Warm, neutral walls have wide appeal, but why stop there? Give a concrete basement floor new life and update kitchen or bathroom cupboards without the expense of new cabinetry.
"Dated for a home buyer spells work and it spells money," warns Paul.
Trafford also recommends replacing stained countertops and worn broadloom, while Wardle advises returning a converted room to its expected use. The third bedroom may function as an office, but buyers want to see a bedroom -- oust the computer in favour of a bed and night table.
Finishing touches -- such as new towels in the bathroom, a mirror strategically placed to open up a narrow hallway or fresh flowers in a drab room -- all play a role in selling a house.
Consider the curb appeal
Red cedar chips transform a boring front garden, while flowerpots, a new mailbox and a freshly painted front door send house hunters the right message.
Spend money to make money
Investing 1 percent of the asking price into fixing up a house is a general guide, says Paul, who charges anywhere from $150 for a consultation and five-page report to $3,000 to dress a house fully with furniture and accessories. (Painting and repairs done by a third-party contractor cost extra.)
While no one can guarantee a house will fetch a specific price or sell within a certain time frame, experts insist primping has a positive influence.
Paul cites a Victorian house in Toronto that sat on the market for six months at $569,000, but sold for $612,000 within a week of a detailed overhaul that included staging the dining room for an elegant (but imaginary) dinner party.
It goes back to encouraging house hunters to buy into a dream, and in the process, buy the house.
Michelle Warren is a writer in Toronto.
|-- Posted: Dec. 10, 2004