Do you still have Christmas decorations such as Santas and creches in your yard and in the house? Is it between February and November? Even if you are proud of your seasonal collections, buyers may not see it the same way. In fact, to most buyers it will look like clutter and laziness. Pack your decorations as soon as the season is over.
Oh what fun it is to – have a sale.
While this house is in San Francisco, it has cousins residing in Ottawa. By this I mean, houses that have doorways that lead nowhere. It would be dangerous to step out of this door as it would be a step to the outside with nothing to step onto.
I was recently showing a home that had a doorway built on the second floor with the builder’s intention of one day putting on a deck / patio outside. However, as the years passed, the owners never got to the work. As a result, when the house went on the market, there was a door to nowhere.
What should the owners have done? The least expensive fix out be to take out the door and put in a large window. Maybe have a window with a Juliet balcony, much like you see in Paris. The windows open but there is nowhere on the balcony to step – just decorative balcony railings around the base of the window.
In any case, Buyers all wondered why there was a door and no where to go. For likely less than $2,000, this problem would be solved and the house more saleable - One renovation worth the price.
Photo credit: Door to nowhere @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkingsf/3666711793/
What is good taste when preparing your home for showing? Many sellers have an attitude of “ My house, my taste”. When it comes to selling, try to remove yourself from the house and set it up so that anyone can imagine living in your home. Pictures of Elvis on velvet and dogs playing cards are best packed away for your next home.
When it comes to taste, taupe is not just a five letter word.
I will start by saying that Corian has never been one of my favourite counter tops. When it first came out, it was a beige-yellow with oak trim for edges. After a few weeks, it looked stained and had nicks in the top. I know you can sand them down but who really takes a sander to their counter tops?
I recently volunteered for the Hospice at May Court Tour of Homes. I was assigned to the kitchen of a home with a renovation that took place in 2005. I had three hours to watch people (and there were hundreds) walk through the kitchen. Almost everyone had to touch the Corian counter top. It was amazing. The counters were beautiful. Well, the whole kitchen was great (thanks to Laurysen Kitchens ) but the counter tops caught every one’s eye. I have had to change my mind about Corian.
Corian costs about the same as granite. The biggest pro is you know exactly what you are getting. Because it is man made, it is consistent (no veins or blotches). The biggest con (for me) is the heat sensitivity. As with laminate, you need to protect the surface from heat. If you interested in a bit more information, the Kitchen Blog has a review.
As I said “Corian – who knew?”
The picture is one that was available on Flickr and shows 2 different colours of Corian. It is not from the May Court Tour home.
Photo credit: Our New Kitchen @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/fishpick/2346713185/in/photostream/
Buyers are always looking for clues about the condition of the house that they are being shown. When looking in the bathroom, the Buyers are first looking for the basics to be in place – good plumbing fixtures, no mould, taps that do not leak and toilets that flush. If the basics are place, the Buyers will also evaluate the condition of the cabinets, colour, tiles, flooring, lighting, storage and room design.
One thing that a Buyer will always notice and comment upon is a toilet plunger left in a very conspicuous place. Why, when some homes use a plunger once every several years, does a house have to have a plunger placed right beside the toilet? The Buyer will assume that there is a plumbing problem – and everyone knows how much a call to the plumber costs.
Whatever a Seller does, it is imperative not to have a plunger in full and open view.
A plunger is one way to flush away a deal.
Photo credit: Toilet Plunger @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/tweek/524466338/
If you are putting up wallpaper or are trying to take it down, you will know the value of sizing the wall, sealing any new drywall and buying good quality paper. In all cases, it is easier to put up, maintain and take down.
Don’t just paper over the cracks.
All neighbourhoods in Ottawa can be locations for Grow Ops and drug distribution. To maintain the value of your current home (for now and future sale) and to make your area safe, it is important to know some of the signs and to phone the authorities if you have concerns. Closing your eyes to these problems will not make them go away – in fact, you are assisting the perpetrators.
What should you notice?
For drug distribution - look for a number of cars arriving at the house, staying for short periods of time, and then leaving. Maybe there is a lot of foot traffic going in and out of the house. Look for people who park a block away and walk to the house. Everyone has visitors but is there an unusually high number and people who do not look like they are just dropping in for coffee. Is the house being left to fall apart while other business is being transacted? Listen to your intuition. Is something just not right? Call the police to voice your concerns. In a case near me, the police indicated that they had no records of people calling so they were not actively watching the house. Call.
For a Grow Op – (see Ottawa Police site ) because the humidity is going to be high (and destroy the house in the process), it is unlikely anyone is living in the house. There will be ‘visitors’ to tend to the crop and they may be arriving and leaving at odd times. In a Grow Op situation it is more what is not happening versus what you can see. The drapes or window treatments will be closed tightly. There is likely to be condensation on the windows (from the heat and humidity). Windows will never be opened. Lights and music/TV will be left on 24/7 to give the feeling of someone being home. There may be a fan running to vent the inside of the house. Remember, a Grow Op does not have to be in a detached home. It may be in an apartment block, duplex, row or semi-detached. Your best move is to contact the city police.
The City of Kansas has a wonderful brochure and reporting sheet available for use.
If you have information about a marijuana grow house, the Ottawa police would like you to contact them:
- phone 613-236-1222, ext. 7300; or
- contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 613-233-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-222-8477.
Photo credit: Neighborhood Watch @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/40819389@N04/3757326409/
If you have to put a house on the market because of a serious illness or death of the owner, it would be advisable to treat the house as an investment to preserve and to maintain value. In the past month I have seen two examples – one good and one not-so-good – about how to keep the value.
In the first house, the executrix had staged the house with a few pieces of furniture and a few things in the cupboards. She had left a vacuum and mop so that she could visit the house and keep it clean during the selling period. Everything was spotless. The staging was just a few bits here and there but showed the function of the rooms. The dining room table had been set and looked inviting, the master bedroom was cleaned but furniture left in it and the bathrooms had clean towels, soap and toilet paper. This house sold in less than a week.
In the second house, old furniture, dust bunnies and dirt predominated the house. The washroom was dirty and old cosmetics and medicines were left on the counter. In the kitchen, each cupboard had a layer of grime that would have required considerable elbow grease to remove – if someone wanted to keep the cupboards. At this house, Buyers or Agents did not remove their shoes because the house was so dirty. It was clear no one was living in the house but also that no one had cleaned it before putting it on the market. While in a good location, the house did not sell for several weeks.
If you are managing an estate, try to get the family’s agreement to clean and fix the house before it goes on the market. It will be worth every penny.
Photo credit: My Old Medicine bottle / jar collection on Flickr @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/aussiegall/309391023/
Always put away your dish drying rack before leaving for work or showing your home. This is especially true if you have a dishwasher. A drying rack takes up valuable counter space that can best be shown off when there is nothing on it. It may make the Buyer think the dishwasher is broken.
Rack up the value of your house.