How much should you spend?
When preparing your home for the market the general rule is to spend as little money as possible. Feel free to make relatively inexpensive upgrades to your home, e.g. replacing chipped door knobs, but avoid undertaking major renovations, e.g. remodelling the kitchen.
It is a good idea to consult your agent over any changes you plan to make. Your agent can then advise you as to whether your proposed changes will add value to your property. It is pointless constructing a new fence if it will not increase the price you are likely to sell the property at.
Work at enhancing your home’s exterior appeal before attending to its interior. This should be your first priority as the exterior of your property provides a buyer’s introduction to your home. If the exterior repels a buyer, they are unlikely to investigate the inside of the house.
Imagine you are a potential buyer. Stand across the street from your property and study it. If you drove past this house and saw a “For Sale” sign, would you be attracted to the external features of the house and want to see more?
First impressions count!
Look over the following list of areas that may need attention when preparing the exterior of your property:
Lawn – Keep your lawns cut, with neat edges. Reseed any bare patches and perhaps fertilise for additional colour.
Shrubs/Trees – Trim branches where necessary, especially around windows to allow natural light into the house. Remove any dead limbs.
Garden Beds – If appropriate, plant colourful flowers. Also add mulch to beds and remove all weeds. Perhaps place showy annuals in pots near the house entrance.
Paths – Keep all paths swept.
Windows – Repair any broken windows and wash all glass.
Eaves – Wash and remove spider webs.
Drains/Spouts – Unblock and clean.
Paintwork – Attend to any flaking paint after discussion with your agent.
Doors – Wash down your front door and its surrounds, polish brass fitting and repair any torn fly wire.
Fences – Straighten, repair or repaint only after discussion with your agent.
Junk/Rubbish – Remove all junk and rubbish, e.g. car parts.
Pools/Ponds – Make sure these are clean.
Garage – Keep your garage door closed.
Having prepared the exterior of your home, turn your attentions to the interior.
Look over the following list of areas that deserve attention when preparing the interior of your property:
Clean/Remove clutter – Clean every room in your house thoroughly and remove any clutter. This has the effect of making your home appear bigger. You might even consider renting storage space whilst your house is on the market or even have a garage sale.
Carpet – Have your carpets steam cleaned.
Painting – Painting chipped or dirty walls is said to give you the best return for money spent. Neutral colours are best.
Damage – Repair any damaged plaster, tiles, wallpaper, windowpanes, etc.
Plumbing, heating and cooling systems – Inspect and repair. Fix any dripping taps.
Floorboards – Attend to any creaky or loose floorboards. Doors/Windows – Make sure these open and close effortlessly.
Knobs/Handles – Fix if loose, damaged or missing.
Bench tops – Keep these clean and clear. Plants – Consider buying some indoor plants.
Other – Secure jewellery, cash and other valuables as well as any prescription medication.
It’s now time for prospective buyers to visit your house. The exterior and interior preparation is complete and your home is looking terrific. Here are some extra tips to help you prepare your home for viewing:
Fill the house with light. Open all curtains and blinds and switch on lights.
Make the house smell beautiful. Fresh air is good in summer or spring. Alternatively, you might simmer vanilla essence on the stove, brew coffee, use an oil burner, potpourri or bake biscuits.
Clean and clear all the benches and tables.
Put out fresh towels, tea towels, table cloths, etc.
Restrain any pets.
Switch off the television and radio, although soft, soothing music may be suitable.
Make sure the house is at a comfortable temperature.
Put some flowers in a vase.
Give your agent the key to the front door. Potential buyers are important visitors and should not have to enter via the back door.
Make yourself scarce!
Many people leave the house prior to the appointed inspection time. If you can’t leave, perhaps wait outside during the viewing. Do not offer advice or try to help the agent in selling the property. Remember that you have employed your agent to do the selling and he/she will have far more experience than you when it comes to dealing with buyers.
With Open House sessions your house is advertised to be on display at a scheduled time and people do not need to make an appointment to view the house. These sessions are likely to attract more people, including ‘sticky-beak’ neighbours!
When preparing for an Open House you may need to pay a little more attention to detail. Unlike a viewing at short-notice, people expect an Open House to be presented perfectly, almost to look as if it is unoccupied. Extra touches could include setting the dining room table with your good china, and lighting a fire in the fireplace.
Now you are ready to make that sale!