5 Ways to Boost Your Home’s OQ for Less

When getting a home ready to sell, most homeowners focus on interior upgrades and fixes. But what’s on the outside counts, too.

Lawns, walkways, patios, gardens, doors, and windows all play a role in the livability of a home – and its salability as well.

Thinking of selling soon? Here are five ways to boost your home’s Outside Quotient (OQ), courtesy of a Williams Ski & Patio infographic:

For an investment that could range from $300 to $1,000, you can undo the damage wrought by weather, weeds, and all those other nasties that invade your lawn (not to mention the dog and your kids).

Re-sod and give your outdoors a whole new look. Isn’t that worth the investment?

You could consider a less expensive alternative to make your outside sparkle: power wash your deck and wash your outdoor furniture for an investment of between $50 and $100, and some elbow grease.

Don’t forget the front entrance to your home; boost your curb appeal and add some colour and design with planters featuring seasonal greenery.

During summer you can pop in some colour inexpensively by adding a pot of annuals or two from your local garden center.

July is hot just about everywhere, so don’t forget to water your additions regularly. Cost: $20 to $200 depending on the size and type of planters.

While you’re at it, check the driveway. Cracks and holes can deter future buyers and are just plain ugly. For $50 to $200, a new topcoat of driveway sealer will do the trick…unless it’s REALLY bad.

For front or back yards, fill in holes in the vegetation with mature plants.

It’s a bit more expensive, depending on the kinds and number of plants you need, but it will give your outdoors the look of a much more pricey landscape job for much less. And that OQ? Awesome!

Vacation Homes: It’s a Buyer’s Market…For Now

Purchasing a vacation home may seem like the ultimate fantasy for many Canadians. But maybe it’s more likely than you’d think.

Currently, prices in many cottage areas are reasonable. According to an article in MoneySense, realtors who work in prime cottage locations say it’s a buyer’s market for Canadian vacation properties.

As the MoneySense article suggests, many Americans have been buying Canadian vacation properties for years; for example, in parts of Nova Scotia some 50% of cottage buyers were American. Then the recession sparked an American exodus, and prices for vacation properties dropped.

Now, thanks to the lower Canadian dollar, there may be a resurgence of interest on the part of Americans. So if you’re thinking of buying next summer, you may want to start looking now, and purchase in the off-season when prices are lower.

Consider whether you want to buy near a busy summer hub or are looking for a more isolated retreat. And get a good local real estate agent who knows the area and can source out potential properties before they’re advertised.

If purchasing a vacation property seems unaffordable, consider buying and renting it out for a few years. Canadian vacation rentals are winning fans worldwide, partly as a result of websites like Airbnb. As well, the popular HGTV Canada program Income Property recently raised the profile of cottage rentals, turning outdated properties into dream vacation rentals.

Who knows? Like some Income Property cottagers, you may find renting to be so worthwhile, you can eventually make your cottage your dream retirement home.