Archive for September, 2013

Selling Your House in the Fall

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Selling Your House in the Fall | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFall time is beautiful in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region.  Late summer flowers are in full bloom, the leaves are turning orange, yellow and red, and the air smells crisp and clean.  There’s nothing quite like the bright blue sky and brilliant Alberta sunshine in the fall.  But having your home on the market as the days get shorter and the nights cooler comes with a certain set of challenges.

  • Those beautiful leaves don’t stay on the trees and as they fall, they can make your yard look unkempt and messy.  Small quantities of leaves can often be dealt with by using a mulching lawnmower or a leaf blower.  But if you have mature trees on your property, the best way to keep your yard looking good during the autumn months is to flex your muscles and rake the leaves.  This does more than make your yard look tidy.  Removing mats and debris from the lawn’s surface helps the lawn to “breathe” and sets it up for the winter months.  You’ll also want to clean up plants that have finished their summer life cycle:  cut back dead foliage, prune the raspberry canes and so on.  If you have plants in pots, bring them up onto your porch to provide a little color and curb appeal.  Or use some of that garden produce to arrange an artistic grouping of squash, pumpkins, ears of corn and the like.
  • As the light fades and the sun sinks lower in the sky, you need to let in as much natural light as possible.  Uncover your windows as completely as you can.  Open the curtains as wide as possible.  Pull up the blinds as high as they’ll go.  Vacuum accumulated dust, leaves and tree fuzz from window screens, and wash windows inside and out so they sparkle.
  • Light up your house for showings.  Turn on every light and lamp in your home, especially for late afternoon and evening showings, or on gloomy days.  The more light, the larger and more welcoming rooms will seem.  Consider buying a few inexpensive lamps to add to tables or corners, especially in rooms that have only overhead light fixtures.
  • Cozy it up.   There’s a reason professional home stagers use strategically placed and brightly colored throws plus mountains of pillows when they decorate a home!  In the fall, add even more appeal and warmth by choosing items with interesting textures that invite touch:  a big fluffy blanket draped over the couch, roughly textured pillows in an armchair, etc.
  • Fill your home with the scents of autumn.  You probably already know that the smell of your home is a strong influence on buyer interest or distaste.  Start with a super-clean house but also use the warm and comforting smells of autumn to hook in those buyers!  The aroma of freshly baked spicy cookies or apple pie can’t be beat.  If you can’t arrange that before a showing, here is a good alternative.  Boil water with cinnamon, cloves and orange peel for about half an hour sometime during the day of a showing.

Want more tips for selling your home?  I’m happy to help.  Please call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Leaner, Cleaner — and Sold!

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Leaner, Cleaner -- and Sold! | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSome time ago I had a house listed in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region whose owners were enthusiastic antique collectors.  Every room in their home was filled with furniture, knick-knacks and treasures from multiple eras and design influences.  Nothing really matched, nor was there a unifying theme tying things together.  The overall effect was of too much miscellaneous stuff crammed into too little space.  This is exactly the impression a seller does not want to give a potential buyer! 

Getting this place sold needed the removal of large numbers of objects so as to showcase the space rather than the possessions in the space.  Items not removed were those essential for daily living that were both nice to look at and anonymous.  Many sellers learn the hard way that living in a home is very different from selling a house, and items cherished by the sellers may actually deter potential buyers from making an offer.

Ask yourself what you are selling.  If it’s the house and not the stuff in it, how can you show off the house to its best advantage?  You can do this by staging your home to make it look as spacious, clean, tidy and organized, fresh and up-to-date, attractive and functional as possible.  Did I mention spacious?!

Please read my other articles on home staging:  Home Staging Starts with De-cluttering”  and “Be Your Own Home Stager”  Let’s assume that you’ve already thrown away the trash, sold or given away unneeded or unwanted items, and packed up stuff you’re not currently using (e.g. winter equipment and clothing if it’s summer) but which you’ll be taking with you when you leave your current home.  What else needs to go before you put your home on the market? 

