In the latest issue of Consumer Reports magazine there was an intesting article on improving your homes value before you list it. They constucted a panel of over 300 real estate professionals and surveyed them, asking their opinions and coming up with a top 5 list. Keep in mind that there is a "sweet spot" between doing nothing and over improving. Somewhere between screwing down a loose board on your dock and installing an olympic size pool in the back yard is are improvements that will make sense. Even though it was done for the housing market, it's just as applicable to selling Muskoka Parry Sound cottages.
Keep in mind that many times home and cottage improvements won't make you money, there will quite often be no return on your investment, perhaps just a break even. What it could do however is make your property stand out from the pack and depending on market conditions, that could be very valuable. In all cases, the juice has to be worth the squeeze.
1. Clean up and Clear Out
Over 40% of the Real Estate Industry people surveyed said that failing to remove dirt, smells and clutter were the costliest mistakes home-sellers make and we couldn't agree more. This would at first to be obvious but time and time again I go to show a property and find everything from over flowing kitty litter to last weekends empties everywhere. Smell is a powerful memory sense and even if the cottage checks off many of a potential Buyer's boxes, bad odors and clutter can knock your place from their short list in a heart beat.
2. Spruce Up the Kitchen
When folks picture themselves with family and friends at their cottage the two places that they envision are on the Dock / Deck and in the kitchen. This concept is underlined by the repeated coments we hear on how couples would like kitchens to be open to the rest of the living area so they can interact with people easier. You don't need to spend a fortune, it just needs to be clean, functional and everything should work. Keep things in perspective, a $10,000 kitchen upgrade on a $200,000 starter cottage is questionable but if it's a 2 million dollar jaw dropper it might just be worth while.
3. Freshen Up the Bathroom
Nasty bathrooms are just.....nasty. We are, for the most part, past the "out house era" so spend a little time with the caulking gun and scub brush. If the tiles need re-grouting, it's something that most people can do themselves for very little and can make a hugh differance. Once again, the amount of time and money you spend that makes sense depends on your situation.
4. Paint Rooms - Selectively
A fresh coat of paint can be the quickest way to transform a room cost effectively so spending some time with a roller could be very worth while. Whites and off whites tend to attact most buyers; the neutral palette allows them to focus on a home's atttributes. Take your time and do it right, a bad paint job can be worse then none at all. Don't forget about the decks and docks, a bit of stain can go a long way.
5. Enhance the Exterior
Waterfront is the reason people want to buy a cottage but many times it's completely overlooked. Spend some time cleaning up the beachfront, rake up the leaves and remove fallen branches. If there's a firepit, empty it out make sure there's a supply of firewood close by. Check out the dock, make sure it's safe and tighten any screws that may have worked loose. Chairs sitting on the dock are ALWAYS good. There is no place I would rather see a client then sitting on a Muskoka chair at the end of a dock, it's inevidebly a good sign.