Preparing your condo for sale should be done іn a way which is structured and planned to maximize your return for the least cost. Here are my top 10 tips to do so, in no specific order, as some might be more or less important to your situation. For a few thousand dollars in spending you may see returns in the 5 figure range!
10 tips to prepare your condo for sale this spring
A bigger condo with a great layout is always more desirable, so creating the illusion of more space can be one of the most important things you do when listing your condo for sale. Conversely, having a space which is full of “stuff” can have the opposite effect, leaving prospective buyers moving onto better options that seem less cramped for space. A well laid out and decluttered space can make a unit feel much larger than its true square footage, but how do you go about doing this?
Pack away 30-40% of your things like boxes, knick knacks, remote controls, liquor bottles and excessive décor items / pictures. The same goes for closets and storage areas. Don’t just pack all your clutter into your closets as prospective buyers will look inside them and it doesn’t give a great impression. Organize your items into 3 separate piles: 1) Donations, 2) Storage, or 3) Landfill. The idea is to purge as much as possible (I think it’s best to aim to donate most of the items you aren’t storing as we don’t create needless garbage). Load items to be stored into your locker or rent a storage space to hold them while you’re property is listed.
A fresh coat of paint is one of the best ways to freshen up your property and gives you the biggest bang for your buck. Bold colours are usually a turn-off to prospective buyers, so to appeal to the most people go for neutrals. Lose that electric blue bedroom and neon green bathroom.
Pro Tip: Light colours will help smaller rooms look bigger. Try Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter or Balboa Mist to add a welcoming “Greige” colour.
Don’t neglect Baseboards, Doors and Ceilings – they may need a fresh coat of paint too, but go for off white for these. Lastly prior to painting, make sure to fill in holes or deep ruts with a patch or putty, then sand down till smooth before painting or priming. If you don’t have faith that you can paint the unit yourself, trust the job to a professional. The cost you incur will likely be returned to you 2-3 times at least in sale value.
New buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in your space, so lose your 8th Place Beer League trophy and your degrees from the University of Phoenix. This also goes for personal/family pictures, religious objects, and Polly the puppy’s chew toys. Potential buyers are trying to picture themselves living in your space, so make it as easy as possible for this to occur. Crazy as it sounds, but someone may in fact dislike your property because of what they think of your tastes, beliefs, or lifestyle. Take your time and look through your condo and try to eliminate anything that is overly personal or individual to you.
4) First Impressions
Just like the curb appeal of a detached home, a great first impression in a condo is crucial to capture and hold a buyer’s interest. From a large character mirror, to a beautiful piece of art, to a clear uncluttered sightline of the view, you want to focus on the best attributes of the property to get that WOW factor. It’s true that a prospective buyer will usually decide within the first 15-30 seconds or less if they have an emotional response to a space and would in fact consider buying the home, so the importance of the first impression cannot be overstated. Wow them when they walk in and continue that impression throughout the property.
In all of my listings that are vacant, I recommend to the seller that they stage the unit. Firstly, staging can create a warmth and welcoming atmosphere which simply can’t be replicated in the empty shell of a vacant unit. Some of the main benefits of staging are that it allows a buyer to see where they can potentially place their furniture, how to use a space and how much space there is once furniture is in place. Stagers also use the most modern and trendy furniture and décor items which elevate the value of your home by creating a rich luxurious atmosphere and it has been proven to net you a higher sale price and sell faster.
Work on that Honey-do list you’ve been procrastinating on for the last few years including the leaky faucet, the loose hardware on the cupboards, and the picture holes in the wall. Consider replacing that worn out carpet with a high quality laminate, hardwood or new vinyl flooring. Want a cost effective upgrade in your kitchen? Switch out those old school laminate countertops for a sweet looking quartz alternative. If you aren’t handy yourself, bring in a handyman or contractor to take care of it.
Go ahead and splurge on a professional cleaner and request the “deep clean”. These specialists will do everything you hadn’t even thought about or wouldn’t be willing to do. They’ll clean all of the interiors of your appliances, getting into all those nooks and crannies, clean out the grout and other areas of your bathroom, and finally all the neglected spaces in your bedrooms and windows. It’s really worth it if you dislike cleaning like I do!
Lighting is very important, and you would be surprised how easy it is to forget about all the bulbs that have burned out over the years. You want your home to be as bright as possible. Lighting makes an incredible difference to how a home looks to potential buyers. If you have dated light fixtures (it’s OK, a lot of us do), take a quick trip to your favourite lighting or Big Box store and pick up some modern ones. If you really want to go to the next level and your ceilings can allow it, pot lights are something that every buyer covets. Not to mention the fact that they light up a room like Clark Griswold’s rooftop at Christmas.
9) Packing Boxes
Referring back to #1 on this list requires reducing clutter, and while Costco and the LCBO might be cheap options for boxes, it sure isn’t convenient and you may end up with some oddly shaped ones. An investment under $100 will get you proper packing supplies and reduce your stress. Even better, consider Frogbox – reuseable boxes that won’t fall apart (green bonus: they’re environmentally friendly). If you’re going to be moving a lot of items out of your condo, consider renting a storage locker or look into some other convenient options.
10) Paperwork & Keys
Go ahead and cut an extra set of keys for your Real Estate agent. They will need it to leave in a lockbox or at the concierge for private showings. Buyers and agents will have many questions, so start digging out your paperwork now. Items to have ready: Utility bills, tax bills, renovation details and receipts, warranties, mortgage details, and rental contracts.
One very important document to prepare in condo sales is to order the Status Certificate. This document is the bill of health for your condo corporation and can make or break a deal during the conditional sale period.
Lastly, it is equally important to hire an experienced listing agent who will also guide you through the home preparation and staging process, so you don’t have to do it alone. Keep in mind a realtor will likely need around two weeks to schedule and prepare the marketing.
Written by Condo Pro, Marc Ronne
Drawn to architecture, design, and people, Marc found his ideal career in real estate. The skills acquired during his tenure as the owner of his own Graphic Design consulting business have made Marc extremely detail-oriented, as well as interactive and creative when it comes to serving clients. He is hard working, diligent and has an eye for detail; Marc is always on the look out for condos with that wow factor, his main goal is to exceed client’s expectations. The West End of the city is where Marc likes to spend his time, he considers Liberty Village, Queen and King West to be his favourite haunts. With a young family at home Marc isn’t out and about as much as he used to be but still makes it his business to know all the newest hot spots, whether it is a new restaurant, bar or gallery opening. He is a keen sportsman, playing golf, tennis and soccer as well as a lover of art and photography.