When Terreeia and I were in Toronto for my Specify Colour with Confidence™ Event in May, we had dinner with a good friend.
We were talking about the extremely hot real estate market in Toronto (and Vancouver). In the last two weeks for example, homes in Toronto are selling for up to a million dollars OVER the asking price with bidding wars everywhere.
Terreeia’s friend had her condo up for sale in Toronto in a prime downtown location. It had been on the market since December and she had not received a single offer.
I asked to see it, so she pulled it up on her phone, laughed and said “It’s probably a good example of ‘what not to do'”.
I flipped through the images and replied, “I can tell you exactly why it’s not selling”.
“The entire place is 90s, the cabinets are a ginger, orange stained wood, the floor tile and unfortunate backsplash are in varying shades of sage green (everyone had a sage green sofa in the 90’s, because that was the neutral of the moment) and the bathrooms are the same. The walls are painted a strong yellow beige which is also dated.
If you want to sell your condo now and not drop your price even more, you need to paint the cabinets white and at the very least, change out the backsplash as well as paint the entire place greige. Also, you have two screaming pink beige love seats which are very bad with the yellow beige walls. I would add white slipcovers to go with the black and white zebra rug you have in the living room.”
There’s a reason why good stagers are worth their weight in gold. Most people don’t want a DIY project, and they can’t visualize how even just a coat of fresh paint can completely transform an interior. Her condo was not even in the tuscan brown trend, it was from the era before that, making it an even harder sell.
Terreeia’s friend was moving to Arizona with her new boyfriend. She was there the following week looking at rentals and she messaged Terreeia saying “Everything down here is BROWN. I was going to keep my furniture before Maria’s assessment, now I’m leaving it in Toronto, but they sure need Maria here, haha”.
What most builders do not understand is that it’s mostly the female who makes the decision on the house. It’s the wife, who turns to her husband and says “Honey, this is the house/kitchen that I want”. A man lives to make his woman happy after all.
Now, lets flip over to the Vancouver market where I recently heard this story. A realtor was driving around with his client and the client said “This is too slow, we need a helicopter. They flew around and saw 11 properties. When they landed, the realtor turned to his client and said “Which one do you want?” The client said “I’ll take them all”.
The couple who bought Katey’s house (below) were living closer to the city in an apartment with two small children. It was the husbands dream to buy a house for his wife and family and they bought it without even seeing it in person. The wife cried tears of joy when she came to visit for the first time after their successful purchase.
Katey had found my blog right before they moved in and AFTER the major renovation had happened, which included the bathroom (below). But she made all the right colour decisions after that.
Katey and her husband had no trouble selling their house.
After Front Door: Behr Ocean, Exterior Cloverdale Sharkskin solid stain in Blueprint
Katey and her husband’s dream is to live on acreage. They had recently put an offer on a property they had found subject to selling their house and lost it. When they found the next one, they bought it without subjects and then were anxious to sell their house.
They did not need to worry. With the fresh look and feel Katey had created with just two consultations with me, she had multiple offers with realtors knocking on her door making personal pleas on behalf of their clients including letters and photos of their families.
24 hours later, their house was SOLD.
Katey’s handy husband did all the renovations himself.
Dining room after
Walls BM Classic Grey, all Trim & Cabinets SW Snowbound
This is the bathroom she renovated prior to finding my blog so it’s a little earthier than it would have been otherwise, however the finishes do coordinate which is nice.
The cabinet was existing and it was a wood stain, Katey’s husband did not want it painted so she did it one day when he was at work and when he came home he agreed that it looked better.
The backyard the new family will enjoy.
This is Katey and her happy husband!
Even in a hot real estate market your house can sit around if the finishes are too personal and trendy. Remember, boring equals timeless. Keep this mantra in your head when you renovate or build your house and you will be much happier in the long run!