Will staging help you sell your house faster, at a better price?

Benefits of Staging Your Home The Toronto housing market is very hot. Home sales are brisk. If a home is priced correctly and marketed well, it will sell.  The real question is how fast and at what price? Will staging help you sell your house?

That’s where staging comes in. Staging is a strategic marketing tool designed to show a property in its best possible light. Professional stagers and many realtors including myself  believe in the power of this technique no matter the market — potential buyers can see all the possibilities and sellers can get top-dollar and a quicker sale.

According to the Real Estate Staging Association, professionally listed staged properties simply look better; spend 73 percent less time on the market; typically sell for more money; end up on buyers’ “must see” lists; are viewed as “well-maintained;” and have fewer concessions requested of the seller.

Individual stagers set their own fees, but a typical staging cost is about $2,500. It should be considered a cost of doing business or an investment that sellers might recoup when the house sells.  We take it a step further and include the cost of staging in our services.

Many clients initially don’t believe that they need to stage their home in such a hot market.  Put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer. Given about the same location and asking price, if House X is clutter-free, clean, updated and nicely decorated, and House Y down the street isn’t any of the three, which house do you think has a better chance of selling? It might come down to a simple gut feeling on the part of the buyers.

Quite simply, staging is marketing. You want your house to stand out in a crowd.

I always tell my clients, think about when you first walked into your house, what struck you and convinced you to buy the house? What did you notice? Think about that and that will help you, but sometimes you need someone else looking at it. I take what I do seriously. This is my job, but I am also honoured that someone trusts me enough to help them.

Once you’ve decided to sell your home, you have to start detaching from it, which can be difficult to do. That’s where I come in, you have to start looking at your home as a commodity. You have to decide whether you just want the house sold or do you want the possibility of selling it faster and for more money? It really doesn’t matter what the market is like. Statistics prove that staging a house works.

A house that “shows” well and is priced well will sell, and sell quickly, according to the experts. And timing can be everything. First impressions count, even from the moment a potential buyer drives up to a house. When a house first goes on the market, it usually receives a lot of interest from real estate agents and the buying public. That’s the time to strike. Once that first wave of interest passes, time can become an enemy for a seller.

Vacant houses take longer to sell. Many people think that an empty room lets potential buyers see what the room could look like, but empty rooms actually make the space look smaller. I sold a house in The Queensway recently.  It was a beautiful new build with all the bells and whistles.  It was listed with another agent who was trying to sell the home empty.  Once I got the listing, I staged the home and it sold for a record neighbourhood price house in 2 weeks.

If you are interested in selling your home quickly for top dollar, I can help!

 

What home improvements that don’t add value to your home?

Improvements that don't add value

Surprising list of home improvements that don’t add value

Every homeowner must pay for routine home maintenance, such as replacing worn-out plumbing components or staining the deck, but some choose to make improvements with the intention of increasing the home’s value. Do you know what home improvements don’t add value to your home? Certain projects, such as adding a well thought-out family room – or other functional space – can be a wise investment, as they do add to the value of the home. Other projects, however, allow little opportunity to recover the costs when it’s time to sell.

Even though the current homeowner may greatly appreciate the improvement, a buyer could be unimpressed and unwilling to factor the upgrade into the purchase price. Homeowners, therefore, need to be careful with how they choose to spend their money if they are expecting the investment to pay off. Here are six home improvements that don’t add value when you go to sell your home.

1. Swimming Pools

Swimming pools are one of those things that may be nice to enjoy at your friend’s or neighbor’s house, but that can be a hassle to have at your own home. Many potential homebuyers view swimming pools as dangerous, expensive to maintain and a lawsuit waiting to happen. Families with young children in particular may turn down an otherwise perfect house because of the pool (and the fear of a child going in the pool unsupervised). In fact, a would-be buyer’s offer may be contingent on the home seller dismantling an above-ground pool or filling in an in-ground pool.

An in-ground pool costs anywhere from $10,000 to more than $100,000, and additional yearly maintenance expenses need to be considered. That’s a significant amount of money that might never be recouped if and when the house is sold.

2. Overbuilding for the Neighbourhood

Homeowners may, in an attempt to increase the value of a home, make improvements to the property that unintentionally make the home fall outside of the norm for the neighbourhood. While a large, expensive remodel, such as adding a second story with two bedrooms and a full bath, might make the home more appealing, it will not add significantly to the resale value if the house is in the midst of a neighbourhood of small, one-story homes.

In general, homebuyers do not want to pay $250,000 for a house that sits in a neighbourhood with an average sales price of $150,000; the house will seem overpriced even if it is more desirable than the surrounding properties. The buyer will instead look to spend the $250,000 in a $250,000 neighbourhood. The house might be beautiful, but any money spent on overbuilding might be difficult to recover unless the other homes in the neighbourhood follow suit.

