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Home Selling Tips

Simple Tips for Better Home Showings

1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too.
2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home.
3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it.
4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help.
5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Re-place any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint.
6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained.
7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway.Save
8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable. 9. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa.
10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently. 11. Add a centerpiece for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers.
12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress.
13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one.
14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use.
15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight.
16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the realtor  know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises.
17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a realtor will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time.
18. Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there.
Article courtesy of Bob Kalo
 Which home renos will make you the most money: a kitchen, bathroom or exterior?

A few key upgrades can improve the marketability of your home, increase its value and help to sell it quickly. Here are five renos worth the effort:


You don’t need to install all the bells and whistles of a cook’s kitchen, but replacing older appliances with the best models you can afford will significantly increase the attractiveness of your home. Inadequate cabinets in cheap or trendy materials turn off potential buyers. If yours need to be upgraded, opt for quality finishes, hinges and sliders. Doors should have room to fully open and drawers should pull out smoothly and feel solid. Replace worn countertops with a highly regarded material such as granite, Corian or stone composite in a neutral colour. These add contemporary shine and give kitchens the luxe appearance potential buyers are looking for. Avoid countertop tiles applied with grout, which might need repairs and appear grungy in a couple of years.


Replacing worn carpet or flooring increases the hassle-free quotient of a home. Swapping outdated wall-to-wall carpeting for hardwood flooring or laminate makes spaces look larger and more elegant. Light to mid-tone oak or maple hardwood suits most tastes.


A fresh coat of paint is an easy and cost-effective way to improve a home’s overall appearance. Avoid trendy or bold colours in favour of soft neutrals. The idea is to create a fresh, pristine backdrop in which potential buyers can easily picture themselves and their possessions.



Consumer reports show that homeowners see an 85% return on the cost of renovating a bathroom, making it the most important room to upgrade prior to selling. Consider upping a bathroom’s wow factor with luxury features such as marble counters or flooring and high-end showerheads. Replace outdated mirrors and fixtures, and swap coloured sinks, tubs or toilets with white models. Wall sconces positioned on each side of a vanity mirror are more flattering than overhead fluorescent or globe lights. Create a spa-look by sticking to neutral colours for walls and accessories.



The exterior of a house is its first impression. The roof represents 30% of what is visible, so it can be a big selling point if it’s in good condition, especially on an older home. Black topping a faded driveway will also improve a home’s curb appeal.

Still need help?

Speak to a local real estate agent or appraiser for helpful advice on improvements that add value to homes in your particular neighbourhood and in general.


Article courtesy of House & Home



Vacation Checklist

 What To Do When Your Home's Alone

You're finally taking the household on a well-deserved vacation. You've arranged to board the dog, and Aunt Martha will babysit the bird. There's one more precaution to take---safeguarding your home. Fortunately, many of the steps required (absent of installing an alarm system) only require elbow grease and a bit of forethought before you hit the road.

Here's a suggested checklist to follow:

1. Stop mail and newspaper delivery. Nothing screams "no one is home" louder than a stack of newspapers on the front porch. If there's a likelihood that packages could arrive while you're away, notify delivery services like UPS, Fed Ex, to hold them so that your front door won't be marked with delivery slips. And, under no circumstance, post "take all deliveries to our next-door neighbor" on your door!

2. If shrubs, trees or bushes block the view of any windows or doors, trim them back. Homes that are set back a distance from the street and/or have heavy, concealing foliage are more likely to be a burglar's welcome target.

3. Don't let your answering machine tell the world you're gone. A generic message like "we can't come to the phone right now" sends fewer adverse signals than "we're not home" or "we're on vacation in the Bahamas". (Remember “Home Alone”)

4. Move small valuables to a safe deposit box as well as any credit cards you won't be using. If possible, move larger valuables (like silver, stereo systems, etc.) to a friend or relative's home for safekeeping. Many police departments have property protection programs that etch valuables with your driver's license number. If you can video tape your possessions and place the tape in your safe deposit box, you'll have additional documentation in case of theft or fire. (It's also a great way to prove value for contesting insurance company settlements).

5. Use timers on several lights throughout the house. If possible, place at least one outside light on a timer as well. Leave draperies open a bit, especially on upper-level floors that aren't easily visible.

6. Check all windows (especially on the ground-level floor) to make sure there are no broken panes or loose latches. Deadbolts on exterior doors do deter burglars, as do "Beware of Dog" signs. If you have an extra door key hidden under an outside mat or rock, move it. If it's easy for you to get to, it's equally easy for a thief. If your car will be visible on the property, make sure to remove your garage door opener from it.

7. Amazing as it seems, entire households of furniture have been loaded in moving vans and driven away during a homeowner's absence. Notify at least one neighbor of your trip and/or a representative from "Neighborhood Watch" (if applicable) in your area. Provide a way to contact you in case of emergency, either by phone or by locations on your itinerary. Additionally, ask the neighbor to query anyone approaching the house while you're gone.

8. Check with your local police department. They may have a program to drive by homes, test locks, and walk into back yards.

9. Have a trusted neighbor hold a spare key. In one case, an unoccupied home had a leak which allowed thousands of gallons of water to accumulate. Had someone simply gone into the house before the owners returned extensive damage could have been avoided.

10. Prepay bills -- it won't do much for household safety but it will allow you to enjoy your vacation more fully.


For just a few dollars and several hours of your time, you'll have greater peace of mind that your home and possessions will be safe, sound, and less likely to catch the attention of a burglar.


-Courtesy of Bob Kalo