The “twitch” is seriously on.
I have been floating around my house wearing shorts and T-shirts at every opportunity regardless of various blizzards and weather warnings that presented themselves an hour before.
I pace because, like the returning Canadian Geese, I wait by the frozen patches for the first crack at spring. I too need the green of the grass, the freshness of the air, and the opportunity to walk without the fear of breaking my neck.
This twitch brings out other characteristics of our nature. We look towards our snow piled yards wondering whether to replace the fence this year or to the phone book for the furnace cleaning company.
Whatever we need in order to feel the dust of winter shake off of our souls, we reach for.
We look for colour, in our clothing and furnishings.
Even our food takes on a whole different look.
Our music gets livelier and we even groove to the tunes that we are singing to in the car. I am your witness. I have caught you!
Spring brings twitchy people out of their caves and into stores but this spring has a bit of a twist.
We are a lot more tentative about our dollars and our long term commitments this year with all the talk of the economy, right down to the decision on whether to buy a television or not. We are dipping our toes in the lake before we wade gently in rather than taking that running leap of the dock.
The housing market has picked up, as well as renovations.
Buyers will be looking for properties they can renovate and update and will have the upper hand over contractors in timing, costs and competition. Homeowners looking to sell will be updating and repairing their homes in order to attract the discerning buyers.
The current market means two things.
Buyers had better be competitive and ready for action with those perfectly priced fixer uppers and homeowners can not be slack in the impression of their home when selling. There will be more homes to choose from and buyers have the time to be pickier than they were two years ago.
If you are a buyer, look for homes that require new fences or decks, flooring that can be upgraded from linoleum to tile or hardwood, smaller rooms that can be enlarged to ensuites or bigger bedrooms upstairs and basements that need developing.
Upgrades that may be put on hold due to the current market may be items such as stainless steel appliances, steam showers and travertine tile.
Practical will override lavish and this is something for homeowners to keep in mind.
If you are looking to sell, your money is better spent cleaning dated flooring and using an area rug that to replace the flooring yourselves. Refinish cabinets rather than replace them.
Replace items of easier task such as worn, cracked and peeling countertops, replace shower curtains and linens and update light fixtures to maximize your light. Keep in mind that painting is a great way to freshen your house and don’t be afraid of using colour.
Colour is relative to a person’s comfort zones and you will never nail it perfectly.
Use colours that suit your home, your furnishings to complete a look and to highlight the home’s best attributes.
Consider your best light when thinking of lighter and darker tones and keep away from “builder beige”.
Too many have used these colours that we now interpret anything in a beige range as safe and boring. And with your house being the 8th out of 10 the buyer is viewing and they have seen beige in six of them, guaranteed your house of colour will be memorable.
The trick is to ensure that it is a good memory not a bad one.
New owners will likely paint anyway so don’t get hung up on the idea that you are painting strictly for them so they won’t have to do it later. Also, if you thought of leaving warn or dull walls for those renovators, think again.
This will only drop what you can or should ask for a home.
Buyers will need to look past both the sparkle and the trash in order to determine whether they are making a sound investment in a home.
As the idea of home staging has taken hold, you will have to remember not to be either dazzled or disgusted. You may find a solid house disguised in junk and a lemon disguised as a looker.
Perhaps as consumers we all needed a bit of a kick in the pants. Buying without thought continues to disappear.
The question remains: will it happen again? Will we go back to gorging ourselves in an economic frenzy when times turn golden or will we remember “everything in moderation?”
Except when it comes to sunshine! It is the cure for what ails you.
E-mail Jenny Kennedy-Olsen, president of Urban Lane Designs, a local home-staging company, at jlk@firstname.lastname@example.org