Recently, we sold our condo in Toronto as we prepare to purchase a house for our growing family. We posted the condo for sale through several online channels. Our goal was to get as many people to view our listing as possible. We prepared and staged the condo ourselves, aiming for a clean and neutral look to appeal to a wide range of buyers.

How did we do? We ended up selling the condo in less than 2 weeks for a price just below the listing price! Although selling the condo ourselves required us to do all the upfront leg work on our own, we were able to save money. This is because we did not use the full services of an agent, which is typically 2.5% of the selling price in this area. After taking into account all costs, we figured we paid ourselves about $8,000 in savings by selling it ourselves!

It can be a bit daunting to think of all the preparation work to get your condo ready to sell, but if you are budget-minded and have even a bit of DIY skill, this may be the way to go. However, if you’re the type to stare at your room for hours and can’t decide what should go where, or simply don’t have the time then you may want to consider having your home staged.

In either case, from our experience, here are some tips that can help the DIY condo seller:

1. Accept and return all phone calls from ALL real estate agents.

We received more calls from real estate agents looking to sell our condo for us than we had expected. We accepted every phone call and kindly let them know that we were selling our condo ourselves, but we’d be happy meet them if they wanted to view it. Many asked as well if we would be willing to “cooperate” with them if they did bring a buyer. We were more than happy to, and offered the standard 2.5% for a buying agent.

While it might get tiring to be hassled by real estate agents when you’re selling on your own, it’s important to remember that these agents working in your area may very well bring you a buyer.

2. Stage your condo.
The condo market is much like the dating market – first impressions are everything. Because of the nature of tech

Whether you hire professional stagers, or do it yourself, this is a crucial step in the selling process. Your condo may be in pretty good shape with all modern finishes, but there’s always some tidying up that can be done to make your condo look as clean as possible. In our case, I had the job of turning a once-upon-a-time bachelor pad into a “luxury suite” as we described in our listing. We moved out 80% of our belongings, keeping only what was necessary, such as the couch, bed, and entertainment unit. We hired painters to freshen up our walls and did some of the touch up painting on baseboards and in closets ourselves. The next step was to go to Ikea and Home Sense to pick up small decorative items such as paintings and potted plants to add some elegance to the rooms. Tada! Staging done.

3. Research and understand your market before setting your asking price.

Doing your own research on the condo market in your area will help you set the asking price. Also, when it comes time to negotiations, you’ll have a good understanding of the market and what your bottom out price is. You also want to be realistic about your selling price and expectations. No two condos are exactly alike. But to the buyer, any condo they are looking at in the area is comparable to yours. So you want to be sure that you have a good handle on your condo’s selling points and why it should sell at your listed price.

4. Be available to show your condo.

One thing that surprised us was the number of people who came to see the condo during the day. We thought that most people would be coming after work, but this was not the case. Luckily, one of us was always available to show it, given that we have more flexible work schedules than most. While this may not be the case for everybody, you will still want to be as flexible as possible with showings. You may want to state up front that you are available for showings only in the evenings and weekends, or you can set a minimum number of hours’ notice for showings. Most buyers are used to waiting 24 hours when they have to see an agent-listed place, but if you can be flexible with your time, you will be more likely appeal to the buyer.

5. Put up ads for your condo everywhere.
You want to be sure that your listing is in all the places that a buyer would look in your area. Whether you are listing with an agent or not, doing your own leg work to advertise online and your area will help maximize the exposure your condo gets. List your condo on Kijiji and Craigslist and upgrade for the additional ad services Kijiji offers to get your condo front and center. Advertise your condo through your social media accounts and e- mail your listing to your friends. After all, most people buying a condo will likely be in your demographic, and it’s likely that someone in your network may be interested in your condo. Lastly, advertise in your immediate geographic area, including your condo’s bulletin board and public areas such as grocery stores and libraries.

Taking the extra time to prep your condo before putting it on the market will save you in the long-run, both in the costs and time of selling.