Before you place your property on the market, it’s important 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. I can then provide you with advice on the required updates and repairs specific to your property type and neighborhood.
- In general, home Buyers and real estate investors seek the least expensive property in the best neighborhood they can afford. 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. I can assist you with this task.
- Unless you are prepared to significantly compromise on price, some home repairs are essential. These include repairs to broken mechanical and heating systems, 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.
- 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.
- 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 color with broad consumer appeal.
- Kitchen and bathroom renovations often result in a positive return on dollars invested.
- Repair all broken appliances, fixtures, lighting and hardware, such as dripping faucets and shower heads, sticky doors, cracked tiles and broken appliances.
- Steam clean carpets.
- Depersonalize your home so potential Buyers can envision living in it. Remove personal photos, memorabilia and collections, if possible.
- 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 offsite storage.
Clean every room thoroughly.
- Remove all items that won’t be included in the sale of the home. This includes lighting fixtures or hardware (or let me know in advance so I can exclude them from the contract).
If you are selling a condominium, you will also need to prepare the detailed documentation relating to your unit and Strata Corporation in advance, as potential Buyers and investors will request them upon writing an Offer or before removing their “conditions” from their Agreement 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
I will assist you to obtain your Condo documents.
To optimize the value of your home in the eyes of potential Buyers and investors, it’s important to ensure that your home is presented in the best possible light. Prior to any showings or Open Houses, complete the steps in the attached checklist (Please leave the house during a showing or open house to ensure that potential Buyers have the chance to evaluate and experience the home at their leisure.)
- Ensure that every room is sparkling clean and tidy
- Ensure fixtures and appliances are clean
- Sweep floors and vacuum floor coverings
- Remove garbage from all bins
- Clean the kitchen counters, sink and appliances
- Ensure dishes are put away
- Put out clean towels in the kitchen and bathrooms
- Make sure the bathrooms are extra clean
- Remove clutter from countertops and coffee tables
- Make all beds and tidy up the closets
- Ensure that every room is well-lit
- Open drapes to maximize natural light during the daytime
- Turn on all lights
- Avoid or eliminate odors from pets or cooking
- Keep your home 100% smoke-free when your house is on the market
- Clear all stairways, hallways and foyers of clutter
- Add finishing touches like fresh flowers and candles to main rooms, including the living room, dining room and master bedroom
- Keep pets out of your house, and preferably off the property during the showing
- Ensure entrance, garage and porch areas are free of clutter
- Ensure driveways and walkways are clear of vehicles, garbage cans, snow, ice, etc.
- Cut the lawn, weed and trim the yard, groom flower beds, hedges and garden
- Clean the garage/work areas
Keep money, jewelery, small electronics, personal documents and other valuables out of sight and secure.
I will help you evaluate and negotiate Offers from potential Buyers in order to protect your legal interests, and to ensure you are optimizing the price and conditions surrounding the sale of your home.
The offer you receive will include: the legal name of the potential Buyer(s), the legal name of the Seller(s), the legal address of the property, the price the Buyer(s) is offering to pay, desired inclusions (items in or around the home that the Buyers wish to have included in the sale, such as appliances, lighting fixtures or window coverings), amount of the Buyer’s deposit, desired dates the potential Buyer would like to take legal and physical possession of the home, legal “conditions” upon which the contract becomes final (such as satisfactory home inspection report or financing approval), and the date the Offer expires. We will examine the Offer closely together.
You can respond to an Offer in one of three ways:
- Accept as is: your signature(s) finalizes the contract and it becomes a binding legal contract.
- Counter Offer: you may make changes to the Offer, such as adjustments to the price, closing date or conditions. When you do so, the prospective Buyer may accept, reject or make another counter Offer in response. Only when one of the parties signs an unconditional acceptance of the other party’s Offer does it become legally binding.
- Rejection of the Offer: you may simply reject the Offer and the sale will not go through.
Once both parties come to an agreement the Offer is considered “accepted” and they will have a set period of time in which to satisfy the legal conditions agreed to in the contract, such as completing a satisfactory home inspection or securing financing. Only after all conditions are waived do you have a legally binding document.
The closing or completion day is the day the Buyer takes legal possession of the property.
You will need to select a lawyer to help you complete the sale. If required, I can provide recommendations and provide the lawyer with a signed copy of the contract. As closing day nears, I will monitor the progress of your transaction to ensure there are no last minute issues and concerns. You will need to arrange to meet with your legal counsel before the completion date to review and sign documents. Remember to bring photo identification and a personal cheque to this meeting to pay for legal costs (Your lawyer will advise you further on this point).
On completion day, legal ownership of your property will be transferred to the Buyer. Your lawyer will receive funds for the sale from the Buyer’s lawyer and your lawyer will provide you with a statement of adjustments. This list itemizes all costs payable at completion, including legal fees, taxes and other completion costs. Finally, funds will be used to discharge your mortgage, if applicable, with any remaining proceeds transferred to you in the form of a bank draft.
Closing costs associated with selling a home include adjustments, professional fees, mortgage discharge fee, capital gains tax (if applicable) and legal fees.
On possession day, I along with your lawyer will help you coordinate the handing over of keys to the Buyer.