Doorsteps blog posts

Blog entry by Doorsteps

The Problem with Over-Upgrading

When you think about selling your house, the first thing that likely comes to mind is all the upgrades you wish that you’d done. You wish you’d changed the flooring in the kitchen, you wish you’d taken down the wall between the dining room and the living room. Selling your home seems like the opportune time to get those projects done so that you can get the most money on the sale of your house, right?


Absolutely wrong. Imagine this scenario. Ann inherited a house when a relative passed away, and she wanted to get the most money she could from it, so she did some serious upgrades. Initially, the estate agent estimated that the house would sell for about $150,000. Ann decided she could do better than that and spent over $60,000 putting in new flooring, new cabinetry and rewiring the entire house. After she put all that money in, the house was only able to sell for $180,000. Yes, she was able to get $30,000 more out of the house, but she actually lost money.


Over-upgrading can definitely make you lose money. When you’re selling your house, small upgrades become an absolute must. A fresh coat of paint, new window treatments, new door handles or new cabinet hardware can be a nice upgrade that can make your home look better without a lot of added expense. Remember: when you’re selling your house, you do have to put a bit of money into it, but make certain you look at the upgrades that will help you sell your home for more. 

Interested in learning more about which upgrades might help you sell your home faster? Contact us today.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Dealing with Pets While You’re Selling

It is estimated that about 68 per cent of households own at least one pet. The estimate further says that 44 percent of people own at least one dog while 35 per cent of people own at least one cat. Pets can definitely become a member of the family. They’re fun to own and can comfort you when you’re going through a rough patch. But while pets may be a family member for us, potential buyers don’t see pets as family members, but, rather, they see them as nuisances and can be a definite turn off when it comes to selling your home.

What to Do With Your Pets

If you own pets in your home there are a few things that you can do in order to conceal that fact, which then makes your home look much more intriguing to buyers. You'll want to begin by eliminating pet dishes. Any bowl that has dog or cat food in it should be tucked away in a nice little hiding spot. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feed your pets! But when you know people are coming over to view the house, pick up all of the pet food.

When it comes to toys it’s a good idea to keep them neatly out of sight. To do this, purchase a box that you use specifically for your pets toys. Keep most of the toys in the box when they’re not being played with. When you schedule a showing, use those few minutes you have to pick up any random toys and to stash the box away, out of sight. 

Cat box smell is definitely something that you’ll want to avoid. It can make your house seem completely unclean, even if it isn’t. To get rid of that smell, pack your cat up in a cat carrier to take with you for the duration of the time you’re out of the house and remove any cat litter boxes. If you can store them somewhere outside that is out of sight; that’s the best option.

Your pets may be a big part of your life, but that doesn't mean they have to be part of your buyer's life as well. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Light It Up!

There are a lot of things that you can do to make your home look good to potential buyers, but lighting is at the top of that list, and it's something most blogs and estate agents never even mention. Lighting in your home is essential. You want to show off your home to the best of your ability and by having the right lighting, you’re definitely making sure that your home looks as good as it possibly can. Here are a few tips that can help you to make sure that everything is well lit. 

1.     Clean all the draperies. Make sure that you pull down all of your drapes or curtains and clean them thoroughly. We often forget to clean our window dressings and by simply cleaning them, you’ll find that it adds a great amount of light to your home.

2.     Wash the windows. A thorough window washing does wonders to help make a home look lighter, but don’t forget to wash the outside of the windows as well as the inside! If your windows don’t tip in for easy cleaning, use a ladder or a tall squeegee to wash them. If you’re thoroughly uncomfortable washing taller windows, hire someone to get it done for you.

3.     Increase the wattage of your light bulbs. We often use lower watt light bulbs to conserve energy, but if you bump up the bulbs a bit, you’ll add a great deal more light to your home.

4.     Change the lampshades. If you have older looking lamp shades, spent a bit to get some more modern looking shades that allow more light in. The change will be much more dramatic than you may be expecting!

5.     Cut back shrubberies. If you have shrubs that are blocking any lighting, take the time to trim them back. Not only will it give your home more curb appeal, it will allow some gorgeous natural lighting into your home as well. 

By adding a bit of lighting to your home you can drastically change how your home looks. Brighter homes definitely tend to sell better, as do those marketed with Doorsteps. To learn more, contact us today. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Cleaning Out Those Closets

Everyone seems to have ideas about what you should do to your home in order to make sure that you sell it as quickly as possible, but one thing that most people don’t even think about is the closet. Think about it this way: one of the things that most prospective homebuyers check out whenever they look at a potential new home is the closet space. They want to make sure that they have enough space for their belongings. That’s why cleaning out your closets before you list your home is definitely an excellent idea.

Making it Happen

Just the thought of cleaning your closet out is enough to make some people break out in hives, but really it doesn’t have to be that hard. The first step is to go through your clothes and take everything out. Put it all on your bed (or dresser or other flat surface) and start putting the clothing back into the closet. If you pick up a piece and haven’t worn it for over two years, or longer, don’t put it back in the closet. By the time you’re done you should have cleaned out at least half of your closet space. Make sure you also remove any clutter on the floor or shelving in your closet as well.

