There’s a lot of competition in the housing market these days.
When you put your home up for sale, you’re bound to be up
against several other similar listings. That’s why it is important
to make sure your property is in a good state of repair so that
it makes a good impression on potential buyers.
Here are some things that may need your attention or the help
of a reputable contractor:
1. Doorways. Inspect all your entry systems closely. Look for
sagging screens, cracked glass, squeaks, and aging or
broken aluminum parts. Consider giving your doors a fresh
coat of paint.
2. Roof. Check for missing shingles and have replacements
installed where necessary. Also inspect the gutters.
Remove any leaves and other debris that may have
3. Walls. Look for nail pops, holes and dents. Patch and paint
4. Toilets. Make sure all toilets are still secured firmly to the
floor and don’t rock when you sit on them. Anchoring nuts
tend to corrode over the years. Replace where necessary.
5. Faucets. Inspect all faucets, including those in the laundry
room and other areas. Do you have one that drips? If so,
repair or replace it.
6. Cabinets. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets get scratched
and worn in spots over the years. There are many great
scratch repair products on the market that can make
cabinetry look almost new.
7. Decks and gates. Any loose boards? Rickety stairs?
Sagging gates that you have to lift in order for the latch to
close? Buyers will notice. Get them fixed.
The good news about these types of repairs is that they are
relatively inexpensive, yet make your home show
Shopping for a home is a little like shopping for a car.
Unless you know what to look for, you risk being swayed by
first impressions and buying something that does not truly
meet your needs.
For example, you might fall in love with the basement
recreation room — complete with a bar and a dartboard —
and unconsciously overlook the fact that the home doesn’t
have enough bedrooms to accommodate your growing family.
So when you’re viewing a potential new home, or checking out
a property during a weekend “open house”, what should you
Here are some suggestions:
• Is there enough room for your family, now and in the future?
Remember, as kids grow so does the space they require!
• Are there enough bedrooms, bathrooms, closets and
• Is the yard big enough?
• Will your furniture fit the space?
• Do you like the neighborhood? Always take a walk around
and explore the area.
• Does anything need to be repaired or replaced? If the
seller won’t be taking care of such issues, repairs or
replacements could add hundreds or even thousands of
dollars to the true cost of buying the property.
• Will you be as happy there in the winter as you will in the
summer and visa versa? Imagine the home in all four
seasons, good weather and bad.
Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions when viewing a home.
After all, it’s a major purchase. You want to get it right!
You see a home on the market that you like. Should you buy it?
Before you make an offer, it’s a good idea to get a sense of the
property’s long-term potential. After all, a property is not just a
potential home, it’s also an important investment.
Here are some things to look for when viewing homes on the
• Is the area’s average income increasing? The more affluent a
neighborhood becomes, the higher the property values.
• Are employment opportunities growing nearby? If jobs are
leaving the area, housing prices will likely decline.
• Are there any nearby housing or community developments
that will enhance the quality of life in the area? If a park with
a quiet walking trail, or a prestigious golf course, is being
built nearby, the value of the neighbourhood will increase.
• Is the crime rate on the rise or decline? This can have a
significant impact on future property values.
• Are there public transit lines located nearby? Studies show
that housing prices increase in areas where public transit is
close and convenient.
• Is the property located in a neighborhood dominated by
higher priced homes?
• Does the property have features that will always be valued
by home buyers, such as a large kitchen, spacious backyard,
and professionally finished basement?
• Are there short-term negatives about the area that will
eventually disappear, such as loud construction projects?
Once those negatives are gone, house prices will often jump.
You’re probably familiar with the term “home staging”. It
involves cleaning, de-cluttering, reorganizing, and decorating
specifically in order to make your home more attractive to
potential buyers. Furniture stores do something similar when
they “stage” a bedroom suite in a showroom.
Most sellers focus their staging efforts on the inside of their
homes. But the outside is important too. After all, a property’s
exterior is the first thing potential buyers see. So you want to
make sure that the first impression is a good one.
Here are some ideas on how to make sure that happens.
When preparing your home for sale, imagine you’re a potential
buyer and take a walk around the outside of your property. Do
you like what you see? Are there issues that concern you? Try to
be as objective as possible.
