“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Presentation of your property is a critical factor in achieving the highest possible price when selling your home. This is similar to detailing a car before you sell it. The emotional appeal required to stir the spirit of the buyers is unlikely to be generated by a poorly presented property. Most people don’t have the vision for what houses could be and will turn away from your home without blinking an eye because of a few little issues that don’t make it ‘turn-key’, and a neglected building sends out ‘warning signals’ to prospective buyers. Only about 10% of people can actually visualise the true potential of a property, and overseas reports show that a professionally presented property sells, on average, 17% higher than a home that is not.
Every seller wants their home to sell fast and for ‘top dollar’ – but it’s not luck that makes this happen – it is careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home to present it to the market.
It is more important now than ever before for real estate agents and their vendors to be looking outside the square and utilising any tools which may expedite a successful and profitable sale. Presentation is vital when selling a property and with an increasingly competitive market every advantage helps. You rarely get a second chance to make a first impression, so it is important to do whatever is possible to have your property looking its absolute best when entering the market.
Preparing Your Home for Sale
In preparing your home for the market, the aim is to spend as little money as possible to enhance its appeal. An excellent test is to go outside, close your eyes and say to yourself… “I’m a buyer seeing this house for the first time”. Go right through the house and look at it as a potential buyer would.
You will need to present your home at it’s best to facilitate a quick and easy sale. The property checklist (below) is designed to help you achieve the best possible price. It may require a small investment but your chances of maximising the saleability and appeal of your home and market value are greatly enhanced. In the selling of real estate, first impressions do count! Remember: Stay ahead of the rest – present your home at its best!
- First Impression: The approach to your property is critical. Tidy or ‘touch up’ steps paths, railings, fences, gates and your mail box.
- Waterblast the house, paths and decks to give the property a lift.
- Entrance: Pay particular attention to your main entrance way. Create a clean fresh smell as the buyer opens the door, by airing the house and applying a perfumed disinfectant spray.
- Potplants: Careful placement of some pot plants around the entrance can lend both a touch of colour and freshness – making your home feel more welcoming. (And best of all you can take them with you when you leave.)
- Kitchen: Ensure stove, fridge, sink and bench are spotless and all work spaces are free of dishes and clutter. Under the right circumstances replacing old cupboards doors and benchtops can pay dividends – sometimes even a simple update of kitchen handles can modernise the look.
- Bathroom/s: Keep them fresh and spotless. A few brightly coloured towels give a nice finishing touch. Don’t forget to look up – mould and mildew on the walls and ceilings can indicate both poor ventilation and other possible problems.
- Rooms: Make all rooms as light as possible – you may need to leave a light on in a dark room – and even step outside to prune trees and hedges that are preventing light from entering the room.
- Clutter: Have a spring clean – it sounds obvious, but what a difference a clean out can make. Take an objective look and remove those items that ‘clutter’ and make a room look smaller. Pack or store away anything that is not needed (for example, that treasured collection of childrens artwork, that pile up of paperwork that hasn’t been attended to, or that assortment of family photos).
- Wardrobes and Cupboards: Untidy or overcrowded closets suggest inadequate storage space. Ensure yours are neat, tidy and organised.
- Hallways: Remove clutter and any unnecessary items.
- Flooring: Clean (and polish) vinyl, tiled or wooden floors. If your carpet appears dirty, it may be worth the cost of a commercial cleaner or replacing with an inexpensive carpet (choose pale rather than dark colours to make rooms look bigger).
- Pets: Keep pets and their bedding secluded or out of the house. Check your house for pet hair and make sure all rooms are adequately ventilated.
- Interior: Dust, vacuum, sparkle and shine, spray with scented disinfectant. Air your home well. Revamp tired paint work. Clean windows and ranch sliders.
- Warm and Comfy: If weather is cool, switch on the heater or light the fire. Leave lights on inside if it is a ‘dark’ day.
- Rubbish: Remove any rubbish, both outside and inside the house.
- Extras: Some finishing touches may include: The smell of freshly brewed coffee; the smell of freshly baked bread or cake; a vase of fresh flowers; some soft background music; a warm fire.
- Exterior: Water blast exterior and gutters, wash windows, paint where necessary, remove any cobwebs and clutter. Repair or replace any damaged or rotting cladding, and consider repairing or painting a worn roof.
- Lawns/Gardens: Cut grass, trim edges, weed gardens, edge paths.
- Pools: If you have a pool, ensure that it is clear of leaves, the water clean, tiles are clean top and bottom and any pool equipment is stored away.
- General Repairs: Repair anything damaged, leaky or faulty. Including: Leaky gutters; Damaged window frames; Stains on carpet; Broken window pane; Dripping taps; Replace burnt out light bulbs; Faulty switches or wiring; Oil door hinges; Tighten door knobs.
- Permits: It is preferable to have permits for all addition/works. If you do not, you will need to weigh up the cost of obtaining a builders report, or appropriate professional.
- Safety: Repair/replace items/areas that are unsafe (eg. non-regulation railings, rotting boards on deck).
- Pre-Inspection: You may consider having a ‘pre-inspection’ carried out by a qualified building inspector. This allows you to be fully prepared for any likely concerns that may arise from a buyer.
- “One Best Thing”: Tell your Ray White Allens Sale Consultant the best thing about living in this home and any other helpful information (such as, which rooms benefit from morning/afternoon sun).
Preparing your home for sale involves hard work and some expense but does result in clear cut benefits at sale time. Feel free to discuss any ideas you have for improvement with your Ray White Allens Sales Consultant before you commence. They should be able to advise you what buyers are looking for, and what will add the most value to your home when it hits the market.
To improve the presentation of your home, we often suggest seeking the opinion of a professional/impartial person such as a property stylist. A professional property stylist will come to your home and provide you a detailed report suggesting things you can do to maximise the sale of your home. Don’t worry too much as many problems can be fixed over a weekend for little or no expense, and a little bit of effort here can lead to faster and more lucrative sales in the long run.
We also recommend this process when selling vacant properties – as most potential buyers feel that an empty house is smaller, and therefore less valuable, than it may actually be. In general it is usually harder to sell an empty house – and they can sell for less than their true value. Property stylists can make suggestions for creating an eye-catching yet affordable environment that highlights the features of your property – that may just make the difference when you go to sell.
The first impression must be positive when a buyer visits your property. A home that “shows well sells well”. Our experience constantly indicates that a well presented home will sell more quickly and, usually, for a higher price.
- If you have recently undertaken major building work, a Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) should be obtained from the local Council and its also advisable to obtain a LIM (Land Information Memorandum) on your property.
- Make a list of all the chattels that will remain in the house. Anything you may wish to take with you should be noted on the contract as an ‘exclusion’.