I Just Want To Sell My Home!!!

So you are posted...

It's in.  The dreaded or eagerly anticipated (depending on how much you enjoyed your time in Cold Lake) POSTING Message.  It has been a tough few years in Cold Lake with our economic downturn and it is a hard Buyers Market.  Lots of inventory, new construction, and squeamish buyers are making the selling market a challenging one.  So here is some straight talk on selling your home.  I will have a new post each week so check back and see if my words of wisdom can help you get your home sold.

It Just Doesn't Make Scents...part one

One of the tools the Royal Lepage Northern Lights Realty office uses to generate interest in their listings is to conduct twice monthly REALTOR (R) tours, whereby we all load into our cars and convoy from new listing to new listing so that we can gather feedback on staging, pricing, et cetera.  The number one turn off that crops up is smell!  In today's society we see signs in hospitals and office buildings asking people to keep the perfumes to a minimum - the same goes for your house! Whether it's scented wax being melted or plug in scent warmers: GET RID OF THEM!!!!

"But Sherry?" you ask "I thought my house was supposed to smell like apple pie or fresh baked cookies?"  Absolutely!  So bake a pie.  Make some cookies, your family will be thrilled as will the agent who nibbles on them while showing your home.  However strong smelling deodorizers can aggravate allergies, people with asthma and frankly, after a long day of showing homes with different smells, give the agent and potential buyers a headache.

The long and the short of it is that your home should smell clean and fresh, so give it a thorough cleaning (easy on the Pine Sol (tm)), open a window (even a little bit in the winter) but lose the heavy scented air fresheners!

Little known real estate fact #1: we name houses by association.  Your home could be remembered as the " Holy crap perfume!" house or as the "Yummy cookie house!" , but it's your choice.

It Just Doesn't Make Scents...part two

Cats, dogs, work boots, hockey gear, last night's baked fish, the list goes on and on and on.  Oh the nasty smells that can accumulate in our homes over the years that we no longer notice out of a highly developed sense of self preservation.  Now your posting message is in and it's time to get the house SOLD!

Take a moment, go for a walk in the fresh air then walk back into your home.  What do you smell?  Take a look around the front entrance - what do you see?  Work boots?  Put them somewhere else and for heaven's sake - sprinkle them with foot powder! Is the entrance crowded with jackets, boots, shoes and backpacks?  Shoes smell and so does the lunch you packed for Johnnie that he didn't eat last week.  Get it organized and maybe use the closet by the garage for a bit.  Wander into the living room or family room, where is the dog bed or the cat tree?  Does your family space have a whiff of Eau D'autre Chein or the Perfume of Litter Box?   As your Agent I will be insistent that the Litter Box be cleaned every day.  Launder the old blanket that your dog uses for a bed while he is "guarding" the house, maybe give him a bath.  Are Janey and Johnnie on the hockey team?  Great!  But the potential buyers don't need to know that just by the smell in your garage.

Speaking of garages... it's wonderful that you aren't smoking in your house anymore, but the garage can be quite an eye opener for a non-smoker who opens that door.  You may want to give the garage a good cleaning too while you are at it.  And if you happen to smoke other recreational products please don't do that in either the house or the garage, trust me...you aren't fooling anyone with those air fresheners (see part one).

Which leaves us with my favourite room in the whole house! Its where memories are made: big family celebrations, friends over for a BBQ, holiday dinners, can't you just smell the roast turkey?  No? That's because you had cabbage rolls last night and it's lingering in the curtains and the table linens.  Curtains, carpets and quilts are the leading scent sponges in the house.  Take the curtains down and give them a wash and yes, I know it's pricey, but seriously consider having your carpets professionally cleaned prior to listing.  You would be amazed at how much better they will look and it could cause your home to sell for more money if the buyers don't think they have to immediately change the flooring.

I know that I have just told you not to use heavy scented air fresheners so you are probably wondering how you are going to mask all of these smells and still sell your house?  Well that is my whole point, don't mask these smells with other smells.  Put the kids to work, take a weekend and really clean your house from top to bottom.  Open some windows or if you are in a newer home take a look at the wall near your thermostat.  See that weirdly out of place light switch?  it's your home's air exchanger, turn it on.  A little fresh air never hurt anyone.

It's Not Easy Being Green

So the kids rushed in from school a few months ago and lectured you on the evils of your wasteful ways. Your little environmental rangers insisted on a vigorous recycling campaign that had you faithfully rinsing out bottles and cans, sorting and bundling newspapers and flyers, collapsing cardboard boxes from your latest Amazon (R) purchase, and (bless the little angels) collecting compostables in a bin under your sink. (Ahem! see my last post)

That was 6 months ago. The rinsing and sorting have gone by the wayside and it's been too cold out to run the blue bags out to the curb on collection day and the compostables have leaked through the brown bags because - well bears, right?!? Now you look out into your once spacious garage and find pizza boxes from each of 11 pizza joints in Cold Lake, blue bags everywhere and the mounting evidence that your Book Club may have a drinking problem (no judgement here! The Girl Guides in my neighbourhood are making out like bandits during bottle drives). It's time to set things right again and give your garage back to your car (and hockey bags).

When your home is being shown you want people to experience a calm and restful atmosphere, you truly are selling a lifestyle more than selling a house and if your garage is up to its armpits in hastily piled recycling and garbage it speaks volumes to potential buyers. It says: "I don't have enough time to do this task!" and then makes the buyers wonder what other maintenance on your home hasn't been done.

So pick a Saturday and put those darling little future environmentalists to work, after all this was their idea. Start the sorting and give them each a task, load up the back of the SUV and start hauling! With the money you get back on the Book Club Bottles you can treat them to pizza and begin the (re)cycle all over again.

Here is a link to the City of Cold Lake Recycle policy and the location of the blue bin drop off points in case you missed the curb side recycling pick up.