After years of advising clients on how to get their home ready for sale and achieve the best result, I have created a short list of actions I highly recommend that can reap significant dollar returns for a relatively small investment.
Here is a list of tasks I believe every owner should consider as a minimum before bringing their home to the market:
1. Check your street appeal
It’s unlikely that someone will buy your home after just seeing it from the street, but it is possible to lose a potential buyer before they have even stepped out of their car. Your home needs to look appealing, loved, and cared for, from the first moment a buyer arrives at your property. Here are some starting points:
- Ensure your lawns, gardens, and landscaping are all well maintained
- Store boats, unused cars, trailers, and any other large items elsewhere while your property is for sale
- Wash the house, clear blocked roof gutters, waterblast the decks, paths, and driveway, and remove any rubbish
- Re-paint (or clean) the front fence and considering ditching the old letter box for a nice new one
- Buyers will already be forming judgements as they approach your property. If your street is looking untidy, consider getting out there and tidying up the general appearance around your home
This is one of the most important things you can do to improve the appeal of your home. Sorting through your personal items and removing anything unnecessary can create an impression of much larger, brighter rooms and outdoor spaces. Here are a few hints for the decluttering process:
- Give yourself plenty of time for this job. Depending on how much you have, the sorting through process may take longer than anticipated.
- Be ruthless! If you have stored it for years and not used it, you probably don’t need it. Only keep what you really need to take to your next property.
- Categorise as you sort. Every item needs to be either sold, given away, discarded, retained and stored, or retained and displayed.
- Move everything not essential for day-to-day living, or the presentation of your home, into storage. Self-storage facilities are everywhere now, and are a cost effective option for a few weeks. If this is not possible, store all your excess items in your garage. Buyers will look past a cluttered garage, as long as the living areas of the home are looking great.
You want buyers viewing your home to imagining themselves living there, rather than feeling like they are invading someone else’s personal space. Remove items such as family photos, achievement certificates, and children’s artwork on the walls. Although these precious personal items mean so much to you, they are actually distractions to a buyer.
4. Get all the little maintenance issues resolved
We all have that list of odd jobs that we know need doing around the house. This is the time to sort them all out, so that your home presents as being a well maintained property. Little things can leave a lasting impression. For example, poorly adjusted cabinetry hinges can make a kitchen appear to be in poor condition. A few minutes with a screwdriver can have all the draws and cupboard doors fitting like the day they were first installed. Walk through and around your home and make sure all these odd jobs are attended to.
5. Clean, clean, clean (and then clean some more!)
Your home must feel like a five star hotel. Cleanliness is so important to the impression a buyer will get when inspecting your home. The standard needs to be higher than you would ever expect of yourself during normal living. The whole house is important, however particular attention and time must be given to the kitchen and bathroom areas.
If you have a pet dog, there is a likelihood that your interior may have odours to which you have become immune, but which may be very off-putting to a buyer. Professional carpet cleaning may dramatically alleviate this issue. If you have a smoker in your family who has smoked indoors, this will really impact on the sell ability of your home. To remedy this you can clean and deodorise carpets, soft furnishings, and curtains, and then ban smoking inside while your house is on the market. This may sound harsh, but it is really necessary.
7. Consider home-staging
The difference professional home staging can make to the look and feel of your home can be staggering. There are significant dollar gains to be made here. Although furnishings can be perfectly fine for day to day living, sometimes they are not really up to it when it comes to displaying a home at its best for marketing. There are so many providers of this type of service now that you don’t have to pay huge sums to achieve a fantastic result.
8. My final tip – Keep everything immaculate while your house is on the market
Ok, so you have done all the hard work and your home is ready to go on the market. All you have to do now is maintain the fantastic presentation you have achieved for a few weeks more, and it will all be over. Get the family on board with this. Everyone needs to know how important the next few weeks are. You never know when an agent might ring wanting to introduce a hot buyer to view your home at short notice. Try to be ready to accept a viewing request any time, and be confident that your home is presenting at its best.
If you are considering selling your home, following these 8 simple tips can make the difference between an average sale price and a premium result. For a relatively modest investment, the returns can be very significant.