Voiceover

‘We want them to think they could move in tomorrow’

AMY CAMERON June 23 2003
Voiceover

‘We want them to think they could move in tomorrow’

AMY CAMERON June 23 2003

‘We want them to think they could move in tomorrow’

Voiceover

When Toronto real estate prices started skyrocketing in the late-1990s, house painter Jeff Trafford turned his handyman skills into a new career-fluffing houses. Trafford started Dress to Sell to help people make their properties more attractive to buyers. Now, Trafford, 40, has three full-time employees and a bevy of subcontractors who are busy plastering, painting and landscaping soon-to-be-sold homes for fees ranging from $1,000 to $25,000.

Agents call me in when they want to keep on good terms with their clients. They don't want to offend clients by pointing out flaws. I’m quite picky and I notice things that most people don’t. When you’ve lived in a house for a long time-everybody is the same

way-you get used to things. Cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceiling, that sort of thing. But we want the prospective buyers to think they could move into it tomorrow. We try to make it as perfect visually as we can. I’ll do a walk-through, make a list and give the owner a price.

We do all of the work ourselves-shower walls that need to be re-tiled, floors in bathrooms and kitchens, cabinets that need to be re-hung and painted, electrical work. And then if I really don’t like what they have, we move everything out and decorate it from top to bottom. I have antique chairs and modern chairs. I have a large selection of prints and paintings. We’ll decorate right down to tea towels and dishcloths.

The rule is that when our stuff goes in, the

client doesn’t touch it. These towels have never been washed. They look like they did the day they came out of the store. Clients just keep a towel in their closet and use that. When a house is dressed, it has to stay that way-we don’t clean every week. The day after the house sells, we go in and remove everything we’ve put in. It all comes out. Even the flowers we’ve put into the garden.

The price range of houses that we typically work in is from $200,000 to $1 million, so every job is different. And it does move your house faster. Last summer, we did a house that went for $70,000 over asking. It wasn’t that nice of a house.

I’ve never had anyone get upset with me. It’s amazing. 5ometimes I have to be really brutal. But I can be nice when I want to be.

AMY CAMERON