But without knowing who might be coming to inspect your property, how do you please everyone? The short answer is you probably can’t, but you may be able give yourself a better chance of piquing buyer interest and subsequently snagging the best possible sale price if you concentrate on some of the basics.
Many buyers are often interested in a property they can move into immediately, without the need for upgrades or repairs. A property that has been recently repaired or that shows signs of consistent maintenance may be more attractive to some buyers, and could lead to a higher sale price.
However, it’s important to consider these tips in light of your own circumstances, and decide whether the potentially higher sale price you may get from making these renovations is worth the time and money spent on them.
Here are 10 techniques that could help you make a good impression when selling your house:
1. Sparkle from the curb
Much is made of curb appeal, and for good reason. It’s the critical first impression that lasts with most buyers. Your home could be perfect inside but if it doesn’t dazzle from the street, some potential buyers might jump back in their car and head to the next property on their list.
It can be off-putting for some prospective buyers if you don’t mow, trim and edge the lawn, freshly mulch the garden beds and tidy up the trees and shrubs. Make sure the fence is secure and paint it if necessary. If there are any cracks in the driveway or footpath in front of your home, do what you can to repair and resurface them. Consider checking in with your local council before making any modifications to a driveway or footpath, because there may be certain rules or technical standards you need to comply with.
As far as the house exterior goes, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way – as can removing mud, wasp and bird’s nests from the eaves and above doors.
Remember to test out old door knobs and locks. A rusty, ancient door lock is not necessarily going to inspire confidence in security-minded buyers. Every little detail helps.
2. Declutter and organise
Whether inside or out, less is generally more when it comes to clutter. Your home may be more likely to exude that feeling of spaciousness if you minimise the extra furniture you have in each room. Your wardrobes and drawers may look more usable if they’re half-full with nothing on the floor. Despite what you may think, people do tend to look into cupboards, as storage is a big issue with many buyers. For kitchens and built-in bookshelves, it may be worth considering the rule of three:
For kitchens, some experts say there should be no more than three countertop appliances. Meanwhile, bookshelves should be divided into thirds: one-third books, one-third vases or some appropriate décor items, and one-third empty. Most people don’t want to see rooms overflowing with clutter, as this can be distracting.
3. Clean, clean and clean again
Few things can turn a buyer off quicker than a dirty house. If the kitchen sink and benchtops are dirty, this will likely not leave a great impression on buyers.
So it can be worth the effort to go the extra mile and get your home sparkling clean. This includes everything from dusting shelves, to steam-cleaning tile crevices and grout.
Your should aim to ensure your home is neat, clean and free of all debris. If the carpets are old and smell their age, consider replacing them. If they’re relatively new, perhaps have them shampooed.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of scent
Some buyers, it’s said, buy with their noses. Kitchen odours can be an issue, so while the house is on the market, consider refraining from cooking fried food, fish, or particularly smelly dished like boiled cabbage. The same considerations apply to smokers: remove all ashtrays, clean all curtains and upholstery, and consider smoking outdoors while your home is on the market.
Interestingly, next to the kitchen, the smelliest room in the house can be the living room because that room typically has the most fabric, and that’s where the odours are absorbed.
You may not notice it anymore, but if your home comes with the unmistakable odour of the family pet, make sure the place is well aired out before any inspections. A strategically-placed diffuser or scented candle can also go a long way.
5. Send your pets on holiday
Speaking of pets, some owners mistakenly believe that their love for their furry friend is universal. Sadly this isn’t always the case. The truth is, a significant number of people really aren’t fond of dpets and don’t want to be near them. It may be best to eliminate all traces of your pets while the inspections are happening. But not just the odours – consider leaving your pets with friends so they’re not around when the house is shown to prospective buyers.
It’s also important to think about hiding away pet paraphernalia, such as dog dishes, cat litter boxes, etc. These can immediately turn off some buyers.
How we decorate to live and how we decorate to sell can be entirely different. For this reason, collecting all family photos and personal items from each room while your house is on the market can be worth considering.
When buyers tour a home, they’re interested in living in, they tend to look at it from the perspective of how it fits their circumstances. Anything that makes the house obviously yours can be distracting, and not necessarily as ‘homey’ as you may have intended it to be. Give people every chance to imagine how the home would work with them in it.
7. Think about updating the fixtures
Dated – or worse, broken – fixtures and fittings can draw attention in a negative way. New cabinet hardware and doorknobs typically don’t cost the earth but they can make a world of difference to the overall look of your rooms.
While these items can be replaced or fixed by the new buyer, it might impede you from getting the highest price possible for your home.
8. Put on a freshly painted face
As mentioned already, one of the easiest ways to spruce up your property is to paint it. If done well, this can look good and can help hide other problems, such as marks and stains that have accumulated over the years. When painting, it can be beneficial to use light-coloured, neutral tones. These appeal to the widest range of potential buyers and can help create the feeling of a blank canvas. The light colours may also help make rooms appear more spacious.
Be cautious about old wallpaper, unless you think it will add to the appeal of the home. To bring your place up-to-date, consider scraping off the wallpaper and painting over it with a neutral colour instead. This may help make it easier for buyers to imagine what they would do with the space.
You might not need to paint the whole property if it’s in decent condition. You could simply focus on the exterior trim and front door in this case. If you’re not confident with your painting abilities, hire a professional to get the job done right. A bad paint job can do more harm than good.
9. Showcase the kitchen
The kitchen is where the family will gather for food preparation or a chat, and it should be a clean, comfortable space. Consider taking care of any problems that make it less usable or relaxing. This could include fixing or replacing any drawers or cupboards in need of repair.
Also consider, repairing any damaged laminate on your countertop, or replacing the surface if necessary. One popular option is a granite worktop, which may cost extra but is usually more resistant to chips and scratches.
Repair leaking taps if necessary and consider replacing old sinks with new ones. You want your kitchen to sparkle.
10. Pamper the bathroom
Another area of the home buyers often pay close attention to is the bathroom.
The presence of lots of water and frequent use makes the bathroom more prone to damage than other areas, so pay special attention to this part of the house. Here are some specifics to consider:
- Replace or repair old, leaky taps and put down new grouting if necessary
- Replace caulking around areas like the toilet, shower, and sink to help keep moisture out
- Repair or replace damaged and chipped tiles on the floors, walls, and other surfaces
- Give the bathroom an instant upgrade with a new toilet seat and shower curtain
- Before an inspection, don’t forget to put out fresh towels to give the bathroom a lift