January 5, 2011
Image is Everything: A Positive First Impression Can Sell Your Home
by Peter Raab
The old adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression rings true for sellers showing their homes in today’s competitive market.
“First impressions are key in real estate as buyers often make up their minds about a home within the first few minutes of entering the front door,” said Dianne Usher, senior manager, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. “As the real estate market begins to moderate in many markets across the country, the need to impress buyers becomes even more crucial. A combination of the right renovations with modern and tasteful decor is the best way to do that.”
Usher added: “A contemporary and minimalist space with neutral coloured walls and a limited number of personal items appeals to most buyers and ensures the best results when selling a home.”
8 Steps To a Successful Home Renovation
Renovating your home can be an exciting and rewarding process. Whether you are making modest changes in one or two rooms, or you are transforming the entire house into a dream of a lifetime, the process should be pleasant and smooth, that is if you take the time to plan your project carefully. The Renovation Council of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association (GVHBA), suggests that homeowners can ensure a successful renovation if they follow these 10 steps.
1) Do your homework
Advance research is the key to getting what you want. Study magazines and books to get an idea of the look you want. Visit friends, family members, and colleagues who have renovated recently. Consider lifestyle and the needs of your family, both in the short and long term. A professional renovator can help assess the feasibility.
2) Figure out how much you can afford
Once you have a firm idea of the kind of renovation you would like to undertake, it is time to decide how you are going to pay for it. If you are thinking about using outside funds, discuss your borrowing needs and options with your bank or lender. You will probably find that there are many financing possibilities to consider, from personal loans and lines of credit to home equity loans and homeowner’s mortgages.
3) Look for a professional renovator
For appropriate service and high quality, hassle free results, hire a professional renovator. Ask family and friends for recommendations. Drive around your neighbourhood to see who is renovating, then talk to the homeowners about their project. Most people are delighted to share their renovation experiences.
4) Choose a contractor
Once you have acquired names of several professional renovators, interview them. Be sure you have listed all the items that are important to you. Choose a couple of the renovators you feel most comfortable with. If you have plans and specifications, have the chosen renovators provide you with a proposal. If you do not have plans, ask the chosen renovator to provide you with a proposal and a budget for a design build project. Most professional renovators will provide a complete service including their own in house or private designers or architects. Work out a contract.
Don’t automatically take the lowest bid, unless you are certain that the renovator has properly understood what you want. Sometimes low bids turn out to be the most expensive in the end. If you accept the renovator’s offer, it’s time to write up the contract. Even the simplest of jobs should be outlined in writing because the contract is the basis of understanding between you and your renovator. Before signing the contract, read if carefully! Are you satisfied with the description of the work to be done? Does the payment schedule include holdbacks? Are the responsibilities of the renovator clearly spelled out? Remember that if something is not in the contract, then it’s your responsibility. Have a lawyer examine the contract before you sign it.
5) Plan how you will live during the renovation
Careful planning can greatly minimize inconvenience of living in the midst of a renovation. Talk to your renovator about the schedule of work to be done and how your daily routine might be affected. For instance, will the water be turned off for any length of time? Can major work be done in stages so you always have some livable space? Discuss your expectation of the work crew and determine the work environment. The crew will also need access to washroom facilities, water and electricity and decide which areas of your home are off limits.
It is a good idea to let your neighbours know that you are going to be renovating. Show them your plans and explain how long the work will be going on.
6) Establish a good working relationship with your renovator
Renovators and homeowners agree that a good working relationship is a vital ingredient in successful renovation projects. Mutual trust is essential. Keep lines of communication open at all times. Expect a brief report on the progress of your job at regular intervals, perhaps every evening. Be available to make decisions when they are needed so work is not held up, perhaps costing you more money. Don’t hesitate to bring your concerns to the attention of the renovator.
7) Try to stick to your first choices
Once work is underway, changes should be kept to a minimum. The details of your project, described in the contract, down to the finishing touches, form the basis of both the price and the schedule of your job. Changes could affect both significantly. Remember, changes to plans will most likely result in delays in completion and a change in price.
8) Be prepared to enjoy the results
Research, good planning, a professional work crew and open communication and trust is a recipe for a home renovation that you will enjoy for years to come!
This article was provided by Peter Raab. Peter strives to help each client achieve their real estate goals through open communication, understanding and integrity. Using the latest technology and having the proper systems allows Peter to maximize his client’s profitability while creating a truly positive experience. Visit him online at www.peterraab.com.