How to Sell your Home in the Covid Era

We recognize these are very hard times for many people.  Our hearts go out to you.  We can’t imagine how you must be feeling. We are doing our very best to provide reliable service under unusual circumstances, and hope our world can get back on its feet as soon as possible.

Don’t Make These Common Selling Mistakes

Have you been thinking about putting your home on the NOTL market?  It is a very unusual time these days, with the Covid crisis, but that does not mean it is a bad time to sell your house.

Properly listing your home may be a little more complicated, especially if you want to sell it for full market value.  As your premier agent specializing in the NOTL real estate market, I would like to discuss these common selling mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Lousy Photos

The importance of an effective online real estate portfolio cannot be understated.  Over 90% of potential home buyers find their home or at least narrow their list of potential homes online.  One of the most common selling mistakes is not representing your home with proper photographs.  Do not use dark or poorly lit photographs.  You will also want to stay away from unfocused and crooked or uneven pictures.  Instead, use crisp, well lit and clear photographs that capture the true essence of your home.

Here’s the deal:

If you want to sell your home quickly and at market value, you may want to hire a professional photographer or work with your real estate agent to take pictures that will not only be eye-catching but are sure to showcase your home on your online portfolio.

Improper Staging

A poorly staged home is a home that is not going to sell as quickly or at full market value.  Any potential buyer wants to envision their lifestyle and their belongings in your space.  If they cannot, you will be losing potential sales.  To effectively stage your home, you will want to do the following:

  • Depersonalize your home. Take down family photos and other personal belongings.
  • Move most of your furniture into storage so that each room showcases as much of its floorplan as possible.

Be sure to work with your real estate agent to come up with a staging plan before your next open house.  It can mean the difference between closing or another week on the NOTL real estate market.

These common selling mistakes can drastically affect the sale of your home either monetarily or the length of time that it sits on the market.  If you would like more information on these common pitfalls or have been thinking about listing your home on the NOTL real estate market, contact me today.

Staging Tips to Selling your Home for Top Dollar

If you are getting into the real estate market for the first time, it can be an exciting and even overwhelming experience. Selling your home may not happen overnight, but with a little help, your first-time home selling experience can become a lot simpler.

One of the most important parts of the home selling process is home preparation or home staging. Preparing your home the right way can make a real difference in how quickly it will sell. Check out these 5 easy tips for home staging so you can have the best and easiest selling home on the market.

Accessorizing is Key:

To make a great first impression on potential buyers, you want to ensure your home is accessorized the right way. For a more attractive and pleasing atmosphere, consider the way you group your accessories, particularly in odd numbers and groups of threes. You should aim for more of a triangular shape with a point for more aesthetic appeal and also change up the scale with varying heights and widths. This will stand out and be more pleasing to look at than just simple straight lines.

Go Big or Go Home:

When selling your home, you want to make it feel as big and spacious as possible. One way to make to make enclosed spaces appear roomier is to paint all of the walls the same color as an adjacent room. Incorporating this technique will create a smooth look that will make the rooms look like one big space. For even more visual space, consider painting the walls in each room the same color as the drapery.

The Perfect Lighting:

For a warmer and more inviting home, you should be mindful of the type of lighting you choose to install. You can attain and maintain the perfect lighting in your home by installing a total of 100 watts of light for every 50 square feet. By doing this and also including ambient, accent and task lighting in each room, you will be able to achieve a complete and pleasing look that will attract all buyers.

Furniture Placement:

You can also make your home appear more spacious with the way your furniture is arranged. To achieve the most spacious look possible, consider placing the furniture away from walls as well as grouping chairs and sofas in snug groups. Even more, consider arranging your pieces in a way that there is a clear walkway in each room. This will make rooms feel much less cramped and crowded and easier to maneuver through.

A Clean Home is a Happy Home:

Last, and probably the most important step in the home staging process is ensuring your home is clean and tidy. If your home has too much furniture or furniture that is big and bulky, this could create a more cluttered look and feel and be distracting to potential buyers. To eliminate this possibility, consider removing needless pieces and appliances to create more free space and make your home appear neater and cleaner.

Get your home in and out of the market as soon as possible with these simple home staging tips. If you want to sell a home within the Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. David’s, or surrounding areas, find out how Kevin Stokes and Niagara on the Lake Realty can help make your home selling experience a great one today.

Important Advice

Find the Right Agent

The most important part of selling your home is finding the right real estate agent.  Some of the qualities that you will want in your agent include:

  • Honest and hard working.
  • Has intimate knowledge of the area and understands the local housing market.
  • Is flexible and always has your best interests in mind.
  • Understands the internet and how to use this as a selling and marketing tool to attract a wide range of potential buyers.

