General Tips

Allow Paul to put his experience and knowledge to work for you.

General Tips


Allow Paul to put his experience and knowledge to work for you. With every house he has sold, Paul has learned what works and what doesn’t. There are several things that will enhance the look and appeal of your home. If you’re willing take the time to initiate some of these changes and repairs, your work will be rewarded with a quick, stress-free sale.

Cleaning Up & Fixing Up

Today, a home that stands out from similarly priced, comparable homes is the one which sells first. Why? Because it makes the best first-time impression. The condition of a home greatly affects it’s marketability.

Paul recommends that the house be “dressed up” so it will appeal to the widest  range of buyers. However, after years of living in, repairing and maintaining your home, the last thing you may want to do is invest more money and time to fix it up for someone else to enjoy.

While your reluctance is appreciated, experience has proven that money spent fixing up your home prior to marketing it can yield very handsome returns. It doesn’t have to cost a lot though it does take some reorientation in the way you think about your home. And it takes energy. Begin by thinking like a buyer, not a seller. An attractive, well maintained home will be noticed by a buyer and result in a higher sale price. So put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and determine which improvements will have the most immediate appeal.

Fixing up your home before putting it on the market is well worth the effort. To get a better idea of what improvements to make, you should begin by giving some thought to what will make your home as appealing and uncluttered as possible.

In order to help you determine what to do around the home, Sutton Group Associates Realty Inc. has prepared the following suggestions.

The Exterior

Start here. It’s the first thing a potential buyer will see.

Cut the lawn, trim the shrubs and plant blooming flowers where they’ll brighten up your home. Remove garden hoses, lawn and garden tools, dog houses and toys from the yard. In the winter, keep all walkways well shoveled and consider a fresh welcome mat at the entrance.

If you don’t want to tackle an entire paint job, at least spruce up the window frames, shutters and front door – and perhaps a faded southern exposure – with a fresh coat of paint.

Clean windows until they shine. This is a must. Scrape off any paint splatters with a razor blade, wash windows with ammonia and water, and then buff them till they sparkle. (And don’t forget to replace any cracked panes.)

Check for flat-fitting roof shingles, straight lines on eaves troughs, shutters, windows, and siding and the conditions of caulking around windows and doors. Check the exterior condition of the chimney and brickwork and repair if required.

Impressive entries – people want to feel proud of their homes. Nothing can project that feeling as strongly as the entrance

The Interior

Professional Staging

You may want to seek the services of a professional decorator or stager. Often they can provide an objective view and simple suggestions to make your home and its contents more appealing to potential buyers. While these suggestions are in no way intended to challenge your taste they are simply another way of maximizing the value of your home.

If it’s determined that professional “Staging” is required, Paul works closely with home staging companies and has himself taken interior design courses. Further discussions of these options can be discussed during consultation.

The Front Hall

The atmosphere you create here will tell the potential buyer what can be expected from the rest of your home. Remove all shoes, boots, clothing, etc. to assure an uncluttered appearance. Consider installing a stronger light bulb or new lighting fixture to brighten up the area. For dull days or evening inspections, turn on lights in the home to create a warm welcoming glow. Make sure aromas are fresh and clean and all woodwork and carpeting here and throughout your home is unmarred and spotless. Fresh paint and carpet cleaning is often the best money ever spent.

Eliminate odours. Whether they’re from pets or the kitchen, they’re sure to offend. Avoid sweet-smelling sprays or pot pourris.

Bigger is better. The average house built today is 250 square feet, bigger than in 1980. Buyers like spacious, bright, airy places. That doesn’t describe your home? Here are some ways to make any house seem bigger than it really is.

Paint rooms in light, neutral colours. White is the most popular color for walls. Especially in small spaces such as entryways and bathrooms, it expands the feeling of a room. Off-whites with a faint pink tint gives a particularly warm feeling and are flattering.

Clean off all counters and tabletops. Clutter throughout the house gives the impression that there’s just not enough room for everything. While there’s no need to make your place look sterile, at least aim for simplicity.

The Living Room

Make it look as inviting as possible. Help people see beyond your particular furnishings and imagine themselves living there. In a very basic sense, make the living room seem usable.

Make the room feel warm and comfortable. Open all the curtains and add lamps if required. Add fresh flowers and plants to make the room more inviting.

Store half your kids’ toys in the attic. This is a chance to involve your kids in the house sale. If they’re reluctant to part with some of their favourites, perhaps they’ll be agreeable to doing it just while you’re actually showing the house.

The Kitchen

This is the room that can really make or break the sale of a house.

Buyers often head to the kitchen first. They look for cleanliness and efficiency above everything. Complete kitchen renovations can run more than $30,000, but you can make over a kitchen for a lot less with certain deft moves.

The kitchen should be free of any evidence of pets. That means litter boxes, rubber toys etc. (Remove temporarily while real estate agents and prospective buyers are visiting).

Purchasers like an uncluttered kitchen. All appliances should not only be spotless they should also work perfectly. Replace or repair anything that squeaks, sticks or drips. All counter, cooking and eating areas should be uncluttered and all counter top appliances should be stored out of sight. Foods that have a distinct odour could be objectionable to potential buyers and you should avoid them during the showing periods.

The Bathroom

More than for any other room, the rule for bathrooms is clean, clean, clean – and that means from floor to ceiling. A musty one can kill a sale.

Buy a new shower curtain, preferably white, avoiding patterns as they may make the room seem smaller. Luxurious extras like brass towel racks, faucets and other hardware are real crowd-pleasers. Glue down curling or loose wall coverings with seam sealer found in the hardware stores.

Replace the toilet seat with a new white one.

The Dinning Room

Because a dining room isn’t used as often as other rooms in the house, it can seem a little like a showroom. Make it appear sophisticated, warm and inviting. The table is usually the focal point of a dining room, so make it gleam or have the tabletop refinished if necessary.

The light in your chandelier casts highlights on your tabletop so wash the bulbs, and dust it regularly.

The Bedrooms

Consider going for impact in the master bedroom. Even when you buy the expensive designer version bed linens, this is a relatively low-cost way to create a big visual effect. Concentrate on the part that shows, and throw pillows don’t need to be in an identical pattern, they just need to harmonize.

Tone down the kids rooms. You want buyers to see beyond the Superman or heavy metal band posters. By simplifying the décor, you’ll help those prospects imagine how they could use the room. Fill holes and repaint blemished walls if necessary. You could leave up one poster for the kids but do not use Scotch tape.

Clean out your closets. Jam-packed, messy closets will make people worry that there isn’t enough storage space. Maybe you should invest in a closet organizing system and pack out-of-season clothes away. Make the closet look as if there is room to spare.

Garage and Basement

A perfect garage is well organized. All storage and work bench areas should be orderly and oily spots on cement floors should be cleaned. It should be brightly lit by bulbs or fluorescent fixtures. Toss out or sell unnecessary items. Electronic door openers should be in working condition.

Make the basement spotless. It should be functional, open and clean giving the impression that everything is impeccably maintained.

Organization is also the key for the basement. Buy shelving for neat storage. Hang tools on peg boards and put articles on shelves. Eliminate musty odours by proper ventilation or a dehumidifier. Clean up oil spills. Clean the outside of the furnace, change filters and make inspection access easy. Clean all appliances (washer, dryer, etc.). Brighten up the area by painting walls and installing higher wattage light bulbs.

Good luck and have fun! You’ll impress yourself with how wonderful your house will look!