REAL ESTATE JAN 5, 2009
10 CHEAP HOME SELLING TIPS
By: Yuki Hayashi
Getting ready to sell? Move your property fast – and for the highest selling price possible – with these easy, affordable staging tricks. These deal-sealing changes will make your home attractive to the largest pool of potential buyers, and the best part is, you can start at any stage in the game. Who knows – you may love your home’s new look so much that you decide not to list after all!
- 1 Paint!
Dollar for dollar, a fresh coat of paint gives you more bang for your decorating buck than anything else. Even if your current palette is relatively new, any scuffs or wear marks will channel an unkempt vibe. And an unusual colour choice – even if the height of fashion – may limit your home’s appeal. So break out that roller and slap on a couple coats of crowd-pleasing warm white or sand paint.
- 2 Improve the lighting
Replace any dated light fixtures ASAP. How can you tell if it has to go? If it’s over 15 years old and looks it – yet isn’t a vintage (50-75 years old) or antique piece (older) – it should probably go. “Retro” is not something most homebuyers are looking for. You don’t need to break the bank, just head to IKEA or Canadian Tire.
- 3 De-clutter
Take the collectibles off the mantel, put the mismatched armchair into storage (or better yet, donate it) and pare your closets down to what you’re actually wearing this season, packing away the rest. Ideally, all this extra stuff would head to charity (if in good, saleable condition), the garbage dump, or into storage. The more you store onsite, the more cluttered and small your home appears.
- 4 Give dated bathrooms a facelift
A nice bath helps sell a house but, don’t invest in a total renovation. Renos are costly, and you won’t recoup your costs unless you find your exact décor doppelganger. Bring an out-of-date bath up to speed with gleaming white walls whether via a fresh coat of white bath and kitchen paint or ceramic tile and new lighting (Home Depot excels at affordable, stylish bathroom vanity lighting). Buy neutral new shower curtains, a simple new bath mat and vanity set, and have fresh flowers in the room during open houses.
- 5 Take down curtains
Dated window treatments need to come down, pronto (if it’s over 10 years old, get rid of it). If privacy isn’t an issue, just leave the windows bare to maximize natural light and make the room’s dimensions seem more generous. Otherwise, buy basic-issue cotton or linen drapes from Linens ‘N Things or another well-priced retailer. Always tie drapes back during viewings and open houses.
- 6 Put up mirrors
Make small rooms appear bigger and dark rooms seem brighter by adding an attractive wall mirror. A boxlike dining room will benefit from a leaning floor mirror (Lowes sells well priced ones, and HomeSense often has great deals) and an entranceway more welcoming with a console mirror.
- 7 Update porch hardware
Increase your home’s curb appeal by updating the hardware on your front porch. Buy a doorknocker or bell, mailbox, kick plate, doorknob and lockset in a set or in complementary styles. Brushed nickel is a neutral finish that will never date, while oil-rubbed bronze is another favourite.
- 8 And the porch light
Update your porch light to coordinate with the new hardware, if needed. They don’t have to be an exact match or even come from the same period, but the finishes and styles should look pleasing together.
- 9 Spiff up the front yard
Refresh your front yard according to the season. In spring, summer and fall, trim back dead plants and foliage and plant attractive annuals or perennials in flowerbeds. In winter, keep the walkway shoveled and cut back any tree or shrub branches damaged by heavy snowfall. A pair of planters flanking the front door and filled with seasonal arrangements instantly conveys pride of ownership.
- 10 Tend the backyard
Simple fix-its will make the most of your existing yard layout. Replace any damaged boards on your deck or fence, and apply a fresh coat of paint, or stain and sealant if the finish needs it. Weed and groom your garden and add some perennials for colour when in-season. If kids’ toys are taking over the space, put some in storage. Think “tidy,” “update” and “refresh”: never do anything costly or major like adding a swimming pool or pond, which may put off potential buyers.