In the first two parts of my three-part series on deferred maintenance, we learned exactly what deferred maintenance is, why potential buyers don’t want to pay top dollar for homes that have it and how you can eliminate it from your home sale. In part three, we’ll discuss why deferred maintenance is so objectionable in our market in particular.

As I work primarily in home sales north of the City of Toronto, my experience and understanding of this geographic area is vast. To be frank, it’s an entirely different market and not one where home sales fly off the shelves they way they do in the downtown core of Toronto…that is if they are priced well.

When my clients list properties for sale, we need to be mindful of this. We need to be practical about the listing from the get-go so we don’t have that 20/20 vision in hindsight the way I’ve seen and experienced in our market.

In part two I discussed a home that needed some relatively minor changes that weren’t overly expensive but saw the property sit on the market for more than a year, be listed with multiple brokerages, and ultimately sold for 20 per cent less than the original list price.

Don’t let that be your home sale. Understand that our higher priced or upper-tier market is not a sellers’ market the way it is in Toronto. It’s a buyers’ market, meaning there is more inventory than buyers and as such, buyers can pick and choose from the cream of the crop, negotiate better prices, and simply walk away from homes that they see as having deferred maintenance.

With this knowledge in mind, I recommend putting the effort into your home before you’re ready to list it for sale. If you know you want to move in the next 12 months, get a realtor in to do an evaluation. Have them tell you what needs to be done to get the home to sell quickly and for the most money. Then follow that advice.

Of course we don’t always have the luxury of time, so at the very least bring in a home stager who can tell you how to set up your home to make it as appealing as possible. Remember, if buyers have money to spend on a “perfect” home, they’ll hold out for that perfect home. They fear the work and the cost of renovations. And while they may offer a lower price to do the renovations themselves I’m seeing that’s not the case in our market.

Put the work in now to reap the rewards later. Take the objections off the table so your home can be sold in a reasonable time. It’s very stressful for sellers to have their homes on the market for a long time. Try to limit the amount of time your privacy is invaded every time someone asks for an appointment to see your home.

Testimonial after testimonial from clients support this approach. Selling your home is like selling a piece of art…beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Let your home speak to the buyer that appreciates the property the way you do…don’t disappoint them when they take a good look around. Get rid of those “big ticket” objections that include:

  • Custom theme paint
  • Clouded windows, broken seals
  • Exterior paint peeling from windows and doors
  • Ceiling stains (dead give-away for a water issue)
  • Cracked walls
  • Dated kitchens and bathrooms
  • Worn floors and broadloom
  • Dated hardware on doors and cabinets
  • Interlocking that is heaved and uneven
  • Landscaping –lack of ongoing maintenance and trimming
  • Dated mechanical equipment including furnaces and air conditioning units
  • Shingles needing replacement
  • Cluttered rooms (pack up your things…you will be moving eventually so why not start organizing before the home is listed)

This is a good list to help you with your own assessment of how “ready” your home is to put on the market.

Dress your home for success and open the doors to a willing group of buyers that are anxious to find the perfect home…it could be yours!

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