Tidying Up for the Sale

Toronto Real Estate News
Photo by Barb Phillips
  My Life by Barb Phillips

When you decide to sell your Toronto home, you’re signing up for quite a bit of work, both physical and mental. Let’s talk today about the procedures that a house or apartment owner must attend to before she or he can welcome the first open house visitors.

As soon as your home lists on the Toronto MLS, the first stage of moving out has begun. This means that potential buyers will start coming in to see what your piece of property looks and feels like and whether they would consider purchasing it. The more buyers you appeal to, the more (and better) offers you are likely to get — and all buyers value freedom.

Freedom of Movement

To ensure that people feel comfortable in your home, you have to remove all obstacles, excess furniture, and unused items from your rooms and hallways. This means actually taking away items that clutter your home but are not essential to your everyday life there.

What you want to achieve is a setting that draws attention to the home’s positive features, such as architectural specialties and functional highlights. You don’t want to keep distractions around that might confuse or deter potential buyers.

You need to leave enough furniture inside so as to show the spaciousness of your rooms, but not so much that your buyers can find space for the pieces that they expect to bring in. Most importantly, your buyers must be free to walk around your home with ease. This is a fragile balance to reach, and if you’re in doubt, feel free to consult your Realtor® or even a home stager.

If you’re not going to sell these items, you can either store your “excess possessions” at a garage of a family member or friend, or you can rent commercial short-term storage space. This will help you bridge the gap until you can move into your own new place.

And finally, your visitors are surely going to look into the wardrobes and cabinets that you do keep around, so make sure that they and their contents are clean and tidy as well.

Freedom of Expression

Photo by Nic Mc Phee
Morning Indoor Shot
by Nic McPhee

Humans are masters of metaphors and prejudice. Use this fact to your advantage when preparing for buyers. Don’t keep your personal items around for your buyers to see.

Family pictures, framed diplomas, medals, and trophies mean a lot to you but are of little value to your buyers. Some of your memorabilia may even upset or concern your buyers — and you don’t want to risk that. Let your buyers imagine their own personal artifacts in your home and you will have won over a part of their heart.

Some home stagers even suggest gender-balancing your primary living areas. If the children’s bedroom is decorated in a mermaid style, maybe it’s time to put in some action figures or a box of Lego® Technic. If your home has a pink bathroom with huge make-up mirrors, maybe a manly shower gel in the corner or a branded towel would help bring the balance back. Even though these suggestions are based on stereotypes, it may just be the factor that keeps the buyer-husband and buyer-son in the house that much longer. If the house is too functional and cold, on the other hand, a bit of a gentle touch could do wonders to convince the ladies and their daughters to grow fond of it during the open house visits.

Freedom of Function

Speaking of functionality, your house should be in perfect condition when it comes to minor functional details such as leaky faucets, screeching hinges or floor panels, broken lights and door bells, etc. There is no excuse for showing off a house with malfunctioning details that can and should be easily fixed. If there are systemic errors or larger-scale malfunctions, they will naturally reflect in the asking price. But unmaintained small things are a no-go.

So when your doors open smoothly and your blinds can be turned easily to let the sun in, you’re ready to welcome your first home buyer. For more information, please check out Jamie’s Complete Guide to Selling a House in Toronto.

Do you have your own tips and tricks for making a Toronto house or condo appealing to first-time visitors? Please share with us in the comments!

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