By Rebecca Mitchell
In most cases, once the decision has been made by a home owner that they want to sell, they usually want the sale completed quickly and with a minimum of fuss and bother. After all, keeping your home clean and tidy at all times and then having strangers traipse through at any time of the day or night can get a little tiring. So what can sellers do at their end to make the sale process happen quickly?
Research the marketplace
The first step is to educate yourself by researching the market and, more importantly, your competition. Attend open homes to check out other properties for sale in your local area in the same price bracket. What makes them appea lin g and what turns you off? Listen to comments from other people at the inspection. Don't just rely on the asking price though. It is paramount you research recent sales too. Sold prices are a true indication of realistic property values.
Having your home presented well is one of the main things any home owner can do to ensure their property sells quickly and for a good price. Depending on the budget, there are a range of things that can be done to spruce up a property and make it more appealing to buyers. With enough hands and the right advice you may even have the place sale-worthy in one weekend.
If your budget is limited then cleaning and de-cluttering are the first steps - all you need are some cleaning products, a little elbow grease and a ruthless eye. Where necessary, wash down walls and cei lin gs. If carpets are very dirty consider hiring a steam cleaning kit or employ a professional if the budget allows. Use floor rugs to hide bad stains. The next step is to de-clutter. The goal is to make rooms look bigger by removing unnecessary furniture and knick knacks that make a room feel overdone and messy. For inspiration check out furniture catalogues and design magazines. Consider adding inexpensive design accessories such as scatter cushions, lamps, picture frames and fresh flowers.
With any house sale it is paramount the kitchen and bathroom look clean, fresh and neat. Remove excess clutter from benchtops. Don't overlook inside the cupboards though. Any interested buyer will want to check cupboard space so it's no good having a clean exterior if inside your cupboards is dirty and messy.
If your budget stretches a little further then you might consider minor improvements that can be done quickly by a home handyperson. A fresh coat of paint can make the world of difference to tired walls and cei lin gs and will get rid of any lin gering smells. Updating old and damaged b lin ds and light fittings will instantly lift a room that is looking a little dated.
A complete bathroom or kitchen renovation is not only costly but takes time. Sometimes replacing one or two items such as tapware, bathroom vanity or shower screen, along with a fresh coat of paint, can instantly freshen these rooms.
Don't overlook or neglect your outdoor areas. Hit your local nursery and stock up on pot plants - you can always take these with you when you move. Use flowering annuals to add splashes of colour and indoor plants to add life to dark shady areas of your garden. Your entry should invite buyers to inspect further so don't overlook your front door and entry hall.
If you have a larger budget but are short on time, employ the professionals. A pre-sale stylist can cast a professional eye over your home and provide impartial advice. They can assist with furniture hire and storage if some of your belongings need to be removed temporarily.
Your first open home
Once you have completed your pre-sale makeover and employed a real estate agent to take care of the sale, the next step is to prepare for the open homes. If you are sel lin g in winter get rid of these stale, musty winter smells by opening doors and windows early in the morning. