Archive for December, 2009

Updating Your Spruce Grove Home

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Updating Your Spruce Grove Home |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWith the popularity of all sorts of home renovation shows, people in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region and elsewhere are experimenting with home decorating home improvement, and home flipping at unprecedented levels.

I have to admit I watch a lot of these programs myself. We humans are drawn to watching other people work. It is amazing how easy some professionals make things like framing, dry walling, painting, decorating, etc, look. The key word here is professional. I often say to people you can do any improvement yourself and save the labour cost (about 60% of the cost of the improvement); however, the end result has to look like a professional did the job.

I understand the motivation to want to do the work yourself. First off it doesn’t look that hard to do. Second you don’t have the extra money to hire someone to do the work, we have all been there. But one day (statistically within 5 years) you will be trying to sell your home and the improvements in it to someone else. Even unsophisticated buyers, people who have never owned their own home, recognize poor or amateurish work. If a home has a number of areas where a home owner has done home improvements poorly, a potential buyer may perceive negatively.

Updating Your Spruce Grove Home |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamHere’s how perception works

Perception is a buyer’s belief system.  Whether right or wrong, what buyers perceive they believe. A buyer’s perception can extend beyond any poor work done by you or someone else.  It could be perceived that most of the improvements in your home were done amateurishly or cheaply. I cannot overemphasize the importance of making your home improvement projects look like they were done by a professional. Here are a few hints:

  1. Do some research before you take on a project. The internet is a great source. Be careful to select the right tools for the job. For instance when painting, not all brushes, rollers or paint are the same. They are all designed for different purposes and applications. Also if painting, make sure you learn to cut in properly. Roller hit marks on the ceiling are a trademark sign of a home improvement project gone bad.
  2. Sign up for home improvement seminars at your local building supply centre, Home Depot, Rona, etc.
  3. Find someone who is handy at doing their own home improvements and offer free labour to help them take on a home improvement that you feel most comfortable with.
  4. Start in an area that is less visible, like a bedroom (preferably down stairs), closet, or storage room.
  5. Be prepared to invest time. It will probably take you 2 to 3 times longer the first time you tackle a renovation, compared to someone experienced at it. If it doesn’t go right the first time you do it, be prepared to re-do it. Remember that by learning to do it right you are accumulating cumulative knowledge that will come in handy the next time you need to use it.

Although you feel you are doing the improvement for yourself, remember that when you decide to put your house up for sale, you are now trying to sell the improvement to someone else.

If you do decide to do home improvements on your own, either by necessity or desire, take it slow. Do the research, take your time, make sure you select universally appealing colours, and do the job well. It can be rewarding, both financially and emotionally. But remember:  whatever improvements you do to your home should look like a professional did it. Enjoy the savings and the added value of your home.

Looking for more information about Spruce Grove real estate?  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Thinking of Selling Your Home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County?

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Thinking of Selling Your Home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County? |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSo it’s time to sell your Spruce Grove home or Stony Plain real estate in Parkland County.

You should do well considering the unprecedented property appreciation in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County area over the last few years.

When getting ready to sell, there are things you need to think about. When in a buyer’s market, you need to be the best priced and best home for the money on the market. Your home needs to show well which means clutter free and well kept.

Most home buyers are already over committed and may not be looking for a home that needs major repairs or improvements upon moving (not counting having the money available to do repairs, especially first time home buyers). Take a look at your home as if you were in the market to buy. The following are a few ideas and hints to help you maximize the amount of money you can get for your home.

How does your home look from the street?

That is where prospective buyers will be when they first look at your home and form that all important first impression. Try some of the following:

  • remove clutter from your yard;
  • consider buying some potted plants to make your yard more eye appealing. Mow your lawn regularly. Pick up after your pets;
  • clean your windows and siding;
  • ensure your eaves are clear and in good repair;
  • do any necessary painting, staining and sealing;
  • do your outside lights work, replace any burnt out bulbs;
  • do you have wood trim around your house, paint or stain if required;

Now let’s go indoors.

You want a buyer to see a neat, clean, well lit interior. Get clutter out of sight (you never want a house to feel smaller than it is). Ensure carpets are clean and floors are scrubbed and polished and that walls and baseboards show clean and bright. Make sure lights work and are free of cobwebs. You want your home to look spacious, bright and fresh.

  • check stairs for loose boards, ripped carpeting, missing or loose handrails;
  • ensure doors open and shut properly;
  • make sure closets look spacious and organized;
  • keep furniture to a minimum so that rooms do not appear smaller than they are.

Thinking of Selling Your Home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Parkland County? |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamTake a sniff. Are there any unpleasant odors in your home? If so track them down and eliminate them.

If you have a lot of family memorabilia, consider thinning it out or start packing it.  Remember, you are moving. You want prospective buyers to see themselves living in your home. That mental picture becomes more difficult for them if your house resembles a shrine to you and your family.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

Two of the most important rooms in the home are kitchens and bathrooms.

  • clean all appliances, including your oven. Clean or replace your greasy stove hood filters.
  • clean your cabinets inside and out, as well as your backsplash. Repair leaking faucets.
  • remove items stored on countertops. Remove excess items stored under your sink.
  • remove anything stored on top of your refrigerator;
  • remove artwork and magnets from your refrigerator;
  • in bathrooms, scrub sinks, tubs and toilets;
  • clean mirrors, light switch plates;


Your basement should be clean and not cluttered. If your basement is damp or musty consider a dehumidifier. Check the grading around your house. If the grade slopes toward the house you may want to look at adding a clay based fill to encourage water to drain away from the house. Check your downspouts and ensure they are moving water well away from your home. Most water problems in a basement are due to poor drainage. Change the filter to your furnace. If you have cats ensure the litter box is clean before all showings.


Make sure you attend to the garage as well. It should also be clutter free. Get rid of old car parts, discarded bicycles, empty paint cans and the hundreds of useless items that accumulate in garages.

Show Time

Now it is time to show your home. You will need a plan of action that assigns duties to each family member so that your house can be quickly ready for showing.

  1. open all drapes, blinds and turn on lights to make the house bright;
  2. air out the house to get rid of any odors from cooking, pets, etc;
  3. pick up clutter and empty garbage;
  4. make everything as clean as possible;
  5. set your thermostat at a comfortable level;
  6. try to remove pets from the house;
  7. leave when your house is being shown;
  8. display photos of house in summer if your house is being shown in winter months;
  9. leave out heating and electric bills;

We all have busy lives and don’t normally live as the above would suggest. But when selling, the above suggestions have proven successful in helping sell homes quicker and for more money. You may not be able to accomplish all of the above suggestions, but if you do, you will realize thousands of dollars more for your effort.

Property to sell?  I’d love to help.  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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