Before you determine the listing price for your property and place it on the market, it’s important to assess your home for essential property repairs, cosmetic improvements and in some cases, major renovations to take place. This will help you maximize your financial return and increase the chance of it selling faster. To ensure you prioritize your time and financial resources on projects that will maximize the value of your property, and avoid “over-improvements” that will do little or nothing to improve your home’s value, consider the general guidelines below. Your real estate agent can then provide you with advice on the required updates and repairs specific to your property type and neighbourhood.
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In general, homebuyers and real estate investors seek the least expensive property in the best neighborhood they can afford but at the best value. Repairs and improvements should be made so the property shows well and is consistent with the neighborhood’s standards and preferences. At the same time, you should minimize capital investments and over-improvements that may not be recovered from the sale. If you have an older property, you may wish to get a professional home inspection before putting your home on the market. This will help you identify and address any major repairs that may be required. Unless you are prepared to significantly compromise on price, some home repairs are essential. These include repairs to broken mechanical and heating systems, siding and gutters, broken appliances, major fixtures, and structural deficiencies such as leaky roofs. Cosmetic improvements, including fresh paint and landscaping, are quick and affordable ways to help a home “show” better and often result in positive returns.
The first thing you may want to assess is the exterior, as this is often the first impression for any potential buyer and is often what piques their interest in the first place. Once the for sale sign appears on your property, the first thing passersby view is the exterior. Several things you’ll want to consider:
- Repair loose siding, damaged roof shingles, eaves, gutters and cracked windows for your home and garage.
- Secure loose shutters and awnings.
- Wash windows, gutters, mailboxes and doors.
- Repair cracked pavement and walkways on your property.
- Ensure lawns and gardens are attractive and well maintained.
- Sweep the entryway, porch and sidewalks daily.
While your exterior might be what draws potential buyers in, it’s often the case that the interior is what locks them in. Before you consider taking property photos, having open houses or walk-through appointments, ensure you take these steps:
- One of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to update a home is with a fresh coat of paint. Repaint walls in a neutral colour with broad consumer appeal.
- Kitchen and bathroom renovations often result in a positive return on dollars invested. Consult your realtor for advice based on your property type and neighbourhood.
- Repair all broken appliances, fixtures, lighting and hardware, such as dripping faucets and showerheads, sticky doors, cracked tiles and broken appliances.
- Steam clean carpets or replace them if necessary.
- Depersonalize your home so potential buyers can envision living in it. Remove personal photos, memorabilia and collections.
- Keep in mind that cluttered rooms and storage areas give the impression that they are much smaller than their actual size. Remove clutter from all areas and if necessary, put furniture and personal items into off- site storage.
- Clean every room thoroughly.
If you are selling a condominium, you’ll also need to prepare the detailed documentation relating to your unit and strata corporation in advance, as potential buyers and investors will request them in advance of writing an offer or before removing “subjects” on a contract of purchase and sale. These include:
- Title search
- Registered strata plan
- Financial statements of the strata corporation
- Property disclosure statement
- Building envelope report
- Strata and AGM minutes for the past two years
- Other legal documentation required for your jurisdiction
Your real estate agent can assist with gathering all of this documentation for you. If you would like to receive all of our Home Selling Essentials now, please download our complimentary Home Sellers’ Guide.
This article was originally published on October 2, 2012 and has been updated on April 6, 2022.