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Archives > April 2015

Updating Kitchens and Bathrooms

Written by Jill Gargus, CID

Kitchens and bathrooms do help sell houses, although not the main deciding factor, they are strong contenders when buyers consider what property they will now call home. Buyers consider these rooms when they are house hunting because of the difficulty of renovating them and the expense that would be required. If you have been diligent in the upkeep and upgrades of your home then this week’s notes will not be as difficult. However, if you have never updated your home or maintained the repairs in the baths and kitchens, then this could be a pricy section!

Truth be told, you will pay to do upgrades in these rooms, either when it comes time to sell and you have to reduce the price to reflect the work needed, or over the years while you live there and have been paying to maintain and upgrade.

Homeowners typically should be spending 1-3% of their market value every year to upgrade and maintain their property in good condition. So if this has not been done, it will need to be.

What types of upgrades can you do?

  • Updating Appliances in all the same color, this includes the hood fan, especially if they are more than 10 years old.
  • Replace or Repair all damaged tiles or flooring
  • Repaint kitchen cabinets (or do touch ups)
  • Consider a kitchen update if they are older than 7 years. New kitchens price at $5,000 and up, depending on if you are installing them yourself. This is not recommended for beginners no matter how keen you are!
  • Install new countertops or call Granite Transformations for a granite looking overlay that is less than the price of real granite
  • Update flooring, even a small bathroom looks like a new world with brand new floors
  • Update light fixtures
  • Paint the ceilings
  • Take off old tiles in the bathtub or shower and add a new surround. A simple do it yourself kit can be purchased for around $300.00
  • Add under cabinet lighting
  • Add new shower faucets and shower rods
  • Re-grout your existing tile if it is still in good shape, adding a new grout color can go far
  • Fresh paint colors in warm neutrals make a room look 100 x better for a small investment of time and money
  • Update faucets to the latest trends
  • Tighten all knobs, or replace for a modest cost. Knobs range from $3.00 to over $10.00 per piece, so it is a small investment for a great improvement
  • Replace toilet seats, especially if they are cracked, wooden or themed
  • Add new blinds or window coverings
  • New sinks, curtain rods and towel bars also make a great first impression


You are giving the buyers every reason to buy your house

, so carefully consider the first impression and ask yourself what do you look for when you are the buyer? How do you compare houses when you are the buyer? Then create a property that will attract buyers. It’s as simple as that.

Overpricing FAIL    

Your financial needs do not dictate asking price

Recently, we have had 3 properties that have been overpriced and staged, against my professional advice. As I have been so clear on this point with my clients, I still cannot force their choices on what they think their home is worth. Despite both realtors telling them the correct pricing, they insisted on “trying it higher”. The both have their financial needs/ issues driving these choices.

There are multiple problems with this scenario, first being that they are shooting themselves in the foot and second they are assuming they know the market better than a professional Agent. Their refusal to take solid sound advice has worked against them.

The Result? Well, instead of selling in record time (our Staged days on market in September was 11 compared to 56 in the Edmonton Real Estate Board) they sat for months and months, Paying double mortgage payments and double carrying costs. As well, they were behind the 8 ball trying to chase the market, while qualified buyers viewed their homes and SAW they were overpriced and moved on to buy other properties. They both lost the summer markets and paid for staging rentals for more months than was necessary.

Then, guess what? All 3 Sellers opted to take out their staged rental package. Big mistake, because now, both Agents have called me and told me of the new challenges they face in trying to sell these now stale listings.

Agent #1 called and said that the home that did look like a show home, was now just another empty box and that his open houses were met with disappointment when the buyers came expecting to see the staged home ( as the gorgeous MLS photos displayed). Buyers commented with questions like “where is all the furniture?” “Wasn’t this home staged? We came to see it because of the pictures.”

This Agent was put in an awkward position in having to answer these questions and it makes the Seller look bad too. It’s essentially false advertising. This home went through multiple price reductions to finally reach the actual value and took over 7 months to sell when it shouldn’t have. The other mistake I truly believed stalled this sale was that the Seller tried to sell it themselves before staging or calling an Agent, but that’s another BLOG!

Agent #2, had 2 staged listings, and this situation happened to her twice. She also called me after the staging was removed, but with a bit of a different story. She said that now her showings were being booked and then during and after them, the AGENTS who showed the home called her and reemed her out for having staged photos up in a non-Staged home. I totally see their points. This happened to her 4 x between the 2 homes.

Those agents, bringing buyers, are putting staged homes at the top of the list because they show SPECTACULAR. And this sets the bar for all the rest of the showings, ultimately resulting in a Staged home getting sold faster than every other house.

However, these Agents had built up the excitement to the buyer only to be met with empty rooms. Both properties also overpriced and having had 2 price reductions, are still for sale, and now empty.

In one of these cases the Seller’s FRIENDS are telling him how much its worth and none of them are in Real Estate. How Absurd! It always boggles my mind when people deem themselves to be experts in a field they have never worked in.



All the staging money and rentals were lost at this house too, because now the seller needs to have empty room photos re-posted so that he can honestly present what the home looks like today- EMPTY.


Sellers who invest in Staging and Rentals need to think with their heads and take the advice of professionals. This is not a game, it’s the REAL ESTATE market and buyers aren’t stupid, they won’t overpay for homes and they want to view property that is presented well. Staging allows for emotional connection and buyers will pay a premium for that, but not over that.


It is totally within a Seller’s right to get the highest price for their home, but overpricing is not the means to that end. It is serious business this real estate thing and as much as I understand that Seller’s have financial issues and are trying to pay off all debts in the sales of their homes, I have said it before and I will say it again, ” Your financial needs do not dictate asking price!” You are only hurting yourself when you overprice.