When it comes time to put out the For Sale sign, it can be tough for sellers to find the motivation, and money, to spruce up their space for the next owners. But, of course, that extra little bit of elbow grease can make all the difference when it comes to the final selling price.
W Network’s All for Nothing, premiering Oct. 7 at 9 p.m., turns this concept of maxing out your home’s resale value into a competition.
“Each episode pits two homeowners against each other,” explains designer Penny Southam. As the homeowners prepare their properties for sale, they get a price evaluation by Ottawa broker Paul Rushforth, followed by staging advice from Southam to help them improve on that figure.
“They have two weeks to execute the design, trying to spend the least amount of money possible,” she says. To further complicate matters, they must do all the work on a nearly impossibly tight two-week deadline.
And these are not small projects. The first episode faces off two large families, with outdated decor and lots of clutter, and sees them tackle everything from re-doing floors, substantial landscaping, installing new countertops, purchasing all new furniture and even building a deck.
Once time is up, Rushforth re-evaluates the property, and the family who has best increased their home’s value in the most economical way wins a commission free listing.
It’s about “who is most creative,” explains Southam, for example, bartering for someone’s time or holding garage sales or art auctions, with the money raised offsetting their renovation expenses.
For example, not counting money raised through sales, begging and bartering, one family spent about $500 and raised the value of their home by nearly $20,000, says Southam. “If you’re really motivated, it’s amazing how much people can do for the small amount they end up paying for it.”
And, she notes, there’s practical, take-away advice for viewers, too, as the before and after scenes are assigned clear values and the renovation costs are carefully tabulated.
“It’s pretty clear cut,” she says. It shows “how much they did and how much (that) increased the value of their house.”
To increase the value of your own home, Southam suggests starting with that familiar mantra: clear the clutter.
“A lot of people, they don’t really think necessarily of purging before they move. What I’ve seen in going through homes, there’s so much clutter, an overabundance of collections, from furniture to videos to books to kids’ toys,” she says. “It really can hinder a sale. A house can seem a lot smaller than it is when it’s full of all this stuff.”
And, she notes, decluttering doesn’t just improve the presentation of your home, “but you also can make some money and you don’t have to move it!”
Removing clutter is also key to another step in preparing your place for sale: de-personalizing. Sellers need to remove collections, family photos and knickknacks “so the new homeowners can visualize themselves in their house.”
Once a home is listed, she explains, priorities must shift to showing off the possibilities for the next family. Or, as Rushforth says in the pilot, the home “needs to be showcase ready, whether it’s convenient or not.”
De-personalizing can also extend to neutralizing colours in the space, which creates a blank slate for prospective owners and, by opting for lighter, brighter colours and a uniform palette throughout the home, can make the rooms feel more spacious. “It’s all about showing the rooms large,” she says
Staging also extends to things that won’t be going with the space, such as furniture. For example, she explains, while a beat-up futon may suit your needs for a living room sofa, it doesn’t show your space off for its stylish best.
“Rent, borrow, do whatever you need to do to make the house look presentable,” counsels Southam. “It really does help".