Things You Can Do Over Winter to Prepare for a Spring/Summer Property Sale
The summer and early fall has seen quite a brisk acreage market with a surprisingly high level of sales despite the very slow start and COVID-19 atmosphere. I feel the continuing, incredibly low interest rates (some dipping below 2%) and the desire by many families to escape to the country, given the challenges around COVID-19 in the city, has propped up the country market particularly under the $800K range. But there have been a healthy level of sales above that as well including over $1M. Let’s hope that trend continues into next year! So given a seemingly renewed interest in the acreage market you may want to consider selling next year if the idea has been on your mind lately. If you do plan to do so you may want to begin preparing now!
Winter is truly setting in with colder temperatures and short daylight so one can’t do much outside work on one’s home or property. Whether in spring or early summer there are still a wide variety of things you can do in advance. Many of these items will in your listing preparedness and take pressure off you when it comes time to actually list. It will improve your marketability by providing your agent with valuable information, as well as help speed up a potential purchasers ‘due diligence’ process because info would be readily available that buyers might request or be curious about. This is not an exhaustive list and you may not be able to do all of them but certainly do as many as feasible and achievable over the next 1 – 4 months. Many of my past clients have taken this approach with improved success.
Some Items worthy of Attention and Repairs to Consider:
The following are some of the more critical items to attend to as the list can be endless but one can’t expect an aged home to be a new home so keep the list in perspective!!
- De clutter and tidy wherever possible throughout your home. Go through your storage areas, closets and various rooms and pack up items you no longer use and commit to sell or give them away. Be ruthless in this process. If you haven’t used something for the last year or 2 you probably won’t. Work towards clean, organized and de cluttered spaces. Do this in your garage as well! The result will make you home appear larger, cleaner and more appealing!
- Paint any walls or areas that may need a ‘spruce up’, modernization or neutralizing. Move away from bright, overbearing colors. Remove any old style wall papers/borders/decorative pieces on walls.
- Replace old baseboards with more modern size/style. Paint trims, doors and mouldings if they are looking tired or worn.
- Repair or replace any worn/old faucets/toilets, sinks. Ensure showers/ tubs are stain free and all grouting is ‘in tack’ or redo. Worn grouting can make an area look problematic when all it needs is fresh, clean grouting. Repair any moldy areas.
- Replace older light fixtures with modern fixtures. Increase brightness in darker rooms, utilize lamps to create mood.
- Repair any kitchen and bathroom cabinet door hinges or surfaces that may need attention. Update to new door knobs. It is amazing how simply changing these out can add a little more modern feel to an older kitchen.
- Definitely clean your utility room, furnaces, humidifiers and water equipment, drains and floor areas. If you have water processing equipment prepare labels for them so potential viewers know right away what various tanks/devices are for. A variety of tanks can be very confusing with agents and buyers guessing what their function is. Confirm any internal cistern tank sizes.
- If your flooring is tired looking and budget allows, consider new carpeting in badly worn areas. If you do not have the budget to replace them, certainly have any carpets stretched if needed and professionally cleaned. If replacing flooring make sure you get advice from a floor specialist so you are installing more neutral and modern colouring/styles.
Assembling Important Documents and Property information:
- Summarize and average out your utility costs for 2016 including heat, power, and communications. Confirm internet provider details, costs and speeds available. Buyers almost always ask for this information once interested in a property. If you are in a problem area for cell or internet coverage research all and any options as this could be a challenge for selling if buyers feel coverage is poor. With the growing number of hub and cellular options becoming available at least be aware of the options and minimum services one can get.
- Summarize all the main features and unique characteristics of your property and home. Your agent can use these for marketing impact in brochures, online promotion etc.
- Assemble a summary of all school options for all grade levels for kids given your particular location & also confirm school bussing options. Buyers will definitely want confirmation of this as part of decision making, so make it easy for them.
- Understand any restrictive covenants or caveats if any exist on your property or community development you may be a part of and prepare a summary for review. These can affect decision making so best to make people aware of them up front. Get a current Certificate of Title and ensure there are no surprises on it including if ownership arrangements have changed.
- If you are an acreage owner definitely gather any old or recent well tests and water analysis reports. If none exist consider getting one done, especially a water analysis and bacterial test just in case there are any critical issues you can have addressed by installing a piece of processing equipment. Buyers will always have a water condition so be prepared for this. Also confirm your well pumping rate GPM. Guessing what it is from memory is not a good idea you may need a new test.
- If your water system includes an internal or external cistern confirm the tank size.
- Summarize any and all renovations, upgrades and repairs you have done over the last 5 years or so and where possible list the contractor and approximate value of the work done. Confirm the roof age and materials if possible. This is always an area of concern. Buyers love to see that a property has been kept in good repair and proof of work done. If you happen to have a wood basement ensure an engineer’s report is made available and if not have an inspection done and get a report. Check with MD Foothills in case an engineer’s report is on file when built.
- Start making a list of any outside work that should be done and set a schedule for attention as soon as the snow is done. Research contractors, pricing and scheduling available.
- Confirm if your furnace is mid or high efficiency if you don’t already know.
- Gather any information on your septic system including recent repairs and clean out receipts, tank size and style.
- Pull your existing Real Property Report and verify if it is still valid, i.e. no additions have been made since you purchased. If, however you have added space, expanded decking, added walkways, sheds or an outbuilding it will need to be updated and you will need a new Certificate of Compliance from the municipality. Call the surveying company noted on the RPR and get a quote for an update and plan to have it done when feasible. If you don’t have an RPR definitely order one in early spring. You will need it to close on a sale.
- Take time to research and interview real estate agents you may want to consider unless you already have a track record with an agent. Don’t focus on the brokerage name but mainly on the agent. There are excellent agents in all brokerages. Choose someone who knows your product and general area and who will give logical pricing advice. Don’t get caught up in the ‘international reach’ pitch, big team and brokerage prestige image some agents give these days. Most sales come from agent networking locally and with the internet we all can promote far and wide. Choose an agent primarily based on experience, honesty, work ethic and integrity.
Hopefully carrying out many of these steps will take some of the stress out of a usual stressful process and improve your marketability and help you achieve a higher dollar value sale as well! Our market is quite challenging these days so any edge you can bring to a listing will improve your chances of a sale.
Real Estate Agent