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Preparing Your House for the Spring Market: A Great Winter Project
 January 30 2019     Posted by Tracy Bennett


The holidays are behind us; the decorations all put away, the many variations of turkey eaten, and everyone is back to school or work. Now is the time to hunker down in our winter hibernation--unless, of course, you’re planning to sell your house this year. The stretch between the holidays and late March is the perfect time to get a head start on preparing your house for sale. The housing market typically heats up at around the same time as the soil, so you want to be ready when those daffodils start peeking through the snow.

Here are a few tips that will give you an edge on preparing your home for sale come springtime:


  1. Get a Home Inspection: One way to avoid any nasty surprises when you list your house on the market is to have your home inspected by a reputable home inspector. They will look at the following areas:

  • The condition of the property: Check drainage, grading, the integrity of the foundation, the cladding, and note any exterior damage. The inspector will also consider the condition and expected lifespan of shingles, gutters, vents, flashing, soffits, chimneys, fascia boards, and other elements. They’ll look for signs of decay and improper installation of windows and doors.

  • All electrical, plumbing, and heating systems will be inspected and their age and expected life-span will be noted. This will include an survey of the HVAC system, ductwork, filters, presence of asbestos or odours, as well as all electrical systems. The inspector will also ensure that the there are no serious plumbing issues and that the water heater and pump are functioning optimally.

  • A home inspector will check the attic for improper ventilation, structural damage, or issues with insulation.

  • The basement can also offer many clues to a house’s overall health, and an inspector will check for moisture, evidence of pests, and foundation or structural problems.

  • Inside the rooms, the inspector will look at the walls, lights and switches, outlets, temperature control, ceilings, floors, and fireplaces. These elements can reveal critical issues.

  • Your kitchen can make or break a sale, and it’s critical that it functions well. The home inspector will check that the exhaust fan, appliances, and the cabinets and drawers are in good working condition.

  • Bathrooms will be checked to ensure that there are no issues with the plumbing, the exhaust, or with mildew. They’ll note the condition of the tiles, water pressure, and fixtures.

Having a home inspection gives you the opportunity to do lengthy or expensive repairs now before they become an issue during a sale. It also signals to future buyers that you’re open and honest about the house. Furthermore, a home inspection can expedite matters, eliminating the need for an inspection being one of the conditions of sale.


  1. Bathrooms and Kitchens: Now that you’ve had your home inspection, you’ll know what parts of your house need repairing. Remember that bathrooms and kitchens can make or break a deal. Some these repairs could lead to a major renovation. Be aware of what the payoff of major work will be, and call a mortgage broker to help assess the risks/benefits of any renovation plan.

  • Replace any appliances that have outlived their usefulness, and ensure that all others have proper documentation such as repair history or warranties.

  • Repaint or re-tile if necessary. Although a pricey and messy job, tiling adds to the overall appeal of the bathroom or kitchen.

  • Tighten or replace doorknobs, cabinet pulls, broken hinges, etc.

  • Check for mildew stains and re-grout if necessary.

  • Replace toilet seats.


  1. Repaint: A fresh coat of paint can go further to sell your home than more expensive renovations. It makes the house look clean and well-kept, and helps potential buyers to imagine what the house might look like. There are, apparently, colours that will actually help you make more money on your house. For example, a Zillow report showed some houses that have a front door in shades of blue to slate grey sold for over $1500 more than any other hues. Other colours have likewise been shown to appeal to buyers.


  1. Floors and Carpets: Sometimes when homeowners are selling, a realtor will propose a price for the house. They may also recommend that the owners replace the original flooring with new before putting the property on the market. Replacing flooring may be extreme, but profitable. A new bamboo floor installation may cost $2000, and could result in offers as much as $30,000 above the realtor-suggested price. If you decide to keep the flooring you have, especially if it’s carpeted, hire professionals to clean. Often the same company will do upholstery at the same time. Making everything “fresh” can improve buyers’ overall impression of your home. Polish hardwood floors and ensure that any linoleum or vinyl flooring is in top-notch condition.

  1. Declutter, declutter, declutter: Create space in your house for potential buyers to picture their own furniture and personal items. Get plenty of plastic bins and rent a storage space. Over the next few months, move whatever you don’t use every day to the storage unit, including large furniture pieces, personal photographs, and excess books/magazines. This is also the time that you might want to look around and see if there’s a way to create work or living spaces -- a small desk in the kitchen, or a reading nook under the stairs, for example. If you have the funds, hire a stager just before you put the house up for sale.


  1. Start Planning Your Own Move: One of the best things about having this kind of time to prepare your house for sale is that you’ll be ready for your own move. Spend some time at the storage unit sifting through those things that you’ve been living without for months. You might be able to permanently remove them from your life; this will make your own move much easier, and make setting up your new house a pleasure. You’ll also want to start talking to a mortgage broker to discuss mortgage portability and get the best rate possible.

Using the time you have now to prepare for the spring market can save you money and stress, especially if there are major repairs required. Once everything is set up and ready to go, you’ll be poised to sell as soon as the market starts to heat up, getting well ahead of the competition.

If you require help with a home equity loan to pay for repairs or renovations in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, or need advice on mortgage portability, call Tracy Bennett’s team at the Mortgage Architects at 1-866-896-8570, or use our contact form.


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