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895 Don Mills Road
Suite 202
Toronto, ON M3C 1W3
Cell: 416-708-0556
Fax: 416-391-0310
Work Phone: 416-391-3232
Email Michelle



As a realtor, it would be nice if everyone had 10s of thousands of dollars to update a home and pay for staging before putting your house on the market to get top dollar. The reality is, however, that most people don’t have a lot of money to invest in their homes just before selling it.

Here are 11 ways to up the selling price of your home without spending thousands of dollars.


porch.jpgEvery buyer I have ever met appreciates a clean home: all parts of the home. Make sure the kitchen and washrooms sparkle.  Get the oven cleaner out and clean your oven. Yes, potential buyers do open oven doors, kitchen cabinets and your fridge.  Dazzle them with your cleanliness. Apart from the fact that people like things clean it telegraphs to a potential buyer that your home has been loved and taken care of.


If you have a front porch and yard make them look inviting. Clean them up; put a couple of chairs on the porch. Plant some flowers. When a buyer walks into your house you want them to already have a positive impression of your home.


paint tins.jpgPaint. Paint. Paint. I can’t say it often enough. No other improvement is as cost effective and transformative as paint. Leave your personal taste at the curb. It isn’t about your taste anymore. Ask your realtor about colours. We see people’s reaction to colour day after day and we know what people like and what they don’t like. Remember you can’t please everyone every time but you want to please most of the people most of the time. More importantly, you don’t want to totally turn off anyone with that fabulously dramatic black wall.


If your kitchen counters are a mess, change them. I know what you’re thinking. Countertops are expensive to change. Well, they don’t have to be. If you have a chipped, permanently worn formica countertop you need to get rid of it. I have yet to meet a buyer who hates butcher block. Most people like it and just about everyone is prepared to “live with it till we can afford to change it”. The reality is that granite, for example, is expensive and you run the risk of spending all that money and people still not liking your choice. In fact, I don’t even pay for butcher block. I save money by purchasing Ikea wooden table tops in 5 foot sections at just over $100 per section. People still call it a butcher block countertop but at less than half the price.


If your house is dark, make another trip to Ikea for lighting. If you can afford to change dated light fixtures that’s great and worth it but if not, buy extra lighting. In a dark house, turn on every light you can for showings.  Don’t buy the lightbulbs that take time to heat up and fully light up. They’re great but your buyer is out of the room by the time the bulb is up to full candlepower.  And, back to the paint section: don’t paint the rooms in a colour to make them even darker!


While you’re at Ikea, pick up some nice, inexpensive bedspreads and then make sure your bed is made before you leave the house each day so people can admire them. And yes, your buyer will open your closet doors, so don’t stuff them full. People will think there is inadequate storage in the home.


Take a walk around your house with a critical eye. When I show a house or condo, I’m doing that on behalf of my clients. Badly mitred baseboards get my attention. Cracked tiles get everyone’s attention. Holes in the wall suggest you don’t care for your home. I fix badly mitred corners and gaps between drywall and wood with paintable caulking. Costs a couple of dollars and one finger smoothing it on before painting. 


Discover Re-Store. Have an ugly washroom vanity? Turn to Re-Store first. Frankly a large number of people want to personalize their homes to their own tastes. They remove perfectly nice vanities and donate them to Habitat for Humanity who sells them for so much less than retail.


Use your imagination. I once had a client whose yellow retro looking kitchen formica counter had cracks around the edges. There wasn’t the money to replace that much countertop.  I bought metal carpet edging and screwed it around the edges of the counter. Cost $20. Covered up the cracking and made the retro counter even more cool looking.


patio.jpgNeed to freshen up your yard?  There are always FREE patio stones available on Kijiji and Cragslist. People put in patios or use stone for a driveway and have extras left over. Taking them to the dump costs a fortune so many people are happy to give them away free if you’ll just come and get them.  Make an inviting little path in your yard. Lay them against the side of a house where water is draining into your basement to run the water away from your home.  In fact I could write a book on the number of kijiji items I’ve purchased and used to help a house show better. Just don’t buy soft items. The presence of someone else’s bed bugs will kill a sale in a nanosecond.


If your house is cluttered, declutter it.  Rent a storage locker if you can. Clutter makes things look smaller and in real estate, space is money.  As well, a cluttered room makes buyers think that the house is too small for them. It isn’t even that your visitor doesn’t know what you’ve done; they aren’t stupid. It’s about the impression it gives. I once showed a beautifully decluttered home but when we opened the garage door it was full to the brim with boxes. The owner had put a sign up in front of the boxes that read, “Of course we had clutter. Doesn’t everyone?” My clients and I had a good laugh and appreciated their honesty and, more importantly, the clutter was divorced from the impression of the home which was clean, clutter free and seemed large. Job well done with humour and no money.


The best thing you can do for yourself is to leave yourself enough time to freshen up your house before you put it on the market. And please, talk to a realtor before you do anything to your home. Ask them what they would suggest. Actually, having this conversation with a realtor will tell you a lot about the nature of your realtor and whether or not the two of you are a good match as well as helping you not to spend money on things that won’t pay off for you in the long run.

I know from years of experience that doing some of these things can literally add thousands of dollars to the sale price of your home and make your home sell faster with fewer showings. And who doesn’t want fewer showings and more money?