If your house is looking a bit tired and dated, the quickest way to make it attractive to Buyers is to paint the principle rooms in a neutral but modern palate. A quick trip to a paint store will be invaluable. Find the cards that show the trends and use one that will complement your existing furniture and furnishings but still let the Buyers notice how updated the rooms look. If you need colour in the room, look for a big picture, pillows and some accessories.
Two trends that seem to be less popular are feature walls and painting techniques such as rag rolling and other special touches. Putting sand in the paint does not fool Buyers into thinking there are no issues with bad walls. Finding the faux suede technique fun is still no reason to inflict it on Buyers. Combing through the paint to make it look like linen or denim just means more time sanding the walls when a Buyer sees himself trying to get rid of the technique. Classy, plain painting in neutral colours – voila – the vanilla flavour of painting.
If your baseboards and window frames are in good shape, it could take as little as a half day to edge and paint a room. Remember, red is not as popular as it once was and it takes up to four coats to get the right intensity. Avoid anything requiring more than two coats. Use a tinted primer and that will speed up the process. If you have a good edging brush, try goingg without tape. If you cannot get a nice clean line, tape before you paint and it will safe you hours of touch up work.
Finally, if you accidently put paint on the ceiling, immediately remove it. I have seen too many houses with bad paint jobs and the roller marks on the ceiling is always the first sign of an amateur job.
Photo credit: Brushes at the ready @ flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4121413457/in/set-72157606825074174/
Did your teenager, the black sheep in the family, insist on black/navy blue/blood red/forest green walls in his bedroom? These walls are going to require three or more coats of primer and paint just so you or the buyer will not see the colour bleed through. Start painting those walls now.
Baa, Baa Black Sheep, have you any white?
Hintonburg and West Centre Town
(MLS® Areas 4201 – 4205)
Residential 135 Units
Detached 71 Units; Average Price Sold $299,034, Average DOM – 27
Row 33 Units; Average Price Sold $321,407, Average DOM – 24
Semi Detached 31 Units; Average Price Sold $327,364, Average DOM – 23
Condos 42 Units
Average Price Sold $274,393, Average DOM – 20
Multiple Family 14 Units
Average Price Sold $380,142, Average DOM – 43
Photo credit: Adrice Smitton
Who does not want a bargain? Also, who wants people to think that you paid too much for anything, including your house? There is going to be a fine balance between paying the “right” amount for a house and paying too much. Where is that point?
Ask your real estate agent for comparable information in the market area. Ask for information on similar style houses and those that have just recently sold. Take note of houses that were or are on the market for long periods of time. Think that one of the issues for these houses is the price.
If you develop a long list of things that you would change in the house (kitchen counters, bathrooms, flooring), do not expect the seller to agree with you that these are needed or that they influence the negotiations. Rather, if there are issues that the house inspector found that will cause major expense, you may want to either walk from the deal or re-negotiate on the basis of these issues – roof repairs that were not visible from the street, foundation issues, etc. If the problem was readily apparent to you when you first saw the house, such as a falling apart garage and fence, the Seller will expect that you to have already taken these into account with your initial offer.
When putting in your offer, don’t be so cautious with your price that the Seller will be insulted and reject the offer. Try to find a balance between what you would like to pay and what the Seller would like to get. Art and Science.
Both under and over paying may leave “egg on your face”.
Photo credit: Eggs in perspective @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/3319673607/in/set-72157606825074174/
Are you going to paint the kitchen? Most of us have been using the kitchen for cooking which means grease. Even the best fans cannot pull out 100% of the air borne grease. Before painting, clean the walls and cupboards with a solution of TSP (Trisodium phosphate). This will cut the grease before putting on a base coat and then the colour.
Try Sprucing with Paint
You, the Buyer, can rest assured that your House Inspector will look at the roof of your prospective house as a matter of course. He or she is looking for damaged or old shingles and any issues resulting from the installation of skylights, the chimney, flashing, etc. If there are age or installation problems, the most significant impact is potential water damage inside the house.
During the inspection, listen to the home inspector and make sure you ask questions about the roof.
One challenge that cannot be easily conquered is Ottawa winters and several inches of snow on the roof. Almost all inspectors will qualify their inspection by not including the roof – if it is too dangerous to go on the roof and it is impossible to do a visual inspection from the ground. Snow is snow and underneath it is often a layer of ice. Be ready not to know everything about your house if it is January and there is no way to get on the roof.
Replacing a roof is costly – quickly done by professional roofers but at a significant expense. Where possible, make sure that there is some life left on the roof.
