When you’re selling your home, how do you please everyone? The answer is you can’t, but you can give yourself the best chance of piquing buyer interest and subsequently snagging the best possible sale price if you concentrate on the basics.
Here are 10 ways to 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’s unkempt from the street, many potential buyers might not even step foot inside. It can be a big mistake if you don’t mow, trim and edge the lawn, freshly mulch the garden beds and trim the trees and shrubs. Make sure the fence is secure and newly painted if necessary. If there are any cracks in the driveway or sidewalk in front of your home, repair and resurface them. As far as the house exterior goes, gurneying the outside is way better than leaving mud wasp and bird’s nests in the eaves and above the doors. Test out old door knobs and locks. A rusty, ancient door lock is not going to inspire confidence in security-minded buyers. Every little detail helps.
2. Declutter and organise
Whether inside or out, less is more when it comes to clutter. Your home will exude that feeling of spaciousness if you get rid of extra furniture you have in each room. Your wardrobes and drawers should be half-full with nothing on the floor. Despite what you may think, people really do look into cupboards, as storage is a big issue with buyers. Kitchens and built-in bookshelves should follow the rule of three. For kitchens, 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. Nobody wants to see rooms overflowing with clutter, as this can be very distracting.
3. Clean, clean and clean again
Few things turn a buyer off quicker than a dirty house. It is vitally important that sellers go the extra mile and get their home sparkling clean. This goes from steam-cleaning tile and grout to replacing carpets. If the carpets are old and smelly, replace them. If they are relatively new, you should at least have them shampooed. Grime can derail a sale. The home should be neat, clean and free of all debris. If it reeks of cats or the kitchen sink and benchtops are so filthy that it almost looks like the food is moving, most people won’t even come in – and that includes real estate agents.
4. Make it smell nice
Buyers, it’s said, buy with their noses. Kitchen odours can be an issue so while the house is on the market, don’t cook fried food, fish, greasy food or particularly smelly stuff like boiled cabbage. The same rules hold true for 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 is actually the living room because that room typically has the most fabric, and that is where the odours are absorbed. It’s a huge plus to make sure your home smells fresh and inviting to people walking through.
5. Send your pets on holiday
Some pet owners mistakenly believe pet smells to which they’ve become accustomed help make their abode ‘homey’. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re a dog person, you tend to think everyone else is a dog person but the truth is, a significant number of people really aren’t fond of dogs and don’t want to be near them. It’s best to eliminate all traces of pets, not just pet odours. Send your pets on holidays to make sure the animals are not around when the house is shown to prospective buyers.
It’s also important to get rid of pet paraphernalia, such as dog dishes, cat litter boxes, etc. That immediately turns off a buyer because they wonder, ‘What has that animal done in the house?’ Also, some people really don’t like dogs. The minute they walk in and see this big, old dog bowl, they immediately won’t like the house.
Collect all family photos and personal items from each room and ask a friend to look after them while your house is on the market. The reason is that when buyers tour a home, they are looking at it from how it fits their everything that makes the house scream ‘you’ is distracting, not ‘homey’. Give people every chance to imagine how the home would work with them in it. Always remember, how we decorate to live and how we decorate to sell are entirely different.
7. Update the fixtures
If there’s one thing that draws attention in a negative way, it’s old fixtures on your doors and cabinets. New cabinet hardware and doorknobs don’t cost the earth but they can make a world of difference to the overall look of your rooms. Homes that have grimy old ceiling fans, lights, ovens, microwaves, ranges and dishwashers can really turn a buyer off.
While these things can be replaced or fixed by the new buyer, it’s might just impede you from getting the highest price possible for your home.
8. Put on a freshly painted face
One of the easiest ways to spruce up your property is to give it a fresh coat of paint. This looks good and can help hide other problems, such as water marks or smoke stains that have accumulated over the years. When painting use light-coloured, neutral tones. These appeal to the widest range of potential buyers and create the feeling of a blank canvas. The light colours will also help make rooms appear more spacious. Don’t chance old wallpaper either. Although wallpaper may be making a comeback, in most cases it looks hopelessly out-of-date and is very much a matter of personal taste. You’ll want to scrape off the wallpaper and paint over it with a neutral colour instead. This will help make it easier for buyers to imagine what they would do with the space. There’s no 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
This is where the family will gather for food preparation or for a chat, and it should be a clean, comfortable workspace. Be sure to take care of any problems that leave it less than useable or relaxing. This could include fixing any drawers or cupboards in need of repair, including replacing hinges or tracking. Replace cupboard doors if necessary. Repair damaged laminate on your countertop, replacing the surface if necessary. One option these days is a granite worktop, which may be expensive but is resistant to chips and scratches. This makes granite popular with buyers. Repair leaking taps and if necessary, replace old sinks with new ones. You want your kitchen to sparkle.
10. Pamper the bathroom
Another area of the home buyers pay close attention to is the bathroom.
The high moisture content and frequent use of the bathroom makes it more prone to damage than other areas, so pay special attention to this part of the house. Replace or repair old, leaky taps. 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. And before an inspection, don’t forget to put out gorgeous new towels to give the bathroom that pampering spa look.
Why do impressions matter?
All the maintenance and repair tips listed here are important because they can help you improve your property’s value and increase the chances of a quick sale. Buyers are usually interested in a property that they can move into immediately, without the need for further repairs. A property that has been recently repaired or that shows signs of consistent maintenance will be more attractive, and could lead to a higher net profit for you.