Early 2021 was a crazy time for Ottawa real estate — an incredibly strong seller’s market like we’ve never seen before. Now that the market is cooling down a bit, buyers will not go for just any property. Investing in some desirable home features will make your home stand out to potential buyers.
Before you put your house on the market, take some time, as a home seller, to investigate what features buyers are looking for and even the average cost in Ottawa today. Here is Paul Rushforth’s unique take on the subject.
What Are Some Top Home Features That Buyers Find Appealing?
Always a top consideration for prospective buyers is Ottawa’s great neighbourhoods, a home’s location has taken on a new meaning due to COVID. Being close to work or public transportation is less of an issue than a couple of years ago since so many folks are now working from home. These days, the most critical aspect of location is the property your home is situated on.
With a cooler market, buyers are more likely to take the time to drive by your house before visiting. So make sure they like what they see. Mow the lawn, clean up the yard, put out some planters — these are all easy ways to add curb appeal.
Backyards are super important. Before, you could get away with an average backyard when selling, but outdoor living space has become crucial with people cooped up at home. Today buyers love and are attracted by spacious yards with special features like firepits. They want a place where their kids can be kids. (Of course, this may change as COVID is phased out. Time will tell.)
2. Swimming Pool
In the past, a backyard pool tended to be something that most buyers were indifferent to or even turned off by. But, post-pandemic, everybody wants a swimming pool. Beautiful outdoor areas with a swimming pool and exterior lighting is a fantastic way to sell your house.
3. Feature Rooms
The rooms you actually live in, what I call the “heart” of the home, should be in excellent shape — especially rooms where you entertain. Of course, the kitchen is the most crucial room, followed by the family room, bathroom(s), and master bedroom with a walk in closet.
The best way to upgrade your house before selling is to get rid of all the clutter. Creating more dedicated space will make your home show bigger than other properties which are the same size. It also gives buyers the feeling that the place has been well-kept and adequately taken care of. Besides, lots of natural light allows the home inspector to do their job and see that you’re not hiding any defects.
A fresh coat of paint is something that’s very, very desirable. When you start depersonalizing your house for sale, taking down pictures and other personal items, your walls will look terrible. So go ahead and paint. It will create a good impression when today’s buyers walk through your house (even though they will probably redo it as soon as someone buys your house!).
6. Light Fixtures
Installing new light fixtures is another way to upgrade the look of your home without spending a fortune. Not only are interior and exterior lighting an eye-catching feature, but the right lighting will also show your home off in the most flattering way.
If you have carpet, get rid of it, especially if it’s worn. Nobody wants carpets these days. Of course, hardwood flooring is still a tremendously popular selling feature, but whatever type of new flooring or old, it’s got to be clean and well maintained.
Which Home Features Are Over-Hyped?
No buyers want, or care about insulation. It’s hidden away in the attic; they want tangible, visible features.
If a seller says they’re considering major renovations or major home improvement projects, my thought is almost always, “Why don’t you just decrease your price and sell it as is?” Because you’re not going to get your money back. If you put 20, 30, or 40 thousand dollars into adding a kitchen island, you won’t get 20, 30, or 40 thousand more on your property.
If you renovate, renovate for yourself, not when you’re preparing to put your house on the market.
What Is A Big Buyer Turnoff?
A compartmentalized home is a major turnoff, in my experience. I’m talking about one with all sorts of different rooms, like the older homes tend to have — living room over here, dining room and closed kitchen over there—people like open space, with an open, spacious flow.
Are Any Home Features Affected By Home Inspection?
A home inspector is never going to comment on a nice-looking kitchen or those types of home features. The home inspection is only looking for deficiencies in extremely important home features like plumbing or electrical, grading, foundations, moisture, insulation, things like that — which the buyer can’t see.
As I mentioned previously, it’s essential that the home inspector has access to all areas of the house and that nothing is blocked off with boxes or other clutter.
How Do Home Features Impact The Strategy Of Selling The Home?
This is where the right real estate agent is invaluable in selling your home. We will highlight your home’s desirable features and make them pop.
The written description has to be worded just right, using terms that we call “push buttons” to showcase what you have. For example, just saying, “gorgeous kitchen” or “walk in closet” has no push. Instead, we need to develop a better description, like “gourmet, designer, elegant kitchen.”
My team is thoroughly trained, down to the so-called little things like doing a write-up properly. We study push words that attract buyers. What are the words that buyers are looking for? What words will make that buyer feel like they want to see that kitchen or bathroom? Or that living room or that backyard?
High-quality professional photography is necessary, as well. A well-written description together with carefully planned photos makes for a winning strategy that will get your home sold.
We Get Homes Sold
The Paul Rushforth team is skilled and experienced at attracting prospective home buyers. With our fingers on the pulse of today’s Ottawa real estate market, we can tell you what the most desired home features are and what it’ll take to sell your home successfully. Talk to us about our selling strategies, for newly constructed homes or existing ones, that will get your home sold — fast and for the right price.