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Front entrance ideas

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Front entrance ideas

Exterior landscape design by Samantha Kleinknecht • Photos: Alex Lukey

Toronto, and pretty much all of Ontario for that matter, is a sellers’ market. Demand is high, housing stock is low, and competition is cut-throat – and that’s putting it mildly. If you’re selling your home, you have the upper hand, but you should still do what you can to increase your investment value – and your overall selling price.

Did you know? According to a recent survey by the Ontario Real Estate Association, only two per cent of homebuyers said a home’s exterior and landscaping didn’t factor into their buying decision. That’s a whopping 98 per cent of people who consider a home’s curb appeal when shopping the market. Interesting, right?

Curb appeal is all about creating a desirable and inviting exterior, to catch people’s eye and make that first positive impression from the curb. Decades ago, most home-hunters would pile into their car every Saturday and Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m., and drive around looking for open houses. When something caught their eye, it was a must-see. That’s curb appeal. Today, curb appeal is more about attracting buyers online with great listings photos. Whether we’re talking in person or online, your home’s exterior is the first impression people get, and it will be a big factor in their decision to take a closer look or keep moving to the next, perhaps slightly nicer listing.

Here are some of my strategies to attract more buyers – and offers!

Paint

Depending on your home and its condition, this could be a big or a small job. but all things considered, it’s the most cost-effective way to freshen up your home. When it comes to choosing colours, don’t be too trendy. As we all know, trends come and go. Instead, opt for longevity and choose something in line with the neighbourhood aesthetic. Also, consider what’s happening next door. Avoid duplicating your neighbours’ colour schemes, which can make homes look odd side-by-side. Anything that’s peeling or appears discoloured will benefit from a fresh coat, including your front door and porch, shutters, window trim and garage.

Entrance area

Create an instant stylish welcome to the porch area with a new mailbox, light fixture and house numbers. make a seasonal vignette with planters flanking the door and walkway leading to the front door and porch.

Landscaping

When assessing your home’s curb appeal, don’t discount the importance of the yard. Outdoor space has become even more critical in the wake of the pandemic, which has prompted many homebuyers to look for homes with outdoor amenities. Manicured gardens, patios and decks have become huge selling features, especially in some inner-city neighbourhoods where access to green space is limited. Furthermore, landscaping is an upgrade that immediately increases your property value, and that value increases as your trees grow. During the warmer months, ensure the lawn is mowed, flowers planted, bushes and trees trimmed. Consider planting some hearty, cold-weather plants to bring life and detail to that bleak, wintery scene. Add outdoor lighting to highlight different areas and unique features.

Driveway

Admittedly, this upgrade is less sexy than the others, but it’s just as important. nothing ages a home at first glance like a cracked driveway, broken front steps or displaced patio stones. If the exterior is uncared for, potential buyers may assume interior elements have not been well maintained. Furthermore, don’t risk deterring buyers or tempting them to lower their offers in anticipation of repairs. Correct these issues before putting your home on the market. Curb appeal is a critical part of the home selling process, and paying a little attention to your home’s exterior can go a long way to attracting more interested buyers and higher offers. Especially now, with in-person showings limited and more house-hunting being conducted online or from the street, curb appeal can be just the thing to tip the scales in your favour.

Heather Hadden, Principal at Hadden Homes, notable top real estate professional in the GTA is focused on providing comprehensive full-service support for all new and existing homeowners.


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5 tips for selling during COVID-19

5 tips for selling during COVID-19

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5 tips for selling during COVID-19

1. De-clutter and neutralize

Regardless of market conditions, preparing your home for sale is critical to attracting the right buyer and a good offer. The simple and economical act of de-cluttering your home will make it look larger, brighter and cleaner – a key consideration for many homebuyers, especially in current times. Pack up seasonal and unused items, and ditch anything that’s broken, unused or unwanted. Put away personal belongings such as family photos and mementoes, which can subconsciously make prospective buyers feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in your home. Neutralize the space to help strangers feel “at home.”

2. Repair and renovate

Be subjective when updating your home prior to listing. Leave your personal preferences at the door, and opt for updates and renovations that neutralize the home and increase its appeal to the widest pool of buyers. Keep an eye on current listings in your neighbourhood, to gain valuable insight that could inform your own selling strategy. Luckily, under these current sellers’ market conditions, you shouldn’t have to do too much to attract buyers. Something as simple as a fresh coat of paint could be all that’s required to get your home ready for the next step – staging.

