Homes are staying on the market longer in the Greater Toronto Area, but a popular outdoor design expert suggests sellers shouldn’t despair.
Although on average GTA homes sold in March stayed on the market for 20 days, up from the 10 observed during the same month last year, HGTV celebrity designer Carson Arthur says home improvements can help a home move—but not every improvement will max your return on investment, and some can even turn potential buyers off.
“If you’re a seller, you really want to be smart about the types of renovations that you’re doing,” he tells Harvey Kalles Real Estate. Here are three things to keep in mind when sprucing up your property before listing.
Look out front
There may be a tendency to focus on kitchen and bathroom renos, but Arthur recommends steering clear of this if a seller wants to get the most for their money. He says it’s better to focus on external touches, from landscaping to new windows and doors. Kitchen and bathroom design trends are constantly changing and tastes are different, meaning this type of reno can actually turn off a buyer.
“Obviously, curb appeal reigns supreme,” he explains. In fact, he says research shows that the first impression of a property is made in 11 seconds and can be worth up to 8 per cent of a home’s value. Millennials in particular are concerned with how a home looks. They even care more about that then the location, he says.
Add a deck
The backyard can benefit from some love, too. A wood deck is a good investment because you’re creating usable space, says Arthur. Savvier real estate agents are including the square footage of these places in the home’s total living space, he notes.
Condo owners can benefit from laying down some wood on their concrete balcony or terrace. “It makes the space feel more livable. It makes the space feel like a room as opposed to a place to store stuff you don’t want to keep inside,” he explains. “One of the biggest mistakes condo owners make is not… staging the balcony,” he adds.
Take care of the little details
Weeds sprouting from cracks in a driveway can be more than an eyesoar. Prospective buyers will take that little detail as a sign of how well taken care of the rest of the home is, so take care of the driveway—repave it if you need to—and weed that lawn while you’re at it. If you’re going to do any landscaping, make it low-maintenance. “Keep it simple. Keep it clear,” Arthur advises. “It makes a house feel friendly and warm but at the same time not like it’s going to be a lot of work.”