Real Estate

Chaulk Talk – Wayne Chaulk – June 2019

15 Low Cost Tips To Improve Your Property For Sale

When preparing to sell your home, the goal is to sell it as quickly and at the highest price possible within the current market conditions, while investing as little as possible in renovations and updates. You don’t need a $150K+ renovation to sell as likely you won’t necessarily get the value back anyway unless, for example, if you own an older home that requires significant work such as required electrical and mechanical systems updates.

Below are some of the lesser expensive ways to improve your look and presentation applicable to city & small town homes and country acreages alike. Even if you are not selling in the very near future, doing many of these things will help you enjoy your home and property more and also help you be more prepared for a possible future sale!

  1. Refresh the Exterior: Many buyers will not venture out of their car if they do not find the exterior of a home appealing. Painting trim, pressure washing vinyl siding and windows, painting worn steps or decking and replacing damaged eavestroughs are some ways to simply improve the exterior look. Also, repair exterior siding if needed and paint any outbuildings to tie them to the home and reflect overall property care.
  2. Tidy up Lawns, Fields and Landscaping: Home buyers associate the condition of your property, lawn and landscaping with the interior of your home! Keep the lawn mowed and edges tidy. Prune trees that are out of hand and blocking light to the home or taking over an entry area. Remove any dead trees or shrubs. Weed around trees and flower beds and clear walkways. Repair and stain or paint fences. There is a lot more focus these days on the outside spaces so ensure the decks & patio areas are tidy and spruce them up with some new colorful outside furnishings. For acreages, keep your pastures and fields tidy and if you have horses periodically remove or harrow manure. Repair and paint fences. Avoid stockpiles of dirt and debris as they become a visual distraction to your property and maybe an eyesore to your neighbours! Get rid of old vehicles or parts you do not use or place behind vegetation. Buyers often avoid properties with excessive “stuff” on them.
  3. Create an Inviting Entrance: A fresh coat of paint on the door or perhaps the installation of a new modern, attractive door system, a new welcome mat and a colourful planter will make the entrance much more inviting.
  4. Reduce Clutter and Furniture: A buyer cannot envision living in your home if they cannot see the house properly. Remove clutter, clean countertops, put away magazines, books and laundry, remove family/personal pictures on walls, and reduce excess furnishings in rooms that are over furnished and blocking window spaces. Buyers should be able to easily walk up to windows and look out! Give away things you do not intend to use anymore. If you haven’t used something in a year or two, you will likely never use it.
  5. Clean, Clean, Clean: The cleanliness of your home also influences a buyer’s perception of its condition. In particular, bathrooms and kitchens must be spotless. Don’t forget to tidy the garage. Men in particular want to envision themselves puttering there or parking their treasured autos in an adequate space.
  6. Make Minor Repairs: The small stuff does count! Without dismissing the importance of major repairs, focus on the small things: repairing faucets, drawers, installing newer cabinet handles, painting interior trim, ceilings and walls, replacing old light fixtures with brighter, modern LEDs, etc.
  7. Showcase the Kitchen: The heart of the home is the kitchen. If you are going to spend any money on renovations, this area will be one of your greatest returns. Kitchen renovations typically have around a 60 to 70% value return on investment. Some simple tips without a major investment, however, would be to update the lighting, modernize light fixtures and change hardware. Replacing counter tops and/or possibly a new sink will add a refreshing look to your kitchen. Repair and repaint cupboard doors. There are companies that will remove doors and shop paint them and re-install. Consider new flooring if badly worn. And if the appliances are old, some newer stainless steel ones give a kitchen a modern touch.
  8. Stage Furniture: Furniture placement is key to enhancing a space. Create cozy corners and turn an empty space into a reading area or a computer work-station. Move out some furniture if a room is crowded. “Stage” your home or get a stager to advise on layout if you don’t have a flair for that. It has been shown statistically that staged homes sell faster.
  9. Light up the House: A bright house could be the “right” house! Open all window coverings when showing a property. Increase light bulb wattage for brightness, add lamps in areas that are dark. From experience this is a very important tip to implement as buyers are highly affected by darker versus bright homes.
  10. Freshen up the Garage or Workshop:Make sure there is room for a vehicle! Use shelving or wall units to store items. Create a sense of space. Replace garage doors if old and sagging or quite an old style. Ensure openers are working properly.
  11. Add Natural Touches: By displaying flowers, candles and fresh fruit you add colour and style.
  12. De-personalize: When listing your home remove family photos and other personal items that potential buyers can’t identify with. It keeps them focused on the house and not the contents.
  13. Pets: Pets need to be kept under control or confined to a specific area. Pet odours need to be eliminated and soiled areas cleaned. Not all buyers are animal lovers.
  14. Backyard: If you’re selling in the city or a town, buyers doing a drive by will try and look into your backyard. Include it in your curb appeal efforts. Get rid of any junk stored there and treat it like the front of your home.
  15. Evening Curb Appeal: Buyers will quite often take a drive in the evening. Lighting is once again the key here. Porch lighting and exterior feature lighting enhance the property’s appearance. Maybe add some garden lighting. But make sure your lighting points downward and is not too bright, particularly on acreages, so as not to interfere with night sky viewing.

For example, the MD Foothills now has a night sky bylaw which you can review to ascertain recommended and acceptable outside lighting.

There are plenty of ways to update and renovate your property without breaking the bank. The trick is to select a few key areas you can afford and implement and be creative.

Wayne Chaulk
Real Estate Agent

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