The strong voice of a great community
November, 2012

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  Preparing your home for sale


If you’ve decided to sell your home, it’s time to start thinking like a buyer.  Ask yourself what you can do to improve your home and property to make it as appealing as possible to potential buyers.


Giving your home ‘curb appeal’ will improve its saleability which is something your Realtor can help you with. The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and your local Realtor offer the following tips and low cost suggestions to attract potential buyers and to sell your home quickly, for the best possible price.


First impressions count

The outside of the home speaks volumes about what the inside may look like.  Often potential buyers won’t get past the front door if the outside of a home looks run down or shabby.  Your Realtor may suggest some simple quick fixes like applying a fresh coat of paint to the garage door, planting flowers or shrubs and cleaning the windows.  Quick fixes are worth the minimal investment as they not only increase the saleability of your home, but could potentially add value equal to or more than what you spent on them.


With that in mind, your Realtor will likely caution you to stick to minor improvements.  Bigger, more expensive renovations or repairs are usually reflected in a home’s price, so if you’ve done any major updating to your home, you’ll want to give careful consideration to all of your investments.


What’s most important is that your home looks well-cared for and maintained.  Take a close look around the outside of your home and assess what needs to be done. Things like fixing window screens, replacing the odd loose roof shingle and repairing door hinges are relatively simple and advice is available at your local home improvement centre.


Mind the inside

Take a tour of the inside of your home to see what needs to be cleaned, cleared out, or repaired.  Rooms will appear larger and more inviting when you remove bulky or unused furniture and rearrange the remaining pieces to make the best use of space.


You want potential buyers to walk through the house and visualize the space as their own. To help them along, your Realtor will suggest that you “depersonalize” your home as much as possible. 


A checklist of everything you need to do to prepare your home for sale can be found in the Ontario Real Estate Association’s booklet, How to Sell your Home.  For a free copy, contact OREA at 1-800-563-HOME or check with your local Realtor.




Take it outside:

Outdoor kitchens becoming a popular home improvement

A kitchen is often referred to as the ‘heart of the home.’ Perhaps that explains why outdoor kitchens have been gaining popularity with homeowners. An extra kitchen outdoors expands your living space and allows you to spend more time outside during the warmer months, while adding value to your home. If you’re thinking about adding an outdoor kitchen to your backyard, consider the following tips and suggestions care of the Ontario Real Estate Association and your local Realtor.

Start with a plan. Your outdoor kitchen plan should take into account location, layout, size and style just like an indoor kitchen plan.  Many of the same principles of functional design will also apply.  Depending on the extent of your project, it’s probably best to check your local building and fire regulations before you begin.

In order to select the most suitable location, think about how you will use your kitchen.  Also consider the weather and prevailing wind patterns in your area.  When it comes to the size of your kitchen, ask yourself if you will be cooking by yourself most of the time or if you need space for others to help out.



Next, consider your outdoor kitchen’s proximity to your indoor kitchen.  One of the easiest ways to tie your outdoor kitchen into the rest of the house is to build onto an existing deck or patio. Just ensure that your grill is far enough away from the house to avoid smoke or heat damage. If you plan on using your kitchen year-round, an overhang to shelter the area from rain and good lighting are worthwhile investments.

Features and furniture

A simple outdoor kitchen can consist of a grill, work surface, and dining area, but there are many additional features available.  An outdoor refrigerator will allow you to keep food and beverages close by and a side burner is another handy option for boiling corn without having to heat up the house.  A functional sink and faucet are an added bonus but your plan will need to accommodate plumbing hook-ups.



More elaborate outdoor kitchens can include pizza ovens, specialty grills, smokers and fireplaces.  Many outdoor kitchens incorporate a living area complete with sofas, weatherproof televisions and speakers.  When choosing outdoor furniture, look for durable, low-maintenance and weather-resistant materials.

If an outdoor kitchen is in your home improvement plans, talk to a Realtor for more advice on how to create a space that works with your lifestyle, and that could add value to your home. For additional tips on how to add value to your home, visit