Make sure you also check any other closets in your house. Kitchen cupboards should be cleared out of any old cans, boxes or foods and if you have a closet full of winter jackets, box them up to store elsewhere while you’re trying to sell. The same rule holds true for any other closets or shelving in your home. Get rid of any trash that you may have and anything that’s left on the shelving should be neat and tidy. The more open space you can get in your closets, the more attractive your home will look to prospective buyers.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Should You Hire a Professional Cleaner Before Selling Your Home?

You've probably heard the advice that you should completely clean your home before you even list it with Doorsteps, and there's a good reason for that. You only get once chance to make a good first impression, and a dirty home certainly won't do that for you. The real question, though, is whether you should hire a professional cleaner before you list your home.

How Much Time Do You Have?

If you're thinking of selling your home, you're probably already a bit pressed for time. Getting your house as clean as possible can be quite a chore. After all, when was the last time you actually hoovered that closet on the ground floor? If you feel like you're a bit stretched for time, it may be best to hire a professional.

 Often Overlooked Areas

Most people develop a path they clean and many spaces they tend to overlook. It's no problem until you're going to have someone exploring every space in your home. A professional cleaner, though, doesn't have the same bias you do, and that can mean a second set of eyes to ensure everything is as clean as possible.

 No Equipment Needed

The other real bonus of hiring a professional team is that you don't have to worry about investing in cleaning tools or solutions you won't use again in the near future. Instead, your team will bring everything along, without a trip to the shops to pick up anything you may have forgotten.

So, is a professional cleaner right for you? It depends, but in most cases, it's going to be worth the investment to hire someone to help you out. To learn more about how to market your home, contact us today. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Fresh Paint Can Recharge Rooms

Trying to make your home a bit more attractive to a potential buyer? It could be as easy as paint. Paint is a quick, inexpensive way to attract buyers, and these tips can help you make it happen. 

A Word About White

Don’t choose white, necessarily.  White paint on a room’s walls can have its place, but surveys have shown that homes with walls painted in colours have a bigger impact on the final sale.  The walls aren't the only factor, though. Entry doors matter too. Those in a bright colour are a pleasing asset to homebuyers.  The colour must be compatible, though.  Many people choose red doors, while others opt for blue doors.

Which Colours Will Be Best For Your Home? 

Colours can change annually or by region, but blue (light blue) was a popular choice for kitchens in 2017, while in 2016, yellow was the kitchen background option of choice.  Pale taupe, light beige, or oatmeal is considered a good choice for living room areas.  Shades of blues are considered calming and comforting, and are, therefore, often a good choice for bedrooms.  Pale greys or blues are often used in dining rooms.  A good splash of colour is needed in bathrooms where shades of blue and hues of purple are often very popular.  Don't go too deep, but don't skimp on those colours either.

Décor Plays a Role

First impressions cannot be taken lightly; they do count because, regardless of what they are – good or bad – first impressions tend to stick in people’s minds.  It is like that with first impressions of new homes, too; therefore, it is extremely important to have your home’s décor attractive and up-to-date if you want buyers to pay a premium price for it.  The colours of walls in your home are important backdrops to each room.  Generally, neutral tones, or lighter colors on the color palette wheel are the go-to colors because they can be mixed and matched with so many types of home décor.

Fresh paint offers a clean look to each room in your home.  Newly painted rooms can be attractive to prospective homebuyers, and it also tells them that’s one thing they don’t have to do immediately when they move in. For a bit more advice, contact us today. 

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Mirrors Can Help Rooms Look Bigger

Mirrors can have magical qualities.  The placement of mirrors can enhance the look of your home, providing it with a more open and spacious experience for the potential homebuyer.  For rooms that tend to be darker, they can make them lighter.  For rooms that are smaller, mirrors can make those rooms look bigger.  They can also add the feeling of luxury to a home. 

The Rules of Placing Mirrors in Your Home

In order to properly hang mirrors, you need to have a good understanding of alignment relative to the space in which you plan to place the mirror.

1. In the bedroom.  Don’t place mirrors that look at the bed.  A bedroom should be a place for rest and romance.  Mirrors are called “activators” and shouldn’t be placed in spaces designed for rest or romance, according to one feng shui expert. 

2. Across from a front door.  The thought behind this one also comes from feng shui.  An ancient Chinese philosophy believes that hanging a mirror across from your front door “will push opportunity and money out the door.”  When you’re trying to sell your home, if you believe in feng shui, a mirror placed opposite could “symbolically push potential buyers out of the house rather than draw them in.” 

3.  Don’t place a mirror too high.  If you have a fireplace, the rule of thumb is not to hang a mirror above a fireplace because it’s just too high and ends up reflecting your light fixtures. 

