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Ottawa, Ontario
K1Z 8N8

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The Importance of First Impressions

Happy February,

Well--we are getting close to March and that is close to April and then we are home free. Really I don't mind winter and this one in Ottawa, as well as elsewhere has had it all. Most days though have been gloriously bright and the snow, although plentiful has had a fresh clean look (because it snows most days!!)
As I was showing a house the other day I thought "Aha, I know what I will write about this month". I will write about the importance of first impressions. I walked up to the house and noted many gouges and dents in the garage door-from hockey or ball or poor driving skills? I noticed a rusty mail box, a dusty front door, a Christmas wreath still on the door. Now right away I am prepared for a poorly maintained and tired interior. It wasn't quite as bad as I thought, but it wasn't good. Perhaps it isn't very different from dressing for a job interview. And most people don't have to be told to dress and groom nicely for that event. Selling your home is exactly the same. Other agents always tell me that the listings we have are so nicely presented. I see that as part of our job, and a very important part.

It doesn't have to be terribly expensive to prepare your home for the market. Attend first to the walkway and front porch area. Check to see if all the little details are clean and in good working order. Then when you walk in your home ask yourself what other people might see when they come in. We get so that we don't really see our entry ways anymore, in a critical way. It is hard in the winter and we make allowance for that. In this newsletter I will talk about the kitchen and the bathroom.

If your kitchen is older and tired there are things you can do to spruce up the look. If the cupboards can be painted and new hardware added this will make a big difference. New counter tops are not expensive if you choose a laminate. Often we don't notice the scratches and even burn marks on the counters, but prospective buyers do notice. The faucet set can be inexpensively changed. New more efficient lighting can be added. If you have mismatching appliances perhaps it wise to replace the coloured ones. And of course declutter the counters. Homesense has lots of fun new items you can add to the kitchen to update the look also.

In the bathroom we often see older stained tubs. The tub can be reglazed and looks so fresh when done. I have even seen ceramic coloured tiles reglazed in white on walls and surrounding baths. You would be surprised what these people can do. Again Homesense will give you ideas for new towels and a few accessories to freshen the bathroom. Don't forget to put away all your "lotions" etc. They needn't be on display (if your home is for sale) The thought of spending maybe in total a few thousand dollars is daunting to most people, but these kinds of changes will save thousands in the sale price. The buyer will be sure to note the changes and think,"This is good, we don't have to do anything". If they think, "Oh we have to do the kitchen and the baths and that will cost us thousands and thousands." Well that isn't good for the Homeowner. And you never get a second chance to make a first impression, just like the job interview.

Next month we will talk about the other rooms and easy fix ups. Our sellers always say, "We wish we had done this for our enjoyment rather than the new people". We had an electrician in for a day to attend to all sorts of little things and to add a few outlets (We live in an older house). It was good not only from the convenience of more outlets but to be assured our wiring is safe.

I am writing this on "Family Day"--I guess it is a good idea. I know it is nice to have a quiet day in mid February and hopefully families were able to spend some time together, not always that easy though is it? Talk to you next month.
Mary, David and John

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