Top 5 Home Staging Tips

In many city centres across Canada, housing prices are at an all-time high and still climbing. According to home staging expert Alyssa Tavazoie of Alyssa Interiors in Toronto, if you want your house to look like it's worth every penny of the (substantial) sum you're asking, putting your home's best foot forward -- and then some -- is a must. Here are some of Tavazoie's tried-and-true home staging tips:



1. Depersonalize. A potential homebuyer needs to picture herself in your rooms, and quirky decorating or pictures of the kids hurts the illusion. Remove all family photos and, if necessary, paint brightly coloured walls a more neutral shade.


2. Make sure everything in the house is in top condition. No torn screens, cracked plaster or burnt out pot lights. You may have gotten used to seeing them, so tour your house with a critical eye (or ask someone else to), and repair anything that needs it.


3. Chandeliers. One of Tavazoie's favourite low-cost, high-return investments is chandeliers. "People think you have to spend a fortune on lighting, but you can go to any big box store and get beautiful ones for, at most, a few hundred dollars," she says. "Many houses don't have enough lighting to begin with, so if you're having the electrician in anyway, have more overhead fixtures installed -- or at least buy some great lamps."
 

 

4. Be aware of scale in the house when it comes to furnishings. You might have a giant sofa that you love, but if it makes the room look small, it has to go. Aim for small groupings of furniture (ideally more than one in a room, especially a large one), with plenty of space around them.

5. A clean kitchen. Kitchen counters should be clear and clutter-free. A single bowl or vase holding cooking utensils is okay, but that's about it. Store small appliances in cupboards if you must.

 


Top 5 Renovations

renovated condo

    Working as a real estate agent in Mississauga is a real joy for me.  I’m often showing a condo to a buying client and I get a chance to study their reactions to the condo I’m showing.  Sometimes they can be really excited, other times they are indifferent and on occasion they are repulsed.  Let’s focus on the renovation’s that gets a buyer excited about making an offer for a Mississauga condo.

1.  Lighting

    Lighting can be vague as a description, but generally people want a small boxed space to feel open and aerie.  Lighting of the space both natural and artificial is crucial to achieving this effect.  The choice of window coverings is usually governed to some extent by the condominium rules, however blinds, drapes and shutters of the highest quality and in tasteful colours (usually neutral) makes a good impression.

California Shutters when closed can block out much of the sunlight during the day which is good for people wanting absolute darkness for sleeping or even privacy, while when opened fully can reveal the full glory of the condos view of the city.  Automated window coverings that open and close with the touch of a button takes things to the next level of impressiveness.

Modern lighting (such as chandeliers and pot lights) made of glass, crystal, stainless steel, brushed nickel or fabric can set the mood for showings.  Buyers not only want to be able to see the space, but also appreciate if the light fixtures have been upgraded from the 1980’s ceiling ball or brass coloured fixtures.

2.  Smart Storage Solutions

    Imagine you have lived in a detached house and then were to move into a condo with a livable area that equates to half of what you were used to.  Downsizing is inevitable, but not always practical.  Certain space is reserved as storage in a Mississauga condo.  Finding ways of maximizing this storage spaces potential is huge plus for potential buyers. 

Closet dividers and custom made organizers or ones you can find at places such as Ikea can make your condo stand out from the rest.   Buyers will see the value added to your condo versus the competition.  Also, a well-organized condo that is neat and clean will always give a good impression that the owner has probably kept the good care of the place. Typical places of upgrading storage are the walk in closets, bedroom closets, linen closets, laundry room, kitchen pantry and coat closets.  Also, if you kind spare un-used space adding extra storage to bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms will also catch the buyer’s eye.

3.  Hardwood Flooring

    Hardwood flooring throughout the condo is becoming pretty much a norm now for buyer’s expectations.  It’s easier to clean and also is better for people with allergies.  It also looks superior to the old fashioned shag carpet of the 70’s and early 80’s.  It’s more durable than broadloom, looks better than the parquet that might be the original flooring and is real, not fake such as engineered hardwood or laminate which is so common in the new build Mississauga condos.  Colour choice will depend on your overall interior design scheme, but make sure you get at least 4” width, as anything smaller looks cheap.

4.  Bathrooms

    Many older Mississauga condos are in dire need of upgrading the bathrooms.  This in definitely one of the places the condo buyers get repulsed at.  Often over time owners have neglected to do basic maintenance so things like mildew form, tiles work gets cracked or falling off, drywall may be bubbling, toilets look as though you are at a truck stop, doors are falling off the hinge, flooring is outdated or dirty.   Upgrading the sinks, lighting, mirrors, fixtures, cabinets, toilets, bathtubs, walk in’s and tile work…basically the whole enchilada.  Buyers know bathrooms are expensive and that’s why they want to see at the very least a well maintained clean and organized bathroom.  What they really want is a modernly upgraded bathroom with materials like granite for the countertops and nice clean lines and neutral colours for the tile work.

5. Kitchens

    Both men and women are at home at the kitchen these days.  So it stands to reason that upgrading this one space which will probably benefit either of the sexes is a good place to put your money.  Large tiling for the floors, hard durable granite for the counter tops, custom cabinetry with easy closing drawers and lighting under the cabinets.  Stainless steel appliance and combination range hood with microwave is smart to keep countertops open.

