Preparing Your Home For Sale
Your property’s presentation is indeed very important and if ignored can greatly hamper the successful sale of what is probably your biggest asset. You've heard it all before, a few times but we're going to put a bit of a twist on this so keep reading...
You don't have to spend a fortune
It is important to remember that you don't have to spend a fortune to present your home in its best light. Most home buyers are attracted firstly by the appearance of your home, so it is important to remember the old adage "you never get a second chance to make a good first impression".
This is what you could call a guideline or checklist to help ensure that your home is ready to be presented to buyers, with confidence.
When the buyer first arrives
External appearance or "street appeal" is the first thing to consider. Stand in front of your home and imagine for a moment that you are a potential buyer turning up for an inspection of the property. Make sure lawns and gardens are neat and tidy, neatly trimmed edges are a big plus and you can always add a splash of colour with some inexpensive flowers. If you have fences or gates that need repair it is best to tend to them now. Clear your mailbox daily and remove any flyers that are sometimes left half in or perhaps fall out and look very unsightly. Clean the gutters of any leaves or debris. Make sure you give your windows the once over. Clean driveways and footpaths and try if possible to keep garbage bins out of sight. Lubricate any squeaky hinges and fix any loose door handles or door knobs. Remove any spider webs from your eaves or under verandas. Make sure there is a door mat in place as this also indicates that you are conscious of keeping your home clean inside.
These items kept in check will greatly help in setting the mood when buyers first arrive, and will have them looking forward to seeing inside your home. These may seem like simple things but if overlooked or treated as unimportant, they can greatly influence the decision of the buyer to inspect or not inspect.
It's just a feeling you get the moment you step inside
Ok so that's outside taken care of let’s look at the inside. Inside the home is all about creating a feeling. Many buyers will have only taken a few steps inside a home when they 'feel' that it's right. It feels welcoming and homely.
Some areas you should look at are:-
- Remove clutter as this makes your home seem smaller
- Allow as much natural light in as possible by opening blinds
- If the weather permits it's always preferable to have a couple of windows partly open to allow fresh air through. If in winter or summer provide heating or cooling as necessary as the home should always feel comfortable
- Make sure bathrooms and kitchens are dazzling; these are the two main areas that the major decision maker rates. (whether we like to admit it or not, we all know who that is!)
- Make sure that the home is clean and tidy and beds are made. Don't confuse tidiness with obsessive behaviour, it is quite acceptable to have a newspaper on your coffee table or a magazine on your bedside table, so focus on clean.
What's that smell
Smell is particularly important, and even more so if you have pets. Some odours that are familiar to you may be offensive to others. Clean bird cages regularly, place pet bowls outside. If it is a concern you can purchase several types of odour neutralising aerosols or plug in types which remove any odour. Rather than the fresh brewed coffee or the bread in the oven trick, which most buyers are aware of and indeed may be concerned that you are trying to mask a bad odour, why not try some fresh flowers in a nice vase or some pot pourri in a decorative bowl.
Your 4 legged children
Try to remove your 4 legged friends during inspections as some people are afraid, yes even of tiny friendly ones!
Your 2 legged occupants
It is best that you are not in the home during the inspection as it can create a feeling of over-crowdedness, and can also make the buyer feel as they are imposing and as a result not relax and not get a good feel for your home.
Attend to any general maintenance ensure that all light bulbs work and anything that is generally obvious to the buyer. Take care not to get into a major renovating job just make sure it is clean and looks well maintained.
So, what's the twist?
The thing we have found is that you can look at your home and think that all these things need doing and it's going to cost a fortune and take forever to do. Remember the day you were rearranging the furniture, clipped the wall and put a little mark in the gyprock. For the last couple of years, every time you walk past that spot you look at the mark. The first thing you want to tend too before any buyers come through is "that" mark. The problem here is that you see too much!
So, how do you stop seeing too much? Do the walk around as suggested, compile a list, then get someone else who is not that familiar with your home and who is not afraid to speak their mind to do the same. Compare lists, then only do what you have both noticed.
See a potential buyer who has never been in your home before is not going to notice the things that you do, and they don't notice it simply because they are trying to absorb the entire home. Whatever is not noticed by your "someone else" is not important to fix!
Remember your home is not a new show home, it has been lived in, and that is the appeal!