Its time to sell your condo, whether you're moving up, moving down or just plain old moving out and you want to do everything possible to maximize your sale price. Not only that, but you don't want your condo sitting on the market for weeks if not months you want it sold as soon as possible (not that this is an issue in Today's market in Toronto).
The last condo I listed prior to writing this article sold in 3 days from when we listed it! My client followed my advice and she was ecstatic with the results, she received 110% of her asking price and the closing date she wanted with multiple offers.
You've gone and found a Realtor you like, you sign the listing agreement and now your condo is going on the market in a week or two. The Realtor you've chosen should have an appropriate marketing plan for you depending on the size and price of the suite as well as the area in which its located and the target buyer. They will (should) arrange to have professional photographs and video walkthough taken of your building, suite, amenities and area (usually at their cost), some will provide you with a staging consultant with a qualified stager and possibly have floor plans of your suite drawn up if you don't have a set to provide. Now what, do you just sit back and wait or do you help prepare?
In order to properly prepare your condo for sale you "should" be spending between 1-3% of the asking price in order to show the space in the best possible light. You want to maximize your potential selling price by having people to walk in and immediately envision themselves living there! That means painting the walls, possibly changing any carpets to laminate or hardwood or at the very least having all carpets steam cleaned. When the painting and staging are done you need to have the condo professionally cleaned from top to bottom. I would highly recommend you actually hire the stager to properly stage your space including everything from nick knacks to artwork, sofas, tables, etc. A good stager will be able to store any furniture you may have that doesn't really work in your space. Often they will use some of your existing furniture (assuming you have some) and supplement with rental furniture if need be.
Before the stager is scheduled to stage the property you should do everything you can to prepare the suite. What that means is to remove any "junk", take out anything you think is extraneous, this can include extra shoes, winter clothes in the summer or summer clothes in the winter (etc), remove any bottles of alcohol sitting out and clean out your closets! Cleaning out the closets is a much bigger deal than most people realize, it entails making sure the entire floor of the closet is empty and free of clutter, and paring down your wardrobe to take up no more than 25% of the space in any closet. The top shelf in the closet should also be clear for people to really see how much storage you have! The front hall closet should contain only jackets and a few pairs of shoes, no more. You should also remove any personal photos, diplomas, religious artifacts, etc. Once you feel your condo has been adequately cleaned out its time to bring in the stager...
During the consultation the stager will note your existing furniture, tell you what works and what doesn't, tell you what nick knacks you need to remove (though you got them all did you), which pictures/paintings to keep on the walls and which to remove. I highly recommend you listen to everything the stager has to say. Often the consultation is paid for by the Realtor and you will choose whether to hire the stager's services or not. Most stagers will be able to offer different levels of service at different price points depending on how far you want to go.
Now you've painted, cleaned and staged your condo, time for the pictures! Research has shown a direct correlation between the number of pictures on a listing and the time it takes to sell, the more pictures the better off you are! A professional photographer is 100% necessary here, your point and shoot camera won't cut it neither will the camera on your cell phone! I normally recommend having the photographer come just as the stager is finishing setting up the condo. Now this is up to you (or your Realtor), but I find giving the pictures a little personality is best, that means setting the table with place settings, maybe an orchid or flower arrangement, if you have a fantastic balcony or terrace show it off! Set up a nice chair, maybe a glass of wine on the side table, a novel sitting out and a pair of reading glasses on top. Capture the essence of the condo in the best light possible, show it off!
That's all for today, please ask any questions you may and if you want to discuss the sale of your own condo feel free to give me a call anytime!