2020 was a year where you might have put off your goal of selling your home.
Or, it might have been the year to convince you to sell your home — buyers came out in full force for a real estate market that’s still going strong. Whether you’re thinking of listing in the spring or have a longer timeline, these are the resolutions to make for a successful sale in 2021.
Take stock of your home’s condition
Whether it’s a persistent creaky stair that you’ve tuned out over the years, an ivory area rug that was once white, the popcorn ceiling that screams “1990s” or the cracks in the foundation that you’re just not sure about, there is a whole range of little and big issues that contribute to the condition of your home. A fresh set of eyes can help open yours to the things you might not think are issues (or don’t want to think of as issues). Call upon a friend to join you on a virtual walk-through room-by-room to note anything in need of a repair, a refresh, or a replacement.
To get a more accurate idea of the condition of your home — especially if you’ve spent decades in your home — consider a pre-listing inspection. It’s similar to a buyers inspection that may come up later in the home selling process but will give you an accurate inventory of potential issues you may want to address before your home goes on the market.
Check-in with your finances
Selling a home does come with associated costs. Your agent will get a commission once your home sells, but there are other expenses you’ll have to budget for, such as repairs and improvements. Then, there’s the other financial consideration: Buying your next home. Take a weekend to go through your balances and current expenses to create a budget for your sale, assess your emergency fund in case you need to opt for a rental if your home sells fast, and check on your credit score.
Take on the “worth it” home improvements
Even if budget isn’t an issue, you don’t want to end up investing more in improvements than you’ll get when your home sells. That’s not to say that your focus should be solely on projects that normally deliver a good return on investment (like redoing the kitchen and bathroom). Instead, it’s finding the balance between inexpensive projects that bring out the best in your home (repainting rooms, replacing rugs, repairing glaring issues) and improvements that could potentially add value if possible.
Address any pest issues — and prevent future ones
If you start to notice a few extra "roommates" around your house like mice it’s time to hire an exterminator. The pro should also give you an idea of possible places pests can come in — cracks, holes, and openings in the exterior or roof that you might not have noticed. These are the same spots where summer-season pests will come in, so make plans to patch those up before you notice a group of ants at your future open house.
Make plans for curb appeal
Making a resolution for making curb appeal improvements can help you get a head start when you're ready. Take photos of your home with your phone and consider the impression it makes. Does the trim need a new coat of paint? Are the gutters in good shape? Could the siding use a good power wash? Make a list, then make a tentative schedule for any professionals you’ll need to hire.
Clear the clutter
Out with the old so you can get on with the new. January often inspires a big clean-up anyway, so plan on tackling a big decluttering project when you’re already in the right frame of mind to get rid of things. A sell-your-home declutter, however, is far deeper than culling clothes and toys. The fewer items in your home, the better (and bigger) your rooms will look to potential buyers. If you’re overwhelmed just thinking about it, book a professional organizer, or binge Get Organized with The Home Edit on Netflix to help guide the decision-making process.
Search for the right real estate agent
When it comes to selling your home, you want to work with a Realtor you feel you can trust. However, the agent's experience also matters. Make your resolution to interview a few agents before committing to one. Be sure to ask if they predominantly work with buyers or sellers, their track record with sales in your local market, and their strategy for selling a home.
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Make your local bucket list
This is less about the process of selling your home and more about getting in the best frame of mind to start a new chapter in your life. If you’re planning on moving to another city, or another province, there are a lot of new things to look forward to. Yet, it is a change. Make a list of all the things you’ve been meaning to do in your current area (or have become a favourite part of your routine), then actually do them. That way, when your home has sold, you’ll be able to happily move on without regret (and with many, many happy memories).