Setting the stage for spring selling

With spring finally here, it’s the time of year to consider selling your recreational property. This is the season when potential buyers start to look at recreational properties as a chance to own a little piece of the cottage pie. While it’s impossible to forecast exactly how the market will do, with a little bit of prep, some elbow grease, and the following tips, you can have your property market-ready in no time.

Think staging, not decorating

Keep in mind that decorating for the season isn’t the same as staging for the season. Very often, properties currently on the market are decorated to the nines for Easter. While the cottage may look fantastic for grandma’s Easter visit, believe it or not, this could be the one thing that turns a potential buyer off your property.   

Instead of decorating, try to get creative and generate an inviting space. Staging is all about feelings. Check in and then check out of your personal feelings about the space. Keeping your decorations to a minimum will be helpful, but there are things you can do to welcome spring while still keeping your space neutral, inside and out, and welcoming to potential buyers.   

Start outdoors

Don’t dismiss the outside of your property, even if there’s still snow on the ground. Curb appeal, no matter the season, is the first impression for potential buyers, and it speaks when you can’t. If you want to make a great impression on buyers you must start with the walkway. Clean up debris, and if there’s still snow, shovel it. Keep it shovelled and salted; you want to think safety first.

Shed some light

Lighting is one of the most inexpensive, effective things you can do to add value to your property. A beautifully lit pathway isn’t just a welcoming invitation to others; it can also create ambiance and help show buyers how great your property can look both day and night.

You might also consider solar-powered lighting. It looks fabulous, it’s great for the environment, and it takes very little work. I use Allsop’s Aurora Glow Glass String solar lights or Solar Boater’s Lanterns all the time in my landscapes. I will line a driveway, porch, pathway, or dock with them for a beautiful effect. Imagine your property as the only one glowing from the road or on the lake! You want your property to stand out from the competition, and I can tell you it will get noticed, especially in the snowy early spring.

Create an inviting deck

For front decks or porches, opt out of brightly coloured seasonal decorations. Instead, if you have the room, add a nice cozy bench, some pastel-coloured outdoor throw pillows, and a small table to the side of the bench. Add some large solar powered lanterns, and you’ve created instant warmth.

Bring out the chairs

Lakeside, it’s OK to drag out your Muskoka chairs, even if there’s still snow. In fact I encourage it. Consider putting your Muskoka chairs close to the lake in a semi circle—I’d use at least three. Dig out a hole in the centre and stack some logs up (you don’t need to light them—you’re just creating an idea). Grab a couple of warm throw blankets and lay them over the sides of the chairs (secure the blankets), and rest a coffee mug or two on the arms of the chairs, complete with a few varying height tree stumps used as tables, and solar lanterns as a backdrop.

Selling your property can be challenging, but if you let your creative mind wander it can be lots of fun too. When the end result is a higher sale price and shorter days on the market, taking the time to follow some simple tips and rules it can reward you tenfold. Not only will your pocket book thank you, but fewer days on the market result in fewer showings, which means less stress and inconvenience.

Jennifer George is a certified staging professional and owner of Curbed Appeal. She has more than 10 years’ experience working in the interior and landscaping design industry.