Kathy Wardle, a realtor with Bosley Real Estate in Toronto, swears by house dressing. "Sometimes it's added up to $100,000 (to the closing price). For others, it just makes it sellable."
When clients haven't the time or inclination to ready their own houses for the market, she directs them to Jeffrey Trafford, owner of Toronto-based Dressed To Sell.
"People are putting more and more into selling their homes," says Trafford, who has charged anywhere from $1,000 to $18,000 for his services.
Not only does he advise on what needs to be done, but he also does the work, whether it's purging a cluttered interior or renovating a tired kitchen. "I've never had anyone say to me, 'I didn't get a return on my money.'"
Set the stage
Paul knows of what she speaks. She also owns House Primping, a Niagara-area realtor-to-realtor staging company, and is writing a book, House Primping: The Art of the Real Estate Deal.
"You're selling more than a house and four walls," she says. "You're selling a dream and a perception of a lifestyle."
Using decorating techniques and a variety of tools, from stock furniture to experienced handy people, primpers bring the dream to life and set the stage for potential buyers to envision themselves and their belongings in a house.
However, ambitious sellers can adopt a variety of trade secrets to make their house more marketable on their own.
Prepare to purge
"People can get distracted by who the owners are and not see the house," says Wardle. "It's not about dulling it down but giving it more of a universal appeal."
Sometimes preparation is as easy as cleaning up the basement or purging items long destined for the garbage. But often, family heirlooms, over-the-top art and that comfy, but rather shabby, couch are banished to a storage locker.
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||-- Posted: Dec. 10, 2004