, open your windows to air out your home.  Add lemon juice to soap and baking soda to clean floors and countertops. 

Speaking of fresh air, don’t forget about your pets.  If you have a cat, be sure the litter box is cleaned often.  Dog owners should give Fido a bath and if possible, keep pets out of the home during showings.