You may notice, for example, that the deck is faded and worn,
some of the border stones around the flower bed are chipped or
missing, or the fence gate squeaks.
If you notice these things, so will potential buyers. So consider
getting these minor problems repaired.
As you inspect your yard, pay particular attention to sheds and
other areas around your property where rakes, shovels,
garbage bins, bikes, toys and other items tend to accumulate.
Just as you would unclutter the inside of your home before a
showing, so too you should make sure the exterior areas of
your property are as uncluttered as possible.
Then explore simple ways you can make the exterior of your
property look even more attractive. For example, giving your
hedges, shrubs and other evergreen plants a trimming, can
dramatically improve the look of your yard. Planting flowers or
placing flower pots at key locations, such as near the front
entrance can also have a big impact.
When you’re showing your home to a potential buyer, you
obviously want to make the best impression possible. You don’t
want to make a mistake, and miss out on an opportunity to sell.
So here are some of the most common home viewing blunders
and how to avoid them:
1. Being inflexible with scheduling
Don’t be too strict about when you’re willing to schedule a
viewing. After all, if a buyer is unable to see your home in the
times you’ve allotted, they’re not going to buy. Be as
accommodating as possible. Sure, it can be inconvenient to okay
a viewing on an hour’s notice, but if that buyer ultimately
purchases your home, it’s worth it.
It’s natural to want to guide buyers through your home and give
them the tour. Regardless of your good intentions, however, this
can make a buyer feel uncomfortable and even intimidated.
Be available to answer questions, but let buyers explore your
home at their own pace and on their own.
3. Not preparing your home
You don’t necessarily have to make your home “guest ready”,
especially if the viewing is on short notice. But you should make
your home as clean and tidy as possible.
To set the right atmosphere, ensure that all rooms are well lit,
especially the basement. Turn off any televisions and put on soft
4. Rushing buyers
Don’t. Even if a buyer goes a little overtime, be patient. If a buyer
spends extra time in your home during a viewing, it may be
because he or she is seriously interested in making an offer!
When shopping for a new home, one of the most important
considerations – yet one most people don’t pay enough
attention to – is the lot type. Selecting the right one can
significantly increase your enjoyment of the home. Picking the
wrong one can have the opposite effect.
There are three special types of lots that homeowners tend to
find most desirable. Yet, even though they are considered
desirable, each has its pros and cons.
Here’s the rundown on each one:
1. Cul de sacs
These are lots located on dead end streets that often feature
homes positioned around a large circle of roadway.
For obvious reasons, a cul de sac is a popular choice for buyers
with children. There’s less traffic and, often, the only cars on the
street are those of neighbors.
However, homes on these lots often come with a higher price tag
than other comparable properties in the area. But, from a lifestyle
standpoint, that extra price may be more than worth it.
Who doesn’t want a home on a quiet street? The benefits
However, don’t dismiss properties located on or near a busy street.
They often sell for less and the noise from traffic might not be as
bothersome as you might expect. In fact, some neighborhoods in
these areas feature special soundproof fencing.
If the home is otherwise ideal, schedule a viewing to judge the
noise level for yourself.
3. Corner lots
These are often larger and therefore provide you with more space.
Plus, with the look of two front lawns, there’s twice the potential
for curb appeal, and therefore the opportunity to increase the
On the downside, kids may shortcut across your front lawn to get
to the adjacent sidewalk!
Your home probably has dozens of great features that are
going to help it stand out and sell faster. Perhaps it has a cosy
sunken livingroom? Or an equipped and smartly decorated
kitchen that Rachel Ray would envy? Or a location in a
All these things will help.
But there’s another selling feature you should consider
adding: a pre-sale inspection.
A professional home inspection is usually done on behalf of
the buyer before the deal to purchase a property is finalized.
In fact, you can expect any offers to purchase your home to be
“conditional upon satisfactory home inspection.”
However, there are two good reasons why you, as the seller,
should get the home inspection done:
A professional inspection can identify problems that might
otherwise thwart the sale.
