By Jeff Bonner, special to the News
The spring real estate market is gearing up and you may be thinking about selling your house. As with any sale, the presentation is almost as important as the product, so it would be well worth your time to do a little preparation work around the home before you put it up for sale.
To get an idea of what you need to do, there are a few options. Most real estate agents are happy to give you a free basic consultation — they’ve seen everything good and bad and can give you a lot of simple tips.
Or you could hire a professional home stager, who is essentially an interior designer with training specifically aimed at marketing a home for sale.
Or you can watch a few shows on HGTV, do some reading and try it on your own.
If you are going to give it a shot yourself, I would suggest starting with minor repairs, like tightening loose doorknobs and replacing broken cabinet hardware, and then look at what I call the four Cs of home preparation.
The first C is Clean. This may seem like an obvious no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often this is the distinguishing factor between one house and the next. Clean everything, including windows, and then do everything you can to keep it that way on a continuous basis.
The second C, related to the first, would be Clutter-free. You’re planning to move anyways, so get started on packing. Make space in closets and cupboards to highlight the storage — full spaces look cramped and smaller than they may be. Take a look at your furniture and remove any unnecessary pieces that may be creating choke points, especially in high traffic areas.
Open is the operating word.
The next C is Colour-neutral. If you’re up to doing some painting, choose neutral colours like light beige. Some people may love a red accent wall, but not everyone will, and the idea is to appeal to the widest audience possible. The most important places to start paint touch-ups — as with most renovations — are the kitchen, bathroom and front entranceway.
The final C is Curb Appeal. It doesn’t matter how great your house is inside if people don’t see it. I had a listing where the seller did all of the interior preparation, but insisted on leaving the beaten-up garage door as it was. Open house visitors were regularly making remarks like, “Wow, this is much better than I expected,” and at least one admitted to me that it was because of the garage door. Take a good look at the outside of the house and ask yourself if there is anything that might put you off of viewing it if you were a buyer driving by.
In the winter, this could be as simple as keeping the walkways clear of snow. During the rest of the year, some examples might be keeping the lawn cut, making sure you don’t have young trees peeking up out of your eaves-troughs and looking for trim and other spots that could use repainting.
In the end, you need to try to look at the house objectively, as if you were going to buy it and consider whether something would give you a negative impression or not.
Jeff Bonner is a Mountain resident and real estate sales representative with Jag Realty Inc., Brokerage. The Mountain News is all about the people who live on the Mountain. If you would like to write in this space, call editor Gord Bowes at 905-664-8800 ext. 335 to discuss your idea.