3. Extensive Landscaping

Homebuyers may appreciate well-maintained or mature landscaping, but don’t expect the home’s value to increase because of it. A beautiful yard may encourage potential buyers to take a closer look at the property, but will probably not add to the selling price. If a buyer is unable or unwilling to put in the effort to maintain a garden, it will quickly become an eyesore, or the new homeowner might need to pay a qualified gardener to take charge. Either way, many buyers view elaborate landscaping as a burden (even though it might be attractive) and, as a result, are not likely to consider it when placing value on the home.

4. High-End Upgrades

Putting stainless steel appliances in your kitchen or imported tiles in your entryway may do little to increase the value of your home if the bathrooms are still vinyl-floored and the shag carpeting in the bedrooms is leftover from the ’60s. Upgrades should be consistent to maintain a similar style and quality throughout the home. A home that has a beautifully remodeled and modern kitchen can be viewed as a work in project if the bathrooms remain functionally obsolete. The remodel, therefore, might not fetch as high a return as if the rest of the home were brought up to the same level. High-quality upgrades generally increase the value of high-end homes, but not necessarily mid-range houses where the upgrade may be inconsistent with the rest of the home.

In addition, specific high-end features such as media rooms with specialized audio, visual or gaming equipment may be appealing to a few prospective buyers, but many potential homebuyers would not consider paying more for the home simply because of this additional feature. Chances are that the room would be re-tasked to a more generic living space.

5. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

While real estate listings may still boast “new carpeting throughout” as a selling point, potential homebuyers today may cringe at the idea of having wall-to-wall carpeting. Carpeting is expensive to purchase and install. In addition, there is growing concern over the healthfulness of carpeting due to the amount of chemicals used in its processing and the potential for allergens (a serious concern for families with children). Add to that the probability that the carpet style and color that you thought was absolutely perfect might not be what someone else had in mind.

Because of these hurdles, wall-to-wall carpet is something on which it’s difficult to recoup the costs. Removing carpeting and restoring wood floors is usually a more profitable investment.

6. Invisible Improvements

Invisible improvements are those costly projects that you know make your house a better place to live in, but that nobody else would notice – or likely care about. A new plumbing system or HVAC unit (heating, venting and air conditioning) might be necessary, but don’t expect it to recover these costs when it comes time to sell. Many homebuyers simply expect these systems to be in good working order and will not pay extra just because you recently installed a new heater. It may be better to think of these improvements in terms of regular maintenance, and not an investment in your home’s value.

The Bottom Line 

It is difficult to imagine spending thousands of dollars on a home-improvement project that will not be reflected in the home’s value when it comes time to sell. There is no simple equation for determining which projects will garner the highest return, or the most bang for your buck. Some of this depends on the local market and even the age and style of the house. Homeowners frequently must choose between an improvement that they would really love to have (the in-ground swimming pool) and one that would prove to be a better investment. A bit of research, or the advice of a qualified real estate professional, can help homeowners avoid costly projects that don’t really add value to a home.  Make sure you know what home improvements don’t add value to your home before it’s too late.

 

What are the signs of a up and coming neighbourhood?

up and coming neighbourhood
We all know have expensive the Toronto Real Estate market is to enter.  Many first time buyers are looking for an area that may be still under valued, a diamond in the rough, but changing quickly.  Here area a few tips to find that area:

  1.  New Large Businesses Moving in.  Most larger businesses do a fair amount of economic research and projections on the neighbourhood before moving in. Watching big industry and business moves can be a great way to spot emerging areas with strong fundamentals way before you might otherwise be able to see them yourself.
  2.  Convenient location in a land-impacted metro. In an area close to downtown Toronto like Mimico, demand for homes will continue to grow as population grows and as buyers are looking for close proximity to the city, for that easier commute. Supply of homes has not kept pace with the demand which has lead to a continual increase in prices.
  3.  Downsides have an expiration date. If there’s one major issue that has caused an area to be less desirable for decades, and that issue is being eliminated or ameliorated, it could set the neighborhood up for a turnaround. For example, an undesirable plant is located in the area but planned to be shut down.
  4. At least one major economic development is brewing. Never underestimate the power of a major economic development to overhaul a neighborhood’s fate. From Google and Microsoft building cloud storage data centers in Barrie, one large-scale employer or infrastructure development can be a very early, very strong sign that an area will see it’s real estate fortunes rise.
  5. Fixing is in the air. When you see that an area long known for its rundown homes has a number of homes being renovated and rehabbed from the inside out, this can be a sign of fledgling neighborhood turnaround. If you spot these sorts of projects visually, it might be worth taking a trip down to the City Building Permit counter to see whether the staff has seen the same uptick in individual owners’ investment in the area, and if so, what they think the story of the neighborhood might be – or might become. City staffers often have a wealth of information at the ready, everything from pending commercial development applications that could change the whole landscape of an area to projects the city itself has funded or will prioritize due to its own development initiatives.