Say, for example, you get a great offer but the buyer’s home
inspector discovers a minor leak in the foundation. That might
be enough to jeopardize the deal. However, if you had a
professional inspection done, you would have had the
opportunity to get that problem fixed in advance of the offer.
Informing potential buyers that a professional inspection has
been done is a great selling feature. It demonstrates to buyers
that there are no hidden problems with the property, which
gives them more confidence to make an offer.
A certificate of home inspection can be as enticing a feature to
home buyers as a wrap-around deck!
Do you have a picture in your head of what your “dream
home” will look like? Most people shopping for a new house
have a vision in mind.
Your vision of the ideal property may include such features as
a spacious patio, three good-sized bedrooms, a room for a
quiet home office, a livingroom with a fireplace, and more.
It’s a good idea to have this kind of wish list when home
shopping. You’ll increase your chances of finding the right
property for you and your family.
But what if a home that meets your specific criteria is not
currently available on the market? What if you don’t have time
to wait indefinitely for that dream home to come along?
Does that mean you have to settle for something less than
When shopping for a home, don’t just consider the existing
features of a property you’re viewing. Also consider the
potential – what that home could become with a few changes
• No backyard patio? You can get a deck or patio put in.
• No fireplace in the livingroom? A cosy gas fireplace can
be installed in just about any room these days.
• No room for a home office? Consider the possibility of
creating one in the basement; perhaps as a partial
As they say, even a diamond looks like an ugly rock until it’s
cut and polished.
The point is, carefully consider the potential of each home
you look at before you decide to add it, or cross it off, your
short list. If you do, you’ll have a much better chance of
finding the right home at the right price.
When you’re putting your property on the market, you want to
make it seem as big and comfortable as possible. Let’s face it.
Buyers are attracted to space.
However, you probably have at least one room in your
home — and perhaps even more — that feels small and
a little cramped.
Of course you don’t want the buyer’s first impression of the
room to be its size. But it isn’t practical to be knocking down
walls and renovating. So what do you do?
Here are some ideas for making small spaces seem larger and
• Remove any items and extra furniture that make the room
feel smaller than it really is.
• Remove any obstructions near the entranceway. You
should be able to open the door fully and walk in without
banging into a desk or bookshelf.
• Don’t use heavy curtains on the windows. Let the light in.
• Use soft light bulbs with enough wattage to fill the room
with full and pleasant (but not blinding) light.
• Less is more. Keep knickknacks, pictures and other décor
items to a minimum.
• Keep the door fully open during viewings.
• Make sure there’s enough space for two people to walk in
and move around without bumping into each other.
• Give the room a purpose. “This is the home office.” Or,
“This is the comfy reading nook.” If a small room doesn’t
have a reason for being, it will seem like wasted space.
If you haven’t heard of “staging”, it’s a fairly straightforward
concept. It simply involves cleaning, organizing and decorating your
home in such a way as to make it look its best for potential buyers.
One of the most difficult rooms to stage is the kitchen because it’s
one of the most used. It’s not like you can set it up to look nice for
tours and then never go in it! Yet, an effectively staged kitchen can
help sell your home because it’s the room that buyers often
scrutinize and remember most.
Here are some basic kitchen staging tips:
• Be relentless when decluttering your kitchen. Stow or get rid of
any unnecessary items.
• Clear the countertops. Leave no more than two appliances in
view. This will give the impression that there’s lots of surface
• Make sure the sink shines. If regular cleaners don’t work, there
are a number of specialty products available for cleaning sinks
of all kinds, including stainless steel.
• Consider making upgrades. This could be as simple as
replacing cabinetry hardware to as involved as installing a new
counter-top. Your decision to make upgrades depends on the
age and condition of your kitchen. Talk to your REALTOR®. It
may be worth the investment.
• Paint and stain. One of the most affordable improvements you
can make to the kitchen is painting. A new coat of stain or
other finish can make older, worn cabinets look like new.
• Fresh flowers in a vase brighten up any room, especially
• Make it double-duty. Not enough space for a kitchen table? If
there’s room, put in a small table with a couple of stools.
Buyers like to see that there’s at least the option to eat-in.