Selling your home.

Over the last forty years, I have gone through the process of selling seven of my homes. This has taught me many lessons and given me some experience that I can share with someone new at putting their home on the market.

First the easy stuff:
If you are dealing with an experienced real estate agent, one of the first things they will tell you is to get rid of some of the furniture as we all tend to over furnish our rooms. You want to have your home furnished as it might be displayed in a typical show home. Get rid of all of those personal effects that make your home unique to you. The knit afghan that grandma gave you and all the pictures of the kids and family strategically placed throughout the house should go. A homebuyer steps into your home trying to visualize it as their home and items like this are often a turn-off.

The most important:
Details are critical. That stain on the rug or those marks on the wall that you have always been going to deal with often become invisible to someone living in the home but they are the first thing that jumps out to a new home shopper. Take a very critical look at the tiny details in your home and where financially practical have them dealt with. Not spending that $50 on paint or the repair might result in receiving thousands of dollars less for your home. I have had real estate agents tell me not to bother replacing the rug in the living room because the new homebuyer may want to have a different colour or style. If that living room rug or floor covering looks awful or it is badly worn, replace it. Even cleaning the windows can contribute to the perceived value of the home.

The smell:
Yes, every home has a scent or smell. Whether it is from the supper that was cooked the night before or just the accumulated smells from previous meals or other items in the homes that could generate odor. This may or may not be critical to the sale of your home however it is something you should be aware of. Do not try to mask with artificial air fresheners as that might be a red flag for potential homebuyers. I have had real estate agents suggest that the smell of home-baked apple pie or fresh bread could give a homebuyer the needed incentive. Depending on the weather the solution may be to open several windows in the home a few hours before it’s being presented.

Using an agent:
Using a real estate agent may be the most practical solution for most home sellers. Through the years I have sold homes through real estate agents and on my own and have come to a few conclusions. First of all, choose someone you are comfortable working with. They will work with you to market your home, rather than simply taking the listing and waiting for the phone to ring. Don’t be afraid to ask how much money they will be spending on newspapers and other advertising to market your home, as they are working for you.

Selling on your own:
This may be more than some would like to take on, however, this has worked for me on a few homes. If you have done your homework and are prepared to do everything yourself, you can save on some real estate fees and put more money towards your own marketing

It begins by thinking out of the box. You have to get one step ahead of the competition. Make up a brochure on your home or have a semi-skilled friend put something together for you with photos and detailed descriptions. Find every “item for sale” bulletin board in your region and paste-up that brochure. Price the home as a bargain. For example, this house has been appraised at X number of dollars. Now the home is selling for X number of dollars less what you would normally pay for real estate fees. Keep in mind especially in this market you’re not going to get your asking price. Figure out what your very bottom line is and then add $2000 or $3000 to that for your negotiations.

Ed Boothman