4.  Use a mirror as a window.  Mirrors can help spaces look larger than they are, bringing more light into a room.  If you have hallways that are dark, hang a mirror on one of the hallway walls.  An obvious choice for a mirror to act as a window would be a room that has no window, if you have one of those in your home. 

5.  In the dining room.  Especially if a dining room is small, a mirror placed within it can make it look bigger, as well as reflect light from any silver, crystal, or china serving dishes or accompaniments used.  This can brighten the dining area.

Using mirrors in your home can add a touch of magic to your rooms that might need a little help.  Consider the placement of mirrors when choosing to add them.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Three Types of Buyers

When you put your home up for sale, you can expect to get offers from a variety of buyers.  There are essentially three types of buyers:  those who intend to pay with cash outright; those who will be paying with a loan (often from a mortgage); and those who need to sell their house first to get the funds to pay for your home.

Cash Buyers

While homebuyers who can pay upfront with cash sounds like a very good deal, they might be able to negotiate a lower price, knowing that you would prefer to make the sale where there is a high degree of security and certainty from their offer.  Remember you need to get assurance from their solicitor or accountant before you accept their word that they indeed do have the cash to purchase your home.

 Extending a Mortgage

At times, an existing homebuyer will extend a mortgage on an existing property to get the money needed for a deposit on a new property.  This could involve them getting a larger mortgage on the new home than they actually need.  Homebuyers going this route will have two mortgages for a while, but if they can work with that, it is an option of getting the funds to purchase your home (their dream home).

Buyers Who Need to Sell Property First

This represents a typical situation; however, you should proceed with caution because many a deal fails to come to fruition when a want-to-be homebuyer cannot sell their existing home in a timely manner to accommodate the purchase of your home.  If you have time to wait, then so much the better for this situation because it may take some time before you are able to exchange contracts.

Be ready for a variety of offers and options from homebuyers interested in purchasing your home.  A number of scenarios can work if everything falls into place, according to the schedule that you need to finalize the purchase of your home.

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

Selling Your Home in Spring

Spring is the notoriously favourite time to sell a home.  Several reasons can be attributed for that. First, everyone is ready to get out of the house after winter’s doldrums and ready to see new things and make changes. Just as importantly, though, flowers and plants are beginning to bloom from gardens so homes with gardens are really popular. Finally, the holidays are over for a while and people have more time. Think you're ready to make that sale? Take a look at a few benefits of the season. 

Why Sell in Spring?

Spring is the busiest season for selling homes.  This is due, in part, to the warmer weather, more daylight, and the essence of the human spirit getting called to renewal from the hibernation that can set in during winter months.  Home prices are also typically higher because spring is the prime selling season when many homes get listed and come on the market.  There is a buzz around all the available properties, and that buzz often translates into more than one homebuyer wanting to purchase your home.  The demand for homes is driven by demand. 

Comparable Data Valuations

When a solicitor or conveyancer is looking to value your home, if they do so in winter, they most likely won’t have as much comparable data to draw from.  In the spring, when more homes typically sell, those that have recently sold in your neighbourhood often increase the valuation of your home.  The more local data in and around your neighbourhood that is available for comparison, the better chances your property has for an increased valuation.

Longer Days, Better Weather

When daylight hours are longer, more people have more opportunities to spend time looking at different homes on the market.  Your home will have higher chances of being seen more often in spring and summer.  When the sun is shining and flowers are blooming in and around your home, it raises the appeal of your property.

You can sell a house in any season.  Different nuances exist, however, for each season.  Make sure you take advantage of them all. Contact Doorsteps today for tips on selling your home

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Blog entry by Doorsteps

5. Light + Flowers = One Amazing Home Showing

Hoping to make your home look appealing? The windows are actually key to making that happen. Take a closer look at your windows. If they're bare, you may have a problem. Bare windows are not an appealing or inviting look to a room.  If you have any windows in your home that don’t have curtains or draperies on them, consider getting some.  This doesn’t have to be an expensive venture.  Plenty of inexpensive options are available.

But What About Natural Light?

While you want window treatments on most of the windows in your home during a showing, you will also want to leave them open and not closed.  Surveys have found that among the top five things prospective homebuyers look for in a home is natural light.  You want to showcase the natural light in your home, but you also want to have pretty window coverings for times when you want to block out the sun and/or want a modicum of privacy.  You can choose curtains, various types of blinds, or draperies (in some rooms).  The look should be aesthetically pleasing, as well as functional, to promote the best traits of the windows in your home.

One Last Touch: Colourful Plants and Flowers 

How the windows look certainly matters, but there's one other touch you can add. Utilising colourful, fresh flowers and plants can go a long way toward enhancing your home for a public viewing.  Fragrant fresh flowers can also help hide minimal bad odours that might be in your home.  Plants and colorful flowers always make rooms look more alive.  Remember to change the water every few days for fresh flowers to last longer.  A colourful bouquet set on a table in front of a window can make excellent use of that space. 

It doesn't take much to make your home inviting, but a few little touches can go a long way. To get more tips about how to make your home a bit more marketable, contact Doorsteps today! 

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