If you are trying to sell an older home -- and becoming frustrated at how long it's taking -- we have good news and bad news for you.
Bad news first: according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, home sales are in decline, and have been for several months. That means you might be struggling to capture buyers' interest, let alone get offers. This goes double for an old house that might not be in the best shape.
The good news is that there are some secret tips and tricks you can use to spruce up any home and make it more desirable to buyers! Let's take a look.
Don't Go Overboard with Improvements
Especially in a saturated market, know that overhauls and major home improvement projects aren't a wise financial choice. That said, some quick fixes are almost a sure bet.
A coat of paint -- inside and out -- is a relatively inexpensive way to boost the house's appeal. This is especially true if its current walls are faded, flaking, peeling, or painted a polarizing shade. Go for a neutral paint job to freshen things up.
Is Staging Worth It?
For the most part, experts say yes. It could be a smart investment to hire a professional stager. She will be able to assess the current state of the old home and make suggestions based on experience and know-how.
Of course, you can always advise homeowners to go the DIY route if they're really pinching pennies.
How Does the Home Smell?
Homeowners often don't notice that their home has an odor. Don't be afraid of hurting their feelings if telling them will help sell the house!
Advise them to neutralize anything off-putting. An Unhumid purifier does a great job of removing musty basement smells. And the age-old real estate agent trick of simmering cinnamon before an open house is never a bad idea.
Remove Half the Stuff
Potential buyers don't want to be distracted by clutter or highly personal decorations. A good rule of thumb? Have sellers go through each room and remove half of what's there.
The most personal items in most public rooms should be the first to go. However, closets and storage spaces shouldn't be neglected. They will look larger (read: more enticing) if homeowners significantly winnow down the stuff inside, and organize what's left.
Shed a Little Light On It
Along with a paint job, improvement to the home's lighting will work wonders. Recommend changing light bulbs to brighter wattages, opening up curtains and blinds, and giving those murky windows a wash.
If All Else Fails
This can be a hard bullet for sellers to bite, but they ought to consider shaving 15%, or even 20%, off the home's value as the asking price. Buyers will think they're getting a steal, and the bids may start rolling in.
You might even find that these bids will come in close to, if not equal to or above, what the homeowners originally hoped to get.
Old House, New House, Sell Them All
When it comes down to it, selling an old house isn't that much more difficult than selling a shiny new one -- if you know the right tricks!
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