Set a Date

Once you have found the right agent, it is time to sit down with them and plan when you want to put your home on the market, when your open houses will be and when you would like to have your home sold by.  This process may become even more important and complicated if you are buying a new home at the same time.


The more planning and time you give yourself, the less stressful the entire home selling process will be, so make sure to include a very flexible timeline in your selling plans.

Repair and Replace

Now that you have a firm date in mind and have found the perfect real estate agent, it is time to look at the overall condition of your home and see if anything needs to be repaired or replaced.

Here’s the Deal:

It is important that before you show your home, you have everything in perfect working order.  In the real estate world the old adage is true – you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

A poor showing can hurt your bottom line and keep your home on the market longer than you may like.

Less is more

While you are fixing and replacing any broken or well-worn items in your home, make sure to also de-clutter and organize your belongings.  The one positive about moving and selling your home is that it gives you the opportunity to take stock on what you need and what you either can give away, throw away or sell.

A well organized and de-cluttered home is also important when it comes to showing your home.  Buyers want to see open-spaces and have the opportunity to envision where their personal belongings will fit into these spaces.  A cluttered home will not only impede this process, it may also slow down the overall selling process.

Stage It to Sell

After you have organized your belongings, it is time to stage your home to sell it.  Make sure to remove personal items from each room and put all non-essential items and belongings either in storage or pack them away for your impending move.

If you would like any help or advice with staging, I would love to help.

By following these home selling tips, you should be able to sell your home quickly and at a high price.  If you would like to see other comparable homes on the Niagara on the Lake real estate market I can help sell your home.

Open House

During these unusual times, an open house will have to be carefully planned.  It will be best to have appointments set up instead of a busy open house.  Following the government’s guidelines will be the most important goal throughout the planning process.  People need to feel safe and so do you.

As a real estate agent with many years of experience, I’ve found that hosting an open house is an excellent way to draw potential home buyers to a property. In every open house I set up, I try to allow for a more relaxed atmosphere that allows viewers to feel more at ease and comfortable in the home, making it more likely that they’ll make an offer on your property.

When setting up an open house, I try to make things as easy as possibly on both the buyers and you, my client. However, before deciding on hosting an open house, there’s a few things I’d like to tell you. Keep reading to learn some tips for hosting an open house that will be sure to help you sell your Niagara on the Lake real estate.

Go to Other Open Houses

The first step I take to set up a successful open house is to scope out the competition and get an idea of the local market, and you can do this too. Go on some field trips and check out other open houses, paying special attention to how the homes are staged and any key points that potential buyers like or dislike. Don’t worry, you are not crashing their party, only giving other homeowners more opportunity to show off their own hard work.

Make a Description Sheet

Next up on my list of open house tips is to make a sheet for your home that describes your house and property in great detail. Most home buyers I’ve worked with want as much information as possible about houses they’re considering, and a description sheet serves this purpose exactly. Include specs, appliances and amenities that will remain with the home, and any upgrades that might be enticing to home buyers. Does your home have a cool history? This sheet is a great place to get the story out.

Dress Things Up with Staging

Oh, staging. This is what a lot of home sellers dread doing when it’s time to sell. What if your decor skills are subpar? Don’t worry, as long as your home is bright, happy and clutter free, it will be beautiful. When you work with an expert realtor like me, I can walk through your home and give you staging tips that will make your home shine when it comes time for the open house.

Market Your Home

Marketing is probably my number one priority as a realtor and it’s something you should also focus on when trying to sell your home.  Get the word out there about your open house by using social media resources like Facebook. Make a post and create your own personal hashtag for your property and have your friends and family share it online. In addition, make signs to put out by the roadways near your home and pass fliers around the local area.

Be a Good Host

Lastly, but most importantly in my opinion, be warm and friendly. Graciously show your property and make your potential buyers feel at home. It could be your bright smile that is the ultimate selling point for your home.

Sell Niagara on the Lake Real Estate with My Help

If the process of staging an open house for your Niagara on the Lake real estate feels a little daunting, then you need the help of an expert realtor like me, Kevin Stokes.

Selling a Waterfront Property

When it comes to selling your home, there are always many factors that need to be considered.  Factors such as timing the market, finding the right buyer, getting full asking price and many more.  In the case of unique homes such as waterfront homes, these factors become even more important.

