Kathryn Trenerry-Harker's beloved tabby cat Theo in the family's Renfrew home. Courtesy Charlie Harker

To find the perfect house, Kathryn Trenerry-Harker and her family only had to look down the street

Kathryn Trenerry-Harker and her husband Stu have lived in the community of Renfrew for close to 19 years. They have forged close relationships with neighbours and watched their two children – Georgia,16, and Charlie,13 – grow into teenagers. But as the kids got older, their 70-year-old, 1,000 square-foot, two-bedroom bungalow was bursting at the seams. This sent the family searching for a bigger space, one that would accommodate the kids, all their stuff and their beloved orange tabby cat, Theo.

They found what they were looking for a few blocks from their original home – a new-build, five-bedroom, three-storey duplex with a double-detached garage, xeriscaped yard and, of course, lots of space for Theo to roll around and explore.

CREB®Now: What was on your must-have list?

Kathryn Trenerry-Harker: Our must-haves included lots of kitchen storage, lots of natural light, at least three bedrooms above grade, an office space, a spare room for guests, room for two bikes on spin stands (over the winter), space for an art area, space for a ping pong table, and a fireplace.

CREB®Now: Did you use a REALTOR®? If so, what was the process like?

Kathryn Trenerry-Harker: We did use a Realtor. This was something new for us. When we bought our bungalow, it was for sale by owner and we didn’t have a Realtor. When we negotiated with the owners, they’d go down to the basement to discuss and then come back up to us to present their counter offer.

This time, since we were both selling and buying, our Realtor was vital. We did not want to leave Renfrew, and had been keeping our eyes open for the appropriate house for years. When the right one came up, we called our Realtor and made an offer. We knew it was the right house the same way we knew our bungalow was the house for us – both homes just had a good feel when we walked in.

CREB®Now: What was the sale process like? Do you have advice for others selling their home?

Kathryn Trenerry-Harker: Our sale process was insane. Our offer on the new house was accepted Friday night. By Saturday at 2 p.m., our bungalow listing went live. By 6 p.m. we had two offers, and by 8 p.m. Saturday we had sold the bungalow above asking in a bidding war. Because it went so quickly, we really relied on our Realtor to make everything work with conditions and dates. It was sort of an unusual situation to have things happen so rapidly.

A home stager, provided by the Realtor, helped me rearrange the stuff we had to make the house look its best. We rented a small storage locker and stored a few things that were visually cluttering. On the advice of the stager, we did not declutter. Our closets were organized, but very full. She advised that it is better to show a full closet that is working, rather than a closet with only a few clothes in there – nobody lives like that.
I think our sale went so fast because our photographs were excellent. My advice would be don’t scrimp on photographs.