Lets face it we all buy with our eyes first! I myself have been known to choose a bottle of wine just for the label – heaven forbid. Selling your home is no different to selling any other product. A house that is visually attractive and “sparkles” on the surface will sell faster than its shabby neighbour, even though both are structurally well-maintained.
From experience, all real estate agents know that a “well-polished” house appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and generally for a higher price. Sometimes this can be a hard concept for us to sell to sellers as it can seem like a lot of work, effort and money. Although at the end of the process when the contract is done and dusted I have never met a client that wasn’t happy.
You see its pretty simple, buyers will always feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is maintained, what they can’t see has probably also been maintained. Buyers are cynical by nature and so they should be its a big purchase. So if there are a number of obvious maintenance items before they have even walked through the door….well…you know how this plays out, and its usually in the form of a low sales price.
Time and time again I see this in the marketplace, that buyers are always more enthusiastic and more prepared to pay that extra dollar for the well presented home.
I am always asked about the general things that need to be looked at in preparing a home for sale. As a professional agent I usually have a home preparation team come in and provide the work plan for my clients to work from. But for those who aren’t quite ready to sell yet, here is an overview of what I generally suggest.
In preparing your house for sale, consider:
- How much should you spend
- Exterior and street appeal
- Preparing the interior
How much should you spend?
In preparing your home for the market, consider carefully the money you spend as large scale expenses will not necessarily equal an increase in sale price. Buyers will be impressed by a brand new roof, but they aren’t likely to give you enough extra money to pay for it. There is a big difference between making minor and inexpensive “polishes” and “touch-ups” to your house, such as putting new knobs on cabinets and a fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room, and doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen.
Always use a local expert (like me !), who is familiar with buyers’ expectations in your neighbourhood, I can advise you specifically on what improvements need to be made. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice.
Maximizing exterior and curb appeal
Before putting your house on the market, take as much time as necessary to maximize its exterior and interior appeal. Tips to enhance your home’s exterior and curb appeal:
- Keep the lawn edged, cut, fertilised and watered regularly.
- Trim hedges, weed lawns and flowerbeds, and prune trees regularly.
- Re-mulch garden beds where required.
- Check the foundations, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and crumbling.
- Inspect doors and windows for peeling paint.
- Replace any damaged gutters.
- Have windows professionally cleaned.
- Repair and replace loose or damaged roof tiles.
- Repair and repaint loose bricks or mortar.
- During spring and summer months consider adding a few showy annuals, perhaps in pots, near your front entrance.
- Re-seal or repair driveways.
- Keep your garage door closed.
- Store trailers, boats, caravans or additional vehicles elsewhere while the house is on the market.
- Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door.
- Replace an old or damaged letterbox.
Maximizing interior appeal
Enhance your home’s interior by:
- Giving every room in the house a thorough cleaning, as well as removing all clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Consider renting a storage unit to store excess furniture and create a sleeker, more spacious look.
- Hiring a professional cleaning service, once every few weeks while the house is on the market. This takes an enormous amount of stress out of selling a home, especially for busy families who are busy elsewhere.
- Removing the less frequently used, even daily used items from kitchen counters, closets, and storage spaces, making these areas much more inviting.
- Since you’re anticipating a move anyhow, holding a garage sale at this point is a great idea.
- If necessary, repainting dingy, soiled or strongly coloured walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. The same neutral scheme can be applied to tired floorcoverings and window treatments.
- Checking for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in any roof storage or basement / cellar areas.
- Repairing cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallpaper, paint, and tiles.
- Replacing broken or cracked windowpanes, mouldings, and other woodwork.
- Inspecting and repairing the plumbing, heating, cooling, and alarm systems.
- Repairing dripping taps and showerheads.
- Buy new towels for the bathroom, to be brought out only when prospective buyers are on the way.
- Spruce up a kitchen in need of more major renovating by investing in new cabinet knobs, new curtains, or a coat of neutral paint.
- Consider hiring a cleaning company to conduct a detail clean of the home.
- Check all light-bulbs are working
- Steam cleaning bathroom tiled areas and shower screens can make them sparkle and look like new.
- Have ovens professionally cleaned.
It may seem daunting but the results are well worth it. I like to compare the process to a project call “Lets increase the value of our home”. Lets face it, if at $10,000 maintenance plan generates you increased buyer numbers and an additional $100,000 over your expected sales price to match, it will be the best tax free money you can earn.
I specialise in assisting families in getting their homes ready for sale. Its my passion to help families make sure they don’t leave any money on the table and squeeze every dollar they can out of the market place. After all – you don’t get to do it twice !