When listing and selling any type of property, there are many key proactive steps that Sellers can take which can effectively maximize Buyer response and overall market value potential. Below is a general list of considerations Sellers are advised to ‘check off’ in preparation for viewings and turnover:
(1). Consult your REALTOR® for professional advice on showing marketability, viewings, and required disclosures.
(2). Keep property perpetually clean, tidy, nice aroma, and use professional cleaners (if necessary).
(3). Leave all lights on for showings (if possible) to help ‘make the property look its very best’.
(4). Conduct strategic low-cost repairs and upgrades (i.e. including paint touch-ups, baseboards, etc.)
(5). Wash all windows (inside and out) – remember: Buyers will be looking out to see the views.
(6). Tidy up all closets, fixed vanity drawers, and fixed cabinets – remember: Buyers may open these.
(7). Mow lawn, trim shrubs, pick up / haul away garbage, and tidy up the garage and exterior.
(8). Ensure all appliances (and other unattached goods) are sparkling and in proper working order.
(9). Ensure roof, structure, grading, furnace, water tank, electrical, etc. are in good working order. This includes vacuuming and cleaning functional items, replacing filters, and preparing for an inspection.
(10). Protect Buyer safety (i.e. remove all pets and sharp objects; clear or identify tripping, etc. hazards / openings; shovel walks).
(11). Obtain the following important documents as soon as possible upon listing:
- Current Real Property Report and Compliance (houses / ½ duplexes / commercial / bare land condos).
- Full set of Current Condominium Documents as per the Condo Property Schedule (if applicable).
- Current Commercial Reports and Current Water Quality / Well Flow / Driller / Septic Tests (if applicable).
(12). Contact the municipality for any permit / zoning / land use / property taxation questions.
(13). For specialty expert advice and quotations contact insurance providers; accountants; contractors; real estate lawyers; structural engineers; licensed property inspectors; mortgage professionals; etc.
(14). For personal safety: do not allow entry to any Buyers whatsoever who are not escorted by a REALTOR®.
(15). Do not allow Open Houses which unnecessarily open up a Seller’s entire property, privacy, and belongings to unqualified / nosy neighbors / criminal element of Buyers who are not escorted through the home and could be causing vandalism damage; theft; mischief; etc. without proper supervision.
(16). Do not allow entry to any REALTORS® who are not willing to open up the keybox first (i.e. electronic showing record).
(17). Take precautions by safely storing valuables and important private documents ‘out of view’.
(18). Turn off private computers, TVs, and answering machines that may come on during a viewing.
(19). Do not discuss any listing / sale details and sale prices (of which are private) with neighbors, acquaintances, etc.
(20). Make best efforts to cooperate with all Buyer REALTORS® (of which may represent a Buyer who will make a top dollar offer). This includes being away for all viewings and inspections, understanding that Buyer REALTORS® may be as much as an hour early or late from a scheduled showing time due to circumstances out of their control.
(21). Proper channels of negotiation are with REALTORS®: if a Buyer or Buyer’s REALTOR® calls direct, do not negotiate or discuss anything; STOP and call your listing REALTOR® immediately.
(22). Upon a sale, contact real estate lawyer to arrange transaction conveyance and Statement of Adjustments.
(23). Leave all attached goods (i.e. those of which are not identified and agreed with Buyer to remove) that are bolted, screwed, or nailed down to the structure (including hanging screws, nails, and bolts).
(24). Clean the property to a good standard that you would accept if you were the Buyer moving in.
(25). Keep the insurance on the property until the official turnover (including any potential delays).
(26). Notify the insurance company about any period for which the property will likely be vacant.
(27). Arrange termination of all utilities (gas, power, TV, internet, phone, alarm monitoring, etc.)
(28). Notify all service providers of address change to update records and redirect future mail.
(29). Follow all aspects of the Property Purchase Contract with the Buyer to avoid any breaches.
(30). Vacate the property by noon on Completion Day, with remaining keys left inside the home.
In summary, Buyers pay a lot of money for property in today’s market, and there is an inherent responsibility for Sellers to make ‘the extra effort’ to provide Buyers maximum reason to offer and pay top dollar. For Sellers, often the smallest things can make the biggest difference for Buyers’ comfort and security - both of which are critical to net a top sale price and a smooth turnover.
Disclaimer: for those readers not currently represented by another licensed REALTOR®, to obtain more information on this topic and / or if you are serious about selling or buying in the Greater Edmonton Area, call Kelly at 780-414-6100 (pager) or send Kelly an email to SOLD@KellyGrant.ca to schedule a confidential appointment.
[Article written and ©2016 by Kelly Grant, M.Eng., ABR, NCSO, P.Eng. - REALTOR® at Maxwell Devonshire Realty in Edmonton, AB]