“Identity” items: 

  • All items with your name on them:  utility bills, diplomas, certificates and awards, sports jerseys, personal documents such as passports, medications, etc.
  • All family pictures
  • All collections:  spoons, ball caps, dolls, model cars, sports memorabilia, coins, cookbooks, DVDs, etc., as well as valuables such as jewelry.
  • All ethnic, cultural and religious items
  • All evidence of hunting:  guns, clothing, stuffed game, antlers, etc.
  • All work-related items, such as computer or office-related binders, books and manuals, cords, CDs, phone books, etc.
  •  Any items that might distract or offend potential buyers, such as smoking materials, pet paraphernalia, lewd artwork and the like

Stuff in general: 

  • Dated and dusty decorative items, such as old dried flower arrangements
  • All broken items, and things you’ve been “saving”
  • All excess furniture and accessories in every room.  Don’t forget outbuildings and outdoor spaces as well.  Keep just the essentials, and set up each room or space according to its intended purpose.  This may mean turning an office back into a bedroom while your home is on the market.
  • All extra items from porches, decks and entryways (such as loose pieces of carpet, boot racks and the like), and all items from stairwells and hallways.
  • Large appliances, like a freezer or extra fridge, that won’t be sold with the house
  • All items off window ledges, and open the window coverings
  • All old paint, chemicals and hazardous waste, as well as renovation and building materials that are not relevant to the house’s current upgrades

Tips for Specific areas

 

Shelves:

  • Remove everything.  Replace just a few display items, leaving lots of space between them:  some hardcover books with attractive covers, a couple of unusual knick-knacks, neutral photos such as landscapes, small plants

Closets:

  • Remove about 75% of closet contents, keeping just the items you absolutely have to have while your home is on the market!  Leave as much space between items on hangers as possible, and clear closet shelves and floors as much as possible.  Arrange everything neatly.

Other storage spaces:

  • Stockpiles of everything have to go from basement storage areas, garage, storage shed and the like.  Keep only the items you need to maintain yourself and the home while it is on the market.  For example, if it’s summer, you’ll need lawn mowing and gardening tools but not winter items like snow shovels and brushes.  Pack up the tools, hobby items, sports gear, etc.

Kids’ rooms:

  • Remove all but your children’s favorite toys, clothing they will be wearing on a day to day basis, and necessary equipment (e.g. changing table and related items for infants).
  • Remove all stickers and posters from walls and doors

Kitchen:

  • All items off the tops of cabinets and the fridge, including magnets, children’s artwork, calendars, etc.
  • Everything off kitchen counters except bare necessities, such as coffee pot, kettle and toaster.
  • Purge plastic container collection.
  • Pack up all extra cookware, dishes, utensils, specialty items you won’t be using while your home is on the market.
  • Reduce stored food items as much as possible so that cupboards and pantry appear as spacious as possible.
  • Knives off counters and stored under a cabinet (for safety).
  • Clean out all cabinets and drawers and replace only the essentials in a tidy and organized fashion.

Bathrooms:

  • Out with all old and half-used toiletries.
  • Bare minimum of personal care products, in attractive containers, if possible.  However, do NOT leave out in view things like razors, hairbrushes, toothbrushes, medications and the like.
  • Reduce quantity of cleaning products to just what needs to be used on a daily basis.
  • Clear out cabinets; put back only essential items.

Laundry area:

  • Clear off all shelves and leave only items you have to have.  Nothing on the floor!

Home exterior:

 

During this process, you’ll probably come to realize that:

  • Potential buyers will be looking everywhere in your home.
  • It will take time and energy to repair, clean, de-clutter, de-personalize and stage your home so it looks spotless, spacious and inviting.
  • You may have to rent space in a storage facility to store your belongings.
  • It’s going to be a little painful to have to camp in your own home for the period of time before your home is sold and you move out completely.

But I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you:

  • The focus will no longer be on the home you’ve created and your stuff, but the space, the flooring, upgrades, fresh paint, the yard, and all the other features that buyers are looking for.
  • By clearing out the clutter and packing up as much as possible before your home goes on the market, you will have much less to do when it comes time to move to your new home.
  • Your home WILL sell faster and it WILL earn you more money – in some cases, 1000s of dollars more.
  • You may even find that you can get along just fine without so much stuff!

Remember the phrase from the movie Field of Dreams “Build it and they will come”?  Stage your house so it becomes a Home of Dreams and the buyers will come!

Comments or questions about this article?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

 

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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