Preparing your Property for Market
Selling? Add that WOW Factor!
Adding Extra Sparkles
Giving your property that extra appeal
You rarely need to spend thousands of dollars to make your home attractive.
Buyers are attracted by appearance of your property and, when they inspect it, they are influenced by its atmosphere. The right appearance outside, followed by the right mood inside, gives you the best chance to get the highest price.
You rarely need to spend thousands of dollars in renovations or repairs to make your property attractive. All you have to do is pay attention to some obvious points, all of which can make a big difference to your price.
Falling In Love
Buying a home is emotional. The feeling of a home is more important than the price. If your agent has ‘qualified’ the buyers, they will not be ‘lookers’; they will be genuine people who can afford your asking price.
Their feelings will be the main reason they accept or reject your property. The word ‘love’ is common with home-buying – and even with land, when buyers report loving the location.
Buyers say, “We loved that home and that’s why we bought it”. So make sure you present your property at its finest. Remove or fix anything that might ‘turn-off’ the buyers.
We are attracted to homes the same way we are attracted to people.
The first thing we notice is the outside. If the property is clean and neat and welcoming, we are interested. If it is scruffy or dirty, we are turned off.
Buyers often say they “just want to look from the outside”. They want to see if they are attracted by the appearance.
For this reason you need to be careful how your agent markets the property. Advertising an address, and opening for inspection a property that might not be attractive from the outside, can lose many buyers.
To make your home look its best, attention to detail is crucial. When you live in a property, you can overlook its little faults. It is now time to have a fresh look.
Stand in the street and look at your property as if you were seeing if for the first time. Try hard to pick faults. It is better that you find the faults while there is time to fix them, than the buyers finding the faults.
Try to judge your property by the standards of the buyers, not by your standards – try and see it through strangers’ eyes.
The challenge is to make your property as attractive as possible without spending too much.
The Outside Appearance
First impressions create permanent opinions – so create a positive mood for all prospective purchasers.
Remove all rubbish from the gutters. Clear the letterbox of junk-mail. Do your best to make sure the lawn is not bone-dry. Green grass is appealing and a sprinkler does wonders to most lawns – a bit hard with water restrictions, I know!
If you have a gate, make sure it doesn’t squeak. If your front fence needs repair, it might be better to demolish it. If the buyers see a potential expense, they either won’t buy or they will expect a reduction in your price.
Clean the paths and the outside of your property to remove dust and cobwebs (close your windows first). And clean the windows so that they sparkle; few things are as ugly as dirty windows.
Make sure there is no paint flaking. You may not have to repaint, but at least scrape off any loose paint pieces.
Flowers do wonders for the front of a property; and the brighter the better. They create a homely look. You can get flowers for any season. Daffodils, pansies, petunias – go to the local nursery and ask for advice.
Buy flowers in pots, and make sure they are displayed in two places: near the street and near your front door.
You want buyers to fall in love with your property, so give it that loved look. At the front door, have a thick door-mat with ‘welcome’ on it. It sounds corny, but it feels good. It is friendly; it feels like home.
Make sure that the screen door is working. Have a door-knockers or a bell with pleasant chimes. If you have a door bell make sure it works. If people come to your home in the evening, have the welcome light on.
When buyers arrive, you want them to think, “This looks nice.” By the time they reach your front door, you want them to think, “This feels nice. I like it!”
Neat, clean and friendly are the first steps to making your home attractive from the outside.
Create an appeal that says, “Welcome. Come inside”.
The Inside Atmosphere
When buyers enter your property they should immediately feel at home. The inside atmosphere should be warm and appealing. One agent described it by saying, “A home should look and feel happily lived-in”.
Make the atmosphere natural and relaxed, even if it means changing (or improving) your living habits. When it’s cold outside burn candles with a spicy or woody fragrance yet during summer stick to more uplifting smells like citrus or mint.
Genuine appeal is what wins the buyers. A radio or a TV – never too loud – is a natural part of home life. Well-made beds with warm quilts and lots of pillows really make a property feel like home. Home truly is ‘where the heart is’ and anything that increases the emotional feeling of comfort is something we all love.
Nothing turns people off more than bad smells, so be sure your property smells fresh. You can buy fragrances that remove bad odours.
If you have pets be careful, because their smell, while familiar to you, can be unpleasant to others. Take pets’ blankets and bowls outside. A dog that jumps up can be irritating and distracting, but not as bad as a savage dog that terrorises the buyers.
Rmove your dog during inspections – take it for a walk. And always, be sure that there is no ‘doggie surprises’ for your buyers to step in while inspecting the garden.
Bright and Airy
Make sure the property is bright and airy by opening the curtains. Fresh air, if practicable, is always best.
If you have a fireplace and its winter, an open log fire can be a big selling feature. At the very least, make sure the property is warm in winter and cool in summer.
Try to remove clutter so your property does not look smaller than it is. The time for a clean-up or a ‘garage sale’ is before you sell, not afterwards.
Most properties have some natural untidiness – a book beside the bed, a newspaper in a kitchen or slippers on the floor – this is acceptable and expected. What is not acceptable is dirt. Make sure the bathrooms are clean to the point of sparkling. Fresh fluffy towels add a warm feeling. Atmosphere is everything.
The bathrooms and kitchen are especially important to a woman, who is usually the major decision maker.
If there is any unfinished work inside the property – such as skirting boards that have been removed – fix these things. If there are any obvious minor repairs – such as door handles missing or broken hooks – fix these too. Repair all irritating things that are likely to catch the eyes of buyers.
Be very careful if you do any painting. Painting one dull room can suddenly make the other unpainted rooms look dull too. Before you know it you have a major painting job on your hands; this could lead to replacing the carpets, even the tiles in the bathroom. Suddenly you are involved in a very expensive renovation.
The cleanliness and the mood are most important but all expense needs careful consideration. Will you get the money back?
Ask your agent’s opinion.
The best advice is to do all you can to make your property feel like a home. Make it sparkle without making it too immaculate or clinical.
Some sellers created a show-home. In doing so, they create a cold sterile effect. Homes with warmth are the most attractive and appealing.
Most improvement often return only half their cost upon sale.
If your property needs major renovation, it may be better to avoid the expense of renovation and instead select a lower asking price.
Many buyers want to renovate a property to suit their own taste. While minor improvements can give you a great return on your selling price, major improvements are often a big mistake.