If you are looking to find, relocate to one of these areas, please let me help. You can connect with me Here

TOP 10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE QUEENSWAY

Cute house in The Queensway

Cute house in The Queensway

By Jody Thompson
1. One of the best up and coming neighborhoods with great value in Toronto. Homes get snapped up in days.

2. Known for its tree-lined streets, quaint bungalows on large lots, parks and trails. Enjoy the trails along the Humber River, or strolling along the lakefront where you can watch the sailboats, joggers and cyclists.

3. Great schools in the area including one of the best rated Catholic French Immersion schools EEC Sainte-Marguerite-d”Youville., a very strong public elementary school – Norseman Heights, as well as The Etobicoke School of the Arts – one of the best artistic schools in the city.

4. Close access to Humber College which is now the center of advanced study in creative professions. Areas of known prestige include, advertising, public relations, publishing, business, and graphic design to name a few.

5. Incredible accessibility! – Go trains, Royal York Subway, the Gardiner, the 427 with easy access to the 401, 400, 407 and Pearson Airport.

6. Excellent recreational facilities nearby including COE, a boutique for cycling, strength and flexibility gym, outdoor tennis courts, outdoor skating rink with artificial ice, and an indoor swimming pool.

7. One of the safest neighborhoods in Toronto with a very low crime rate and neighbors that look out for each other.

8. Some of the best food in Toronto including my favorite – Luci’s -on The Queensway, The Cheese Boutique, Vibo and Momiji.

9. Parks and a downtown area part of the exciting revitalization city wide projects.

10. Strong community spirit filled with hospitality and culture. Upcoming Festival – Celebrate the Queensway.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Queensway, I live and work in this wonderful area and would love to help you with your home search. Please learn more about me on My Website

Best Toronto Schools located in South Etobicoke

Many family consider quality of schools in the area as one of the top criteria in making their real estate decision. The principal at Etobicoke School of the Arts just received top marks. Have a read:
Principal at ESA Gets Top Marks

ESA Principal

If you are looking at moving into South Etobicoke, I would be honoured to help you with your search. You can reach me at My contact Info

Real Estate – First Time Buyers eBook

Risks of no tenant insurance

I have worked with many first time buyers and understand that the process of buying your first home can be overwhelming so decided to create this ebook.  I hope that you find it useful.  If you have any questions or would like me to assist you in your journey, please reach out to me on My website.

Real Estate – First Time Buyers eBook

Jody’s Gems – Humber Bay Shores Park

Mesmerizing  Fall Colours in Humber Bay Shores Park

I love the fall and there is nothing more beautiful than some of our gorgeous parks in South Etobicoke.  You definitely do not need to go far from home to enjoy the spectacular colours.  This is a photo of Humber Bay Shores Park, located right along Marine Parade drive.

Will an open house help sell your home?

Benefits of an Open House

I am often asked whether a seller should agree to open houses when they put their home up for sale. Some say it helps the agent find new clients and does nothing to sell the home. Others say it is necessary to find the largest number of potential buyers. Which is correct?

In practice, there are two kinds of open houses. One is limited to real estate agents, so they can conduct research in the area and be able to recommend the right homes to their buyer clients. The second is open to the general public. This can include nosy neighbours who just want to see your home, buyers who don’t have nearly enough money to consider putting in an offer and real prospects for your home.

Open houses will definitely lead to more exposure for your home and more feedback from potential buyers. Many agents will send their clients to open houses.  Many buyers enjoy first viewing

Still, in a seller’s market, where there are more buyers than available properties, open houses are a good idea so the maximum number of buyers can see the property in a very short time period.

If you do agree to conduct an open house, here are some tips:

• Make sure proper home staging is done in advance so your home appeals to the maximum number of potential buyers.

• Do not stay in the house during the open house. You are more than likely to volunteer too much information, including why you are selling. This will hurt your negotiating position later.

• Make sure your agent will be there the entire time.

• It is not against the law to ask for identification in order to allow someone to enter your home. If they refuse to provide it, tell your agent to refuse them entry.

• Sometimes criminals will come in pairs; while one distracts the salesperson, the other is going through drawers. If a lot of people are expected make sure your agent brings an assistant.

• Ask your agent to check all windows and doors before they leave your home to make sure everything is properly secured.

• Remove all valuables or store them in a safe, if you have one in the home. This includes your laptop and any discs that may have your personal information on them.

• Keep all of your bank and credit card statements out of view, as this could lead to identity theft if someone takes them.

• Take pictures of each room so you can check later if something is missing or damaged during the open house.

Whatever you decide regarding an open house, make sure you are properly prepared in advance.

If you are thinking of selling your home, lots more resources on My Website