 


Annual Elementary School Rankings Released for 2011-2012 School Year

 

Where you go to school can have a big impact on the quality of education you receive, a new report on the province’s elementary schools finds.

The Fraser Institute Elementary School Report Card for 2013 suggests that provincial test results vary widely by school, even when external factors such as family income and the gender ratio of students is taken into account.

 

The report, which was released Sunday morning, ranked 2,714 public, Catholic and francophone elementary schools on the basis of provincial test scores in reading, writing and math in Grades 3 and 6.  Download your copy here

 

The report found that in some schools more than 70 per cent of students tested below the provincial average while at the top schools less than five per cent did.

The number one ranked school was Hillmount Public School near McNicoll Avenue and Don Mills Road, where just 0.8 per cent of students tested below the provincial average.

 

“Even when we take into account factors such as the students’ family background—which some believe dictate the degree of academic success that students can enjoy in school—some schools do better than others. This finding confirms the results of research carried out in other countries,” the report states. “Indeed, it will come as no great surprise to experienced parents and educators that the data consistently suggest that what goes on in the schools makes a difference to academic results and that some schools make a greater difference than others.”

Schools within the Toronto District School Board were given an average grade of 6.4 out of 10 in the rankings while schools within the York Region District School Board recieved an average grade of 7.2, which put that school board amongst the highest scoring boards in the province. Schools in Durham, Peel and Halton regions scored an average of 5.8, 6.3 and 6.8 respectively.

 

On average 28.4 per cent of provincial test results studied for the purpose of the rankings were below the provincial average, suggesting that Ontario schools still have a ways to go.

The report urged those schools with low or deteriorating test results to use the data as an "opportunity for improvement,” but at least one school board official says the data doesn’t paint a full picture and is of limited use to schools and parents alike.

 

“To rank the schools in this way gives a false image of our education system. It tends to encourage parents to withdraw their kids from schools that are low and try to enroll them in schools that are high and it can skew the results,” Toronto District School Board Trustee Howard Kaplan told CP24 Sunday morning.

The Fraser Institute report is based on data from the Education Quality and Accountability Office tests given to students across the province each year.

Speaking with CP24, Kaplan said the data was not intended to be used to rank schools.

“The standardized testing was never meant to be used to rank schools and if you look at it on a school-by-school basis it is not entirely accurate,” he said. “Just a few gifted children in Grade 3 or Grade 6 can skew the results up or a few kids with learning disabilities could skew the results down.

 

Some schools making big strides

In addition to providing an overall ranking of schools, the report also provided a list of the 20 fastest improving schools in the province.

That list included six Toronto schools, including number one ranked Stella Maris Catholic School and number two ranked Heron Park Junior Public School.

"Our report shows that all schools are capable of improvement, regardless of the personal or family challenges their students might face. If educators want to help students learn and improve, they should be talking to these schools,” Fraser Institute Director of School Performance Studies Peter Cowley said in a press release. “"By pinpointing the subject areas in which individual schools are improving or declining and how their academic performance compares to that of other Ontario schools over the past five years, our report helps parents and educators prioritize learning challenges in their schools.”

 


Tips For Listing Your Property

   Every buyer seems to be looking for an open kitchen next to a family room. And, in general, they want a space to feel fresh and updated; French doors always do that trick. They’re an easy way to open up a small, dated room. They’ll likely cost around $5,000 to $6,000, or double that if they’re being installed in a brick wall.

 

DITCH THE NAUTICAL THEME
   Buyers have a hard time seeing past aesthetics, and most people’s tastes aren’t universal.You’ll want to emphasize brightness with lots of white. The furniture and finishes should be neutral to appeal to the masses—even if you hate that look.

 

FOR BUYERS: DEMYSTIFYING THE DECORATOR’S FEE
   A consultation by an interior designer can range from an hourly rate to a flat fee of up to roughly $2,000, depending on the size of the house and the designer’s experience. The bill can be off-putting, but it will often include things like a customized floor plan, swatches of fabric, paint chips and a storyboard. You get the full sense of what the room is going to look like, and what will and will not have an impact. It’s a complete vision. Make sure when you’re hiring someone that you feel in sync with their style. After you have a frank discussion about the budget and put together your wish list, pass over your trust and let the designer come up with a plan.

 

*** The More affordable Option *** 

   Set up an appointment with Sutton Home Staging - Staging on a budget . The consultation is Free, and they will be able to fill your vacant property to give it that "cozy lived in feel". It's easier for potential buyers to see themselves living in your home if they can visualize where the furniture is set, and how to best utilize the space. 

 

 Sutton Staging, photography by HomeviewPhoto

 

AND IF YOU DON’T HAVE $50,OOO TO SPEND ON A KITCHEN RENO
   A quick and easy fix is to paint kitchen cabinets white!

 

 

 

Moving? We have an excellent Team to Help -- Stages and Master Renovators that can work with Your Budget!

Free Market Evaluations: 
http://www.suttonrealty.com/Free_Home_Evaluation/page_135323.html

Sutton GTA Real Estate Office 416-896-3333

Homeviewphoto photography:  http://www.homeviewphoto.com/