When getting your home ready to sell, you need to look at your house in a new way. Think of your house as a product about to go on the market where it is probably competing with brand new housing. It needs to show well - which means clutter-free and well kept.

If you need to make improvements to your home, do the work before it goes on the market. Potential buyers are not interested in hearing about your good intentions to look after defects before a transfer of ownership takes place. Even if fix-up work is underway, buyers may not be able to visualize what your home will look like when the work is finished. They will just remember it being in a state of disrepair.

Home makeovers and home staging help you do just that, and they can ultimately affect a home's market value: an attractive, well-maintained home sells quicker and for a higher price. Creating a positive first impression is the key when selling your home.

  • This may actually be your first priority, depending on how much initial legwork you are prepared to undertake. Your Royal LePage real estate agent will be your number-one ally and helpful resource during the course of selling your home.

  • An agent will do the following during your home selling process:
    • Recommend a competitive price for your home
    • Develop a marketing strategy to bring in as many potential buyers as possible
    • Take care of all the details (so you don't have to)
    • Advise you about your rights, options and obligations
    • Negotiate to get you the best price and the best terms possible
  • At this point, you will sign a contract between you and your real estate agent's brokerage company. This document establishes the fine details of your relationship with your sales representative, including compensation, the listing price of your home, and other details of the sale. The contract generally makes sure both parties are on the same page when it comes to expectations and obligations.
  • Real estate lawyer (or notary in Quebec) will ensure your interests are protected in all legal agreements that require your signature (such as the buyer's offer to purchase).
  • When it comes time for prospective buyers to tour your home, you'll want to be sure it's looking (and smelling) its best. Well in advance of the open house you should consider renovating problem areas that could detract from the home's overall value. Some renovations have even been proven to return the cost of the project and more in the selling price. The day of an open house, you'll want to be sure that the place is tidy and smells clean.
  • Many prospective buyers will insist upon a home inspection conducted by a professional home inspector prior to making any firm commitment to purchase your home. The home inspection goes well beyond window-dressing, as your home's important structural, functional and safety features will be under the magnifying glass. If you are aware of issues in your house that need repair, you'd be well advised to fix them in advance of the buyer's inspection. Anything you don't fix will have to be disclosed to the buyer by law. It may even be wise to commission your own house inspection in advance, so that you will be prepared for any unpleasant surprises. This will also give you a chance to remedy issues that could jeopardize a sale or force you to lower the price.
  • When a buyer is interested, he'll make it official by presenting you with an Offer to Purchase. This legal document contains all the pertinent details that describe the property, as well as how much he is prepared to pay for the house and what conditions, inclusions and exclusions he wants as part of the deal. It helps to have a clear idea ahead of time as to how much compromising on price and conditions you are prepared to do. Your real estate agent can help with negotiations and preparing your counter offer when applicable.
  • Once the lawyers have determined that all obligations on the part of both buyer and seller have been fulfilled, the deal can close. You'll be presented with a cheque for the proceeds of the sale, and the buyer will get the keys.

Make sure you take the time to prepare your home both inside and out, your first impression is your best impression.

  • Recommend a competitive price for your home
  • Develop a marketing strategy to bring in as many potential buyers as possible
  • House number should be easy to read
  • Lights on timers to ensure house is lit up after sunset
  • Eaves troughs, and down spouts in good repair
  • Garage/car port clean and tidy
  • Reseal an asphalt driveway
  • Keep your garage door closed
  • Cracked or broken window panes replaced
  • Doorbell and door hardware in good repair
  • Touch up trim paint on doors, window frames, fascia, etc.
  • Mow, edge and weed and water the lawn frequently until the home is sold.
  • Overgrown shrubbery should be cut back to show as much of the exterior as possible.
  • Inspect the roof for necessary repairs and any visible broken shingles or tiles.
  • Stucco water stains can be repaired using a mild bleaching agent.
  • Fences should be mended and painted.
  • Wash all windows inside and outside.
  • News papers and mail should be picked up

  • Recommend a competitive price for your home
  • Lights should be on and drapes should be left open during daylight
  • Heat set at a comfortable temperature
  • Fresh flowers/plants in various rooms
  • Chipped plaster and paint touched up and repaired
  • Doors and cupboards properly closed
  • Leaky taps and toilets repaired. Keep toilet seats down.
  • Burned out light bulbs replaced
  • Squeaky doors oiled
  • Mirrors, fixtures, and taps cleaned and polished
  • Seals around tubs and basins in good repair
  • Floors cleaned, garbage containers emptied
  • Inside of closets and cupboards neat and tidy
  • Pets absent, where possible, or contained during showings
  • All torn screens should be repaired or replaced.
  • White or light pastels are the easiest to work with and they make your rooms look larger.
  • Fireplace lit in cooler weather
  • Air conditioner turned on in warm weather
  • Countertops neat and polished, set out some fresh fruit (green apples or lemons)
  • Appliances cleaned
  • Fold and put all laundry away
  • White fluffy towels in the bathrooms are always nice; make it feel like a spa.
  • Closing day is exciting, but don't forget to budget for closing costs. Closing costs are fees that must be paid before your home sale is officially complete. To give you a rough idea of what to expect, some of the most common expenses are listed below. These expenses are approximations only, may vary by region and are prone to frequent changes that may not be reflected here. Your Royal LePage real estate agent can help you further define more precise numbers.
  • This fee covers all the legwork, marketing and advice provided by your agent, as well as commission to the buyer's real estate agent (the seller pays both!). You can expect commission fees to be around 5% of the home's sale price, although they may be negotiable.
  • When you're involved in a financial transaction as big as this, you want to be sure you are protected. Your legal professional will ensure that the buyer has made good on all terms outlined in the Offer to Purchase, and that you have met your legal obligations so the deal may close. Legal fees vary widely, and the total cost depends on the extent of services provided. You will also be responsible for disbursements (any costs related to handling your file, such as long distance calls and travel).
  • This might not be a cost for you, depending on how your property tax and utility bill payments are scheduled. If you prepay these expenses then you can expect the buyer to refund you the difference by closing day. If, however, you don't pay these expenses in advance, it will be you paying the buyer for the amount accrued prior to the possession date. The exact amount will be calculated by your lawyer.
  • Be forewarned that if you plan to pay off your mortgage with the proceeds, your bank may charge a fee for closing your account, and a penalty fee if you've paid it off early. And don't forget about your new house. You'll want to be sure to budget extra funds for expenses related to your move (such as the moving company and utility hookups).

Knowing what your home is worth is important information to have if you are thinking of selling your home. Today's market will ultimately determine the true value of your home. To assist you in achieving the best asking price, Chris will provide you with a complimentary in-home comprehensive market analysis. Before comparing your home to similar properties and establishing a competitive list price, the following points must be considered:
  • Location
  • Size
  • Style
  • Condition
  • Interior Features
  • Community Amenities
  • Supply of Homes

Here are some of the benefits of pricing your home accurately:
  • Location
  • Your home sells faster because it will be exposed to more qualified buyers
  • Your home will not lose its "marketability"
  • The closer to market value, the higher the selling price
  • A well-priced property can generate competing offers resulting in a higher price
  • Real Estate Professionals will be committed and excited about presenting your home


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Chris Rembisz Real Estate. All Rights Reserved.