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Scrimping And Saving

Posted by Rachel R. Vanderveen on Monday, January 21st, 2013 at 2:19pm.

budgetingWell, it's a new year and many are tightening their belts as a result of some over-indulgence throughout the holidays. If you're one of many sellers looking to get a head start on sprucing up your house for the spring season (and aren't you smart for getting prepared so early!), there are a few items on which you'll want to splurge, and others wherein you can afford to get creatively thrifty. Read on, dear Calgary home sellers, to get my list of fab, frugal, and functional fixes for getting your house market-ready.


Paint Roller Covers

This item might sound a bit silly, but hear me out. It's almost standard now for sellers to give their interiors a coat of neutral paint when getting ready to list, but if you're thinking of buying the roller covers at your local bargain store, think again! Cheap-o sleeves will disperse awful little fluffs into your paint, which will get onto your walls, which will undoubtedly make you frustrated and angry, if painting doesn't inspire those emotions in you to begin with. Spend the extra few dollars it costs to get a few good sleeves for your paint roller(s); you'll be glad you did.


Before you depersonalize your pad, make sure your art speaks to you. Art should never be bought just to cover up a blank space on the wall; it should be purchased because you really love the way it makes you feel. It's better to have no art at all than to buy it mass-produced. This is something you'll have to take down anyway when you show the home, unless it's very neutral, but it bears mentioning because of how important it is to the feel of a home.

Vacuum Cleaner

Any REALTOR® worth her/his salt will have already drilled into your head that keeping your home sparkling clean is the most important selling/staging tip. This means you'll be doing a deep clean before you list and possibly bi-weekly cleans throughout the selling period to make sure the home is never in a state that warrants a panicked dash 'n' stash. For example, hiding dirty laundry in the closet and dirty dishes in the oven, or even vice versa! You'll also be cleaning before every showing, if you have enough notice. That means that your cleaning tools will get put to the test, and one of those very important tools is your vacuum cleaner. Those with weak suction will end up frustrating you at an already stressful time. If you don't already have a good one, now is the time to spring for a better vacuum cleaner. Not only will you be amazed at all the extra dirt and debris you find, but your family members with allergies will thank you, too!



We're not talking porcelain here. There is a new breed of amazing stick-on tiles that you can find at almost any large home-improvement centre. "Stick-on" is a four-letter word for some, but hear me out. They look like 1x1-inch glass mosaic tiles. Water-resistant and made with a shiny new glass-like coating, they can really jazz up an area you're not willing to spend loads of dough on. Plus, they're a cinch to install and can be stuck over pre-existing tile.

Plant Pots

If your front entry needs some curb appeal, or you want to soften the lines of your condo's patio, planting some colourful shrubs in pots can be a great option that you can even take with you to your new home once the old one sells. However, pots can set you back a pretty penny if you buy them at a big box store; one nice ceramic pot can be as much as $40! Several options exist to mitigate this cost and still get a lovely plant pot. You can often find affordable pots in Chinatown (in the right season). Larger dollar stores also carry plant pots.


If you're thinking about replacing your old drapes with a new pair, or creating a slipcover for a sofa that shouldn't see daylight, and you're a do-it-yourselfer, there's really no reason to buy full-priced fabric. Prints go in and out of fashion so quickly that by the time you find one to fall in love with and get it made into curtains, it's already on its way out. Fabric stores have nearly constant sales and if you're already a member, you can get an even better deal. There are lots of great online retailers, too, who specialize in cheap fabric. More and more are offering free or more affordable shipping rates to Canada and the prices are great. If you're a good shopper and your keep your eyes peeled for sales, it's not difficult to create custom drapes for your living room with extra fabric for throw pillows, for under $30. So dust off that sewing machine and find some fabric on sale!

It's easy to spend a lot of money needlessly, or save a lot and end up frustrated with subpar results. I hope this list is helpful and, if you disagree, I welcome a little healthy debate! Do you have other splurge/save suggestions? Leave me a comment below!

Rachel Vanderveen

The Vanderveen Team
Maxwell South Star Realty
Phone: 403.253.5678 Fax: 403.592.6736

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