3. Stage the home

Selling your home in a sellers’ market is a no-brainer, but getting the highest possible price is another story. Staged homes have been shown to yield much higher offers. We include staging for this very reason in our listing package. You can do it yourself, but all things considered, it is smarter to get a professional who knows what sells. This will have a huge impact on your bottom line. Even in this sellers’ market, ensure your listing stands out from the rest for all the right reasons.

4. Digital marketing

Selling anything these days means having an online presence – and like with many other types of purchases, homebuyers often start shopping online. Smart listing agents are staging and marketing homes for a digital audience. The pandemic has kicked this emerging trend into high gear. With temporary lockdowns and social distancing measures in place for the foreseeable future, many buyers are now making the decision to buy a home without ever viewing it in person. Your real estate agent will be able to recommend a reputable photographer and videographer to ensure your digital photos and social media home tours are up to par.

5. The price is right

The current sellers’ market means you, as the seller, have the upper hand in a transaction. But even under these prime selling conditions, working with a professional realtor can pay off. Remember, your objective is not just to sell the home, but to sell it for the highest possible price.

Have you wondered how bidding wars happen? A seller will usually list the home below market value, and let buyers’ naturally competitive approach drive up the price. Once your property is listed, generate some buzz online by marketing it heavily on social media. Much like a seller might do under normal circumstances, don’t accept offers until the day of choice, which should provide just enough time for potential buyers to fall in love and get a little nervous about the prospect of losing out.

Even in this sellers’ market, putting your home on MLS and praying for offers isn’t going to cut it. Your home is a huge investment and sold under the right conditions and for the right price can be a big financial win, enabling you to buy your “forever home,” reinvest the proceeds in the market, or take early retirement. Speak with your realtor about the best ways to reach your target buyer and your target price, regardless of market conditions.

Heather Hadden, Principal at Hadden Homes, notable top real estate professional in the GTA is focused on providing comprehensive full-service support for all new and existing homeowners.


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Home Improvements: Renos that boost your R.O.I.

Renos that boost your R.O.I.

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Renos that boost your R.O.I.

Illustration by Rachel Joanis

So, you’ve decided to sell your home. That means you’ve also likely tossed around the idea of a home renovation to yield the best possible profit. Here are four home renovations that yield the highest payoff.

Kitchen

It’s the beating heart of the home. This is the most-significant and most-expensive room to renovate, but it also gives you the highest return on your investment. There are a few reasons for this. Kitchens are a pain to renovate, from the inconvenience of functioning without a kitchen for weeks (or months) and the effort required to coordinate or complete the work. That means buyers are often willing to pay a premium for a home with a brand-new kitchen. Always choose quality over quantity – a cheap or poorly done renovation can decrease your home’s value.

Bathrooms

Much like the kitchen, bathrooms are difficult to renovate, and many homebuyers will pay extra for the convenience of having it done for them. Spa-inspired bathrooms are a common upgrade in older homes when the bath was considered a utilitarian room versus a feature space. A bigger, brighter bathroom with custom elements, such as vanity and countertops, unique tile work, fabulous lighting and extras like a steam shower, make-up area or a meditation zone can bring in the bucks on resale.

Income suite

An income suite is a biggie – especially in pricey urban housing markets such as Toronto and Vancouver. Young homebuyers often look to tenants to help them pay off their hefty mortgage, and multi-generational households can reside together with greater cost-efficiency and privacy. Look at secondary suites for rent in the area to get a feel for what those units look like, and how much they rent for. This will be a great selling point for your home.

In the current sellers’ market, a fairly-priced home shouldn’t stay on the market for too long. Every homeowner is looking to get the biggest bang for their buck, and the quickest possible sale – which translates to even more money in your pocket. Work with your realtor to determine what renovations make sense in the current marketplace, and for some tried-and-true advice on how to get everything done.

Tips

Here are some more tips to help sellers keep their eyes on the prize:

  1. Renovate for your target buyer, not for yourself. Your realtor can advise you on the types of renovations that will resonate with buyers in your area, and of the kind of home you’re selling.
  2. Work with an experienced contractor who’s familiar with the type of work you’re planning. Check out their portfolio, ask for references and contact them.
  3. Before any work begins, ensure your contract stipulates precisely what work is being done, what materials and products are being used, the budget and the timeline for completion.
  4. Do it by the book. Don’t try to save on costs by skipping the permits or taking shortcuts in the work. This will only end up hurting your bottom line, not helping.

Heather Hadden, Principal at Hadden Homes, notable top real-estate professional in GTA is focused on providing comprehensive full-service real-estate support for all new and existing homeowners.

Making you love where you live once again.


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