5 Ways To Update Your Home To Impress Buyers

It's summer 2021 and after 2 years of an incredibly strong sellers market, Ottawa is now moving into balanced market territory. What does that mean?  Instead of having 20 buyers line up at the door on day 1 which cheques in hand, seller's are going to have to work a little harder now to impress them. I've seen it time and time again. A buyer walks into a home and notices that it needs some work. They discount the price of the home to allow for the repairs, then discount it a bit more for the inconvenience. You're getting further and further away from your asking price every time they see something they perceive as "work". Luckily, you don't need a dramatic overhaul to win them over. Strategic updates will do the trick. Here are 5 ways to update your home to impress buyers:

1) Improve your curb appeal

From the minute buyers drive up the driveway you want to make a great first impression. This is your home's BIG DEBUT!

  • Pressure washing is a great way to brighten your property's appearance. You'll be amazed at how much grime you can lift off front steps, walkways, decks and patios.
  • Consider replacing your front door if it's old and not in great shape. If it is, new hardware and a fresh coat of paint may be just what you need. This also applies to your garage door as well.
  • Create welcoming outdoor seating areas. Plants are also an inexpensive way to create perfect little vignettes.

2) Refinish your kitchen

Buyers love kitchens and the state of your kitchen can make or break a sale. If the buyer perceives that the kitchen needs major work, they may not even make an offer on your home. A kitchen doesn't have to be brand new to look updated and current and you don’t have to go with the full-on renovation if you can't afford to do so. In my experience, if you're only able to refresh one out-of-date feature, it should be your kitchen cabinets. Because they’re highly visible, dated cabinetry can make an instant, negative impression on homebuyers.  There are some great companies out there who will spray paint your cabinets. Spraying your kitchen cabinets will provide a beautiful, smooth finish.  What colour, you ask? You can never go wrong with white. If you want to go further, stone countertops and a simple backsplash are always  coveted by buyers too.

3) Replace your floors

Hardwood floors are another feature coveted by buyers and a great way to update your home. To increase the appeal and overall value of your home, consider replacing less popular flooring types (like linoleum tiles or carpeting) with hardwood. Check Pinterest for inspiration photos but stay away from anything too dark. If your existing hardwood is showing signs of wear and tear, consider refinishing it. While it’s usually cheaper than installing brand new flooring and the costs of refinishing old hardwood can still add up, a buyer will appreciate it.  For basements, luxury vinyl plank flooring is the way to go. It's versatile, easy to install and waterproof.

4) Paint your walls

The cost of adding a fresh coat of paint is minimal, but the impact it can have is anything but. Stay away from dark colours or bold primary colours though. In general, I'd suggest sticking with warm neutrals and soft grey and whites. These shades will appeal to most home hunters, making them safe bets.

5) Change your lighting and add more lamps

Lighting is the *chef's kiss* in a room. Poor lighting conditions can give a home a dingy appearance, and outdated fixtures make an immediate bad impression. Adding lamps with white shades to a room will warm up the room and add a cozy vibe, especially for night showings. At a minimum, replace any old bulbs with brighter versions that cast a beautiful white light. Stay away from blue or "daylight" light (because it's terrible).

Need an opinion regarding what to do to update your home before you sell? I'd be happy to help. Give me a shout!

Want more? You might want to read:

Sellers: Your Neighbour Is NOT The Expert

The Costs Of Selling A Home In Ottawa

10 Things Nobody Tells You About Selling Your Home

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