Chatting with Scott McGillivray about Smart Home Renovations and Owners.com

There’s nothing like talking to an expert when you’re prepping your house for sale and not sure where to begin! As you know, we’re in the process of getting our house ready to put on the market. It’s been a big decision for us and it’s something we’re not taking lightly. We want to make sure we’re putting the best possible version of our house out there for sale and to do that, we know we have some work to do. I’ve partnered with Owners.com, a leading online option for buying and selling real estate to help guide me on this journey and (truthfully) big adventure. Owners.com put me in touch with one of their leading experts, Scott McGillivray, host of HGTV’s Income Property, to give me one-on-one advice for prepping my house for sale. Scott and Owners.com have teamed up to spread the word about the newly launched Owners.com real estate buying and selling services.

Since we’re at the very beginning of this process, I was curious to ask Scott what would be the 1st piece of advice you’d give someone looking to sell their home? This is all so new to me and my husband and we’re really trying to be the smartest that we can be as we go along. This is our first home, so we’ve never dealt with the selling aspect before, just the buying.

Scott McGillivray

Scott’s 1st piece of advice: Know the best time to list your home.

I know you said you’re look to list in the Fall, but it’s usually not the best time to be listing. The Spring market is usually more active than the Fall market. I usually recommend that if you can time it, get it prepped and ready to list by February. Always waiting for right after the New Year is a good time.

Letting Scott know that we have 5 kids was important for me to share because I really wanted to know what kind of impact this could have on selling. With 5 kids, our home is always busy, there’s never any downtime. I hate to admit it, but it’s always chaotic with toys, sports equipment and books/backpacks everywhere. I wanted Scott’s opinion to see if buyers understand this or if all spaces truly need to be clean, open and de-cluttered?

Next tip: De-clutter and get organized.

I understand you have a big family (laughing). I have 2 kids and we’re in the process of putting our house up sale and it can be a nightmare packing up all the art projects, all the bins and toys, but you really need to remove all of it if possible. People should walk through the house and assume there’s no kids at all, I know it’s hard to imagine, but if someone can walk through and imagine themselves in the space, that’s the best possible scenario.

Oh, yes. Even though it is a daunting task, it’s necessary.

You don’t want someone walking through saying how crazy it looks. You want someone to look and say how simple and clean everything is and if they do come across a kid’s room, you want them to think ‘Wow, kids live here!? I hardly saw any toys!’ If you can depersonalize the clutter and get rid of the overflow, which I’m sure you have and clean it all up, that’s important. If in the yard, it’s fine if you have kids stuff, but keep it in a grouping.

The “big” interior projects for us before we sell are the bathrooms and the kitchen. When we first moved into our house, these projects were on the top of the list to get done and “fix up.” As many of you understand, life just happens. Those projects that we wanted to do then, are now the projects we need to do now. Since Scott is the expert in smart renovation, I knew he was the one to ask in trying to determine how to fix these areas up without breaking the bank.

First up: Bathroom Tips

I’ll give you 5 things to make your bathroom fresh and polished.

#1 – New carpet. A new carpet in front of the vanity, something clean and neutral. If your floors are old, you want to have something new on top of them.

#2 – Replace all of your existing linens with new white ones. Take everything out, pack it up and go buy new ones. Make everything feel like a spa in there.

#3 – Switch out the toilet and the faucet. You guys could switch out the toilet in a ½ day and make it look fresh and new.

#4 – Paint. With the bathroom a gray-blue always feels fresh. Anything in the greens to grays to blues, in that neutral palette as that spa cleaning feeling.

#5 – Switch out the mirrors. Bigger and cleaner mirrors will make it feel like it has an update.

Second up: Kitchen Tips

If you’re in that in-between stage of a kitchen redo, update the jewelry of the kitchen. The jewelry of the kitchen means the faucet, the door hardware on your cabinetry. Make sure your appliances are up-to-date. Painting is always easy. You’re not going to be able to fool anyone if your kitchen needs a renovation, but you can make them come in and say ‘for now this will work’. You could even paint your cabinets. It’s fairly inexpensive and if your cabinets are in good shape, painting could make them look like new ones.

One area we definitely need to work on is the outside of our house. As I’ve mentioned in previous Owners.com postings, we will be painting our house and making the front yard and the backyard as pristine as can be. My question to Scott – is fixing up of the outside just as important as the inside?

Tip: Outside is just as important

You need to make sure you have great photography. You want to hit a homerun, which means marketing it properly. The house has to look great before you even post it for sale. You want people getting there and seeing good curb appeal. Make sure when you’re standing in front of your home and have a look at it. Look at the numbers and the light fixtures and the doorbell and the door hardware. Make sure they all work together. You want things to be in perfect harmony. You don’t want it beautiful inside, but horrible outside. You don’t want it to look like it just got fixed up to be sold.

