Why winter is a good time to start preparing for a spring sale

Real Estate Sales Representative with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Group, Brokerage

As Ottawa-area residents dig out from the record-breaking snowfall we received recently, it can feel as if spring and summer are a long way off.

If you’ve been considering putting your home or condo on the market during the busy spring-summer buying season, you might think you don’t need to make a phone call until winter ends and you see crocuses starting to bloom.

But as I regularly remind clients, if you are thinking of putting your home on the market and you want the process to be as low-stress as possible, it’s a good idea to have your initial consultations with a realtor several weeks in advance, so that we can get the process started.

First-time home sellers often think that all it takes is a meeting to sign some papers and we can then list your home for sale within a few days.

But even with homes that are relatively new and in good condition, there are many steps involved in preparing a home for sale. It’s not unusual for it to take several weeks or more after our first meeting before we’re ready to open your door for showings.

When you first contact me for a consultation, we’ll walk through your home together, inside and out, and I’ll make a list of some of the things that I feel need attention in order for your home to wow buyers and compete with similar homes on the market.

The amount of work that needs to be done will vary depending on the age and size of your home and its condition inside and out. The list of tasks always includes a thorough cleaning from top to bottom and an extensive de-cluttering to make the home feel as open, spacious and airy as possible. We all accumulate possessions over the years and sometimes don’t notice the knick-knacks, magazines, souvenirs and other items that can make rooms feel smaller than they are. These items can be boxed and stored away neatly while your home is on the market.

If you feel you need help with this task, my professional home stager and I can roll up our sleeves and give you some assistance.

We might suggest some relatively easy fixes, such as replacing dated kitchen cabinet knobs, older lighting fixtures or faucets or painting your front door or garage door with a new colour.

If you have rooms that are painted in very dark or bold colours, we might suggest that you paint the rooms in fresh, neutral shades that will make it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves in your home.

If you don’t feel you have the skill or time to do painting yourself, my stager and I have a list of professionals we can recommend. A fresh coat of paint in a few rooms is not expensive and can make a huge difference in how your home shows for buyers.

We might suggest some potted flowers or hanging baskets or a new door mat to liven up your front entrance.

Once we all feel the home is ready to list, I will arrange for a professional photographer who is experienced in real estate photography to take just the right photos to show your home at its best. We use the photos in brochures and we post them to multiple websites. Because so many homebuyers now look at websites to decide which properties they want to visit and which homes do not appeal to them, this step is crucial to get people in your door.

That’s why I put so much attention and time into getting the home ready and in pristine condition. As a realtor with 30 years of experience in the area, I know what’s out there and what your home will be competing with.

I’m proud of the work my stager and photogapher do for my clients. Clients often tell me when they see the photos that they never dreamed their home could look so good. It’s what my stager and I love to hear.

If you’d like to get an idea of what your home can look like when we list it for sale, you can have a look at my website, www.nancybenson.com and click on the “listings” tab. You’ll see photos there of my current properties, and it will give you an idea of the look we achieve with all of our properties.

So if you get in touch well before you hope to list the home, this will give you more time to tackle the preparation work in a more relaxed fashion, rather than having to rush against a tight deadline that leaves you feeling stressed and pressured.

One of my goals as a realtor is to make the buying and selling process as stress-free as possible for all my clients. Getting in touch early can help make that process easier for everyone involved.

If you’d like to set up a consultation and get some feedback about your home and about the current Ottawa market, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me through my website, at www.nancybenson.com, or give me a call at 613-747-4747.


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