As the top realtor for Niagara on the Lake, I have sold many waterfront homes.  I understand this market and how to find the right buyer for your home.  I would like to offer you these three tips to get full market value for your distinctive home and turn that for sale sign into a sold sign.

Price it Right

It is important to price your home right from the beginning.  If you price your home too low you are going to leave a lot of money on the table and if it is priced too high you are not going to get any offers on your home and it will sit on the market.

A well-priced home will attract a wide range of potential buyers which may result in a bidding war or multiple offers that you can choose from.  A waterfront home may be tricky to price properly because there may not be a lot of them on the market for comparison and each home is so unique.; therefore, it is excellent to have a realtor with experience in this area.

Here’s the Deal:

I have been part of the Niagara community for decades and have a wide range of contacts and understand how to properly price a wide range of housing, including waterfront.  I would be happy to help you find a proper asking price for your home.

Set the Stage

Keep in mind that you are selling a waterfront home, so make sure to stage your home in a way that really highlights the waterfront.  I recommend staging the inside of your home so that all the views and furniture look out towards your main selling feature.

As a realtor, I try to set up private showings on sunny days where the light captures all the great aspects of the waterfront. For instance, a sunset showing may be all that is needed to sell your home.

Other ways to stage your home that I recommend include:

  • Creating a virtual tour to capture your home at the perfect time – this video will be part of your listing on my website.
  • Staging the outside of your home as well as the inside – manicuring all shrubs, trees, a dock if you have one, etc.
  • Breaking down each room into square footage so that potential buyers can really get an understanding of the overall layout of the home – I offer this service as part of my listings page on my website.

Find the Right Realtor

Finally, because waterfront properties are so unique and can often be tricky to properly price and sell, I recommend that you find the right realtor for the job.  Make sure that your realtor has a working knowledge of the community, neighbourhood and has sold and dealt with waterfront and luxury properties before.

I have been a part of the Niagara community for over 40 years and am very familiar with selling waterfront property.  I would love to help you sell your unique home.  Give me a call so we can get started today.

Listing Photos

All successful real estate sales have a strong online listing portfolio. In today’s market, so many buyers find their potential homes strictly through online marketing, so your listing photos are of the utmost importance.  As the premier real estate agent for Niagara on the Lake, I would like to offer you the following do’s and don’ts when it comes to listing photographs.

Do: Include Outdoor Photos

The gorgeous yards in and around the Niagara region are part of the allure and draw for any potential homeowner.  To give a prospective buyer a complete picture of your home, make sure that you include photographs of your yard and the exterior of the home in your listing portfolio.

Don’t: Use Crooked Photos

When you are taking these pictures, double check that your roof is parallel with the camera’s frame.  You do not want a house that is sitting at an angle in your listing photos.  Other pitfalls to avoid when taking outdoor photos include:

  • Don’t have cars, trees or bushes impeding the view of your home and yard.
  • Mow the grass before taking pictures of your lawn.
  • Trim and prune all bushes, shrubs and trees so that your yard looks cared for.

Do: Use a Bird’s-eye View

Many of the homes in Niagara have large yards, estates or water views.  I recommend that you include a bird’s eye view picture of your home to encompass any of these selling features.  If your home is located on or near water, the bird’s-eye view photo should allow any potential buyer to see where your home is in relation to the water.

Don’t: Use a Fish-eye

Some people feel that a fish-eye lens makes small spaces look bigger.  This is simply not the case.  What a fish-eye lens does is it distorts the image and can make the image seem smaller.  If you are looking to create the illusion of space in a small room use a traditional camera lens and design tricks or different photograph angles.

Do: Play up the Season

Pay attention to the season in which you have decided to sell your home.  Your listing pictures should play to that season and include subtle seasonal hints.  For example, if you are listing during the summer, include sunny photos of your backyard.  You may also want to use seasonal throws, blankets and pillows to give that added touch to your listing portfolio.

Don’t: Overplay the Holiday Décor

Make sure that your seasonal décor does not dominate your listing photos, especially if you are putting your house on the market over the holidays.  No one wants to see how you celebrate Christmas in all of your listing pictures.

Here’s the Deal:

Make sure that all your listing pictures are eye-catching and showcase the openness of your home.  You want your listing portfolio to show off the lifestyle that your home offers, while at the same time allowing a buyer to envision themselves in your space.

These simple do’s and don’ts for listing photos will allow you to build a strong online marketing portfolio and have your home stand out from the competition.  If you would like more help on how to take great listing photographs or are interested in selling your Niagara home, please call me today.