When it comes to painting the exterior of our house, we’re completely lost! I want a golden color, my husband wants a blue – we just can’t decide. Scott is someone I’m happy to use as a tie breaker. I couldn’t wait to ask him what his suggestion was on an ideal exterior paint color for potential buyers.

Tip: Neutral Paint Colors

(We have a difficult situation with our house because it’s shingles that have already been painted and have changed colors, so I really wanted to get a good gauge from Scott as to how opinion on this project.)

Typically I would say to either go with the colors white or black, you can’t go wrong. It also depends on what color your windows are, your roof is and the other colors of your home. You want to keep the colors simple and neutral. Everything has to make sure it has something to complement it. If your roof is black, make sure you have a black door to go along with it. If your windows are white, then get the white siding to go along with it.

Since we’re not just looking to sell, but also buy through Owners.com, I wanted to ask Scott what 2 tips he would give to potential buyers. We actually bought our current house at site unseen and we would never do that again. What are things we need to think about and look for with our next “forever home?”

Tip: Location and Good Bones

Location is number one. You can never change the location of your home, you can always change the house. Stick to the location that you feel comfortable with whether it’s close to family or work or any surrounding factors.

I always tell people to look for a home that has good bones. That means it’s been well maintained. Your concerns should be structural issues, mechanical issues and anything to do with renovations that may or may not have been done properly. Typically you can tell how a home is by checking the mechanical room. The mechanical room exposes a lot about a house.

I can’t thank Scott enough for the amazing tips and advice. He was so helpful and really helped me streamline exactly everything that needs to get done over the next few months. I love that he has partnered with Owners.com, they are such an amazing source for people selling and buying. I’m so excited to have the resources and expertise of Owners.com to guide us throughout the process. The best part is that by using Owners.com we will be listing the house for a flat fee of $695, which includes a 12 month listing on the MLS and the help of an expert advisor.

Oh, yes… we’re ready!

If you’re thinking of selling or buying, I highly recommended checking out Owners.com to guide your process.

Follow along: Owners.com on Facebook // Owners.com on Twitter // Owners.com on Instagram

Disclosure: This is a sponsored partnership with Owners.com. All opinions are 100% my own.

SHOWHIDE Comments (21)
  1. I used to watch income properties, which Scott M was in, of course… I am in the process of putting my home on the market… thanks for all the tips!

  2. I love watching Income Property. It’s one of my fave HGTV shows. Doing renovations on the home is something that my husband and I are constantly busy with. The list is never-ending!

  3. The right renovations can make a big difference when it comes to buying or selling a home. I think it’s important not to get too wild with the colors. This was a great interview, I learned a lot.

  4. These are all fantastic tips. We aren’t looking to sell for a few more years, but I will definitely start decluttering now! With 6 people in our house, it gets pretty cluttered quickly!

  5. I adore him, and his tips and watch his show often. I think he is just brilliant. I can’t wait for home ownership right now it just isn’t possible for us in the city we live in but once we move back home i can’t wait to purchase and renovate! Right now we rent.

  6. Even though we are not moving any time soon, we have embarked upon a major decluttering process. It has helped us so much and when we finally do move, we will be ready!

  7. I think decluttering and make the house look nice is always best. Also consider staging your home. I just replaced our faucets in the bathrooms. I didn’t buy expensive stuff but it made a huge difference in appearance. Plus, ours were leaking. If I was selling, I might have opted for a bit more expensive stuff. I always try to do the smaller DIY projects myself to save money. I can’t imagine what a plumber would have charged to do the work that my son and I did in a few hours.

  8. These are great tips and when we went house hunting last year I could tell which sellers tried to make their house sellable and those that didn’t. When buying our home location was very important and luckily we were able to find a house that has become our home.

  9. We are not in the market to sell, but these tips are perfect for updating your well loved home. Will definitely do a few.

  10. I love this post! Working on buying my first house and I am so excited! I love decorating, cleaning, renovating. Such exciting stuff 🙂 Great tips!

  11. I’m thinking about buying a new home soon. I will check this out. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Great tips, I know spring was the best time of year. Folks rather move when the kids are out of school instead of the middle of the school year.

    I like the idea of replacing the towels int he bathroom with all white towels. We hope to buy another home soon so I will be using a lot of these tips.

  13. Good tips. You can probably understand now why they say buying/selling a home is one of the most stressful things. We’ve done it 3 or 4 times, I forget. It’s always a bit uncertain and stressful, but usually works out.

  14. These are really great tips for home owners or those who want to sell their homes. Neutral colours are always a must, anything garish will immediately put anyone off.