Selling houses… it can be a minefield, and stressful, but with a bit of forethought it doesn’t have to be. Here are my top tips for a successful sale. Time to get busy!!
This isn’t a process to be rushed (unless you really have to, in which case buckle up, you’re in for a fast ride). Choose a date in the future as your target for when you want to list your home. There’s a lot to do before listing a home, so cut yourself some slack and don’t schedule it for a weeks time!!! Work back from this date and break down what you need to do. Write a list of who in the household is going to take responsibility for each task. Stick to it!
Fresh set of eyes
When you live in a house for years, you get used to living with imperfections or “things on a to-do list”. Wires hanging out of corners for those alarms you never ended up installing?? (oops that was my place for a few years after we moved in!) Maybe you replaced some window trim and never got round to painting it. DIY jobs that were never quite finished? There’s bound to be something! A fresh set of eyes will pick up on those just like a buyer would, and some quick fixes could be the difference between a buyer seeing something looking run-down to something immaculate. Ask
a brutally honest friend, or a professional, to help you identify these little issues so you can get them sorted as soon as possible. I offer a DIY staging service where I spend time on-site compiling a document with easy-to-follow advice for you to follow to improve your home for sale. Many home staging companies and designers will offer the same service, and it’s a fraction of the cost of having your house formally staged. Worth keeping in mind if you are stuck where to start!
This is so important and yet the one people put up the most resistance to because yes, it does involve work, and in some cases an element of ruthlessness!! Clutter immediately makes the buyer think the house has insufficient storage, and that it’s smaller than it actually is. A misconception is that it makes it feel homely… it only makes it feel homely to you as it’s your home! Buyers don’t see it that way. Buy some boxes and think of it on the bright side… when you do sell, there will be less to pack up! Plus there is less to dust for all those open houses. Wrap trinkets and personal photos in newspaper and box them ready for the move. Instead of the table inside your front door having a pile of unopened post, a load of family photos and a telephone, think of a vase of flowers or a lamp and a plant - keep it simple and welcoming. In the bathrooms, clear everything from round the basins and bathtub and store them in the drawers or cupboards. This includes all those rubber duckies and boats from the bathtub! Children’s rooms are always tricky as you don’t want to deprive your children of their toys but if you get them involved and excited about packing some away for when you move, they actually have fun doing it and it makes for a much less busy space. Clear any unnecessary paperwork off the office desk, and from kitchen benches. All these things help the buyer to see past all the “stuff” and pay attention to the bones of your house.
Lick of paint
Fresh paint is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to freshen up your house, particularly if you have outdated feature walls or bright children’s rooms. Go for neutral tones which will appeal to a wider audience. Bright white trims are a great way to add that extra pop.
Give the exterior a once-over
Rotten posts, flaking windows, leaking gutters, mould, ripped fly-screens… None of these scream “I’ve been well maintained” and that’s what buyers want. They need peace of mind that they aren’t buying someone else’s issues. Fix these up before you put your house on the market, and of course clean the windows too! First impressions start from the moment they pull up outside, so view your house from the road and fix up anything you think will detract from the initial “I love it” moment.
Give your garden some attention
Life is busy. Sometimes we mow the lawn without doing the edging, sometimes the pruning goes by the wayside, and as for keeping up the mulching… *cough*… guilty! Buyers don’t want to see a garden which appears time-consuming and hard to manage. Low maintenance is key. This doesn’t mean concrete it all but do invest in some mulch, mow the lawns, get the weeding done, and give the bushes a prune if they need it.
I can’t emphasise this enough. Good photos are the difference between someone flicking past your house online, and falling in love with it then and there. Professionals know how to shoot your house in it’s best light… literally. They get creative, their lenses maximise the space, they make dark and dingy look light and airy. They are magicians! This is definitely not an area to scrimp. Make your house as pristine as possible, make sure they take photos of all the rooms, and that these shots are then used online. If you were to look at a house online and it had a photo of the living room and one of the exterior, you would immediately jump to the conclusion that the rest of the house must be revolting and not worth photographing. Buyers do the same - this loses so many potential sales so don’t be one of these statistics!!
Choose an agent you get on with and trust
OK so you’ve no doubt spent some weeks or months getting your house ready for sale. The only person more important than the photographer is your Agent. Do your research, and then some. Who seems to pop up a lot in your area, with SOLD signs attached? Who is recommended online? Who do you keep seeing in your social media feeds? Who did others in the area use and would they use them again? You need to choose someone who you have utter confidence in. Someone who will market your property to as many people as possible, work tirelessly on your behalf and secure you the very best price for your property. When a house is first listed, that is when it will have the highest level of interest so make sure you price it realistically against the market, not just on what you “think” it’s worth because you love it so much, especially in it’s new pristine state!
You’ve put in the hard work to get your home ready for sale. Of course you’re attached to your home… it’s been the basis of years of memories. BUT now it’s an asset that you’re looking to sell for as much as possible. Enter quality Real Estate Agent… work with your agent closely, be flexible for viewings and keep your home presentable. The next person who drives past and sees the For Sale sign, calls your agent and views your home half an hour later could be “the one”.
Open hoUSe days
Now’s the time to present your home so that people fall in love with it!
Vacuum and mop the floors
Leave your kitchen clean and tidy, put away all dishes, kitchen cloths etc
Make the beds, smooth the doona covers
Don’t leave clothes strewn over bedrooms
Keep clean towels and tea towels for open home days. Replace all used towels with clean linen and make them look smart in your bathrooms.
Square up the chairs at your kitchen bench and dining table.
If it’s a hot day, turn on the air-con or open the windows for air-flow
Take your dogs (and ideally cats) out with you, and make sure the house smells delightful!