Do your sellers need to freshen up for spring?

by Vanessa Roman11 May 2015
There is nothing like a series of endless snow storms, freezing rain and Arctic-like temperatures to really motivate sellers to list their houses for sale – in real estate fantasy land.
The reality is markets heat up as the temperature rises and the proverbial “spring market” is really hitting its stride now with a flood of new listings on MLS and agents clamoring to book showings.
While this spike in activity should have the real estate industry doing a happy dance, it is missing the beat with some homeowners who have forgotten the important steps needed to adequately prepare their homes for sale. So, here is a basic refresher course for all your wallflower homeowners out there who want to be the belles of the balls by winning over the hearts, minds and offers of prospective buyers this year.
1 – Break up with your home
Explain to your clients that they have made the decision to move – so they should embrace it! Encourage them to leave all their emotional baggage and attachments to their home at the front door while viewing every room in the house with a critical eye. Be dispassionate and analytical about the flaws in each space, then create an action plan to help your clients systematically transform the home into the most desirable one on the market. The faster your clients break up with their home, the sooner another buyer will be able to call it their home.
2 – Don't assume a buyer sees the potential
Life is like a box of chocolates and buyers are no different; you never know what you are going to get. Some buyers have beautiful imaginations and can see past the flaws in any property to reveal the sparkling diamonds in the rough. Other buyers lack those visualization skills or have little experience with home renovations so when touring properties that need some cosmetic upgrades, they can feel overwhelmed with the potential cost and hassle of having to get the work done themselves.
If your client’s home needs improvements, do them – and their buyer – a favour by having them taken care of by a certified professional before listing the property for sale. It is a far safer selling strategy to present a finished product than to risk having your buyer offer on another home because they couldn’t see what a gem your client’s home could become.
3 – Know your competition
Doing market research is important. You should always show your clients comparable properties that have recently sold in the neighbourhood and houses that are currently listed for sale. Compare the features such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, upgrades and overall condition of each listing to your own home. Consider what they're offering, look for their mistakes, and correct the similar mistakes your clients have in their own house. This can be a tough reality sometimes, but taking the time to do it now helps to improve buyer first impressions later on.
4 – Win the heart, mind and pocketbook
Buyers assess a home on many different levels and, as a selling agent, you need to appeal to every one of them. Consider both the little touches that make a property a home and the practicalities that also give it good value. What sets your home above the competition? Is it the functional layout and immaculate condition, or the high energy efficiency and quality construction materials? Is it the desirable location? You won’t know the answers to any of these questions without first doing your market research. Knowing what your competition is offering helps you effectively appeal to the emotional and sensible sides of a buyer.
The reality is that your choices affect the perceptions of your property by others; a simple misstep or two can cause a qualified buyer to dance right out the front door. But with the right moves, you increase your chance for success which is music to any seller’s ears. 

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