Photo credit: V.Zinger
This is a photo of what should be done. However, there are some very poor renovations being done and then sold as upgrades in homes. The expression “Putting Lipstick on a Pig” (meaning that it is still a pig) applies in many cases.
One of the areas that should concern homeowners is where a wall has been removed. There is almost always evidence that this has happened. Look for an unusual layout of an older home – more modern than expected. Look for an arch or beam across the ceiling (which hopefully means that there is a beam holding up the next floor), look for a strip of different coloured carpeting or hardwood (used to fill in the space where the wall was), feel a bump or rise in the floor. If the removal has been professionally done, ask for the work permits and bills for the renovation. If these are not available, make sure that your house inspector takes a very long hard look at the attic / second floor/ floor / basement. Your key concern is that the structural intergrity of the house has not been compromised.
We all want open concept space or increased space in some rooms at the expense of other rooms. Be careful that the cosmetics of getting the open concept has not put the whole house at risk.
Photo Credit: Day Four, Support Walls @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/garyjwood/2555151293/
What level of gloss should your paint be? Flat paint is good for new builds with no flaws in the walls (watch out for nail pops). Eggshell or very low glass is going to be the best choice for most walls. If you are painting trim, look for a semi-gloss. It is good for wiping off fingerprints and for the contrast between the trim and the walls.
Paint the town red (after your sale).
Perhaps you have learned to do all of your food preparation on the 18″ X 18″ bit of space not covered by stuff on your kitchen counter. Living and cooking in your home is not the same as trying to sell your home. If you have a real estate person coming in to do a market evaluation, start getting your house ready, before he or she arrives. It may impact the list price. Certainly, take time, before the first Buyer walks through you house, to open up the space on the counter. Be merciless. This photo depicts how real people live. When you are selling, no Buyer cares that you are a “real person”. What the Buyer wants to see is him or herself living in the house. So….
- Remove all the appliances – the exception may be a Kitchen-aid mixer in a decorative colour.
- Your coffee pot has got to be stored and never leave home with cold coffee in the pot on the counter.
- Put your dish rack away and certainly all of the dirty dishes.
- Put your paper towels and shrink wrap and storage bags in a drawer.
- Take your bucket of utensils and your knife rack and find a place in your cupboards.
Having removed almost all “working” gear from the counter, first scrub the counter until it shines and then stage it with an odd number of decorative pieces: a colourful appliance, a vase of lemons, a small fruit bowl with fresh fruit, or three bottle of San Pellegrino water.
It is not about your clutter but how you show it off.
Photo credit: Cluttered kitchen corner @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/chasetheclouds/2832715068/
The two most important rooms to feature when selling your home are the kitchen and bathroom. Bathrooms can be the easiest and least expensive update and decluttering job.
If you want to have a visual image, think of a spa bathroom – either calming beige/browns or clean pale blue/greens with white fixtures, baseboards and trim. You want the Buyer to think of the bathroom as a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle.
In almost every bathroom (pre-sale) there are a myriad of personal things scattered around the room. Before the house goes on the market, these have to be removed and replaced with a couple of simple, non-personal decorative items. See the included picture – the focus is on the wall art – no toothbrushes or colourful toiletries to distract.
Here are a few guidelines to help you:
- Clean as though your mother-in-law will be giving you the white glove test. The bathroom is where you will want to clean to the point of sanitization – no muck, no guck. Remember to keep it clean throughout the sale.
- Get rid of toilet tank covers, toilet seat covers and floor mats. You might keep a nice clean white or neutral mat draped over the side of the tub for when you need it after a bath.
- Remove the toothbrush, paste, creams, lotions and personal potions to storage baskets or boxes. Unless these are part of a storage display, put them away.
- Clean fluffy white towels need to replace the heap of old towels that you use on a daily basis. You might want to hide the daily towels in the hamper when there is a showing.
- If you have a shower curtain, buy a crisp white fabric curtain with a plastic liner that sits inside the tub. Every Buyer checks the tub so do not hide your mess behind the curtain.
- Bring as much light into the room as possible. Keep the curtains open during showings and have the window treatment in a nice clean white fabric or shutter. New light fixtures are a wonderful economic treat.
- Don’t stink up your bathroom with room fresheners. Buyers start looking for sewer back-up or mould when they smell an overpowering floral scent. Building codes say you have to have operable fans in bathrooms. Check to make sure yours works.
- Don’t stockpile toilet paper and supplies.
Think Zen and the Art of Making Bathrooms Attractive
Photo credit: Our Bathroom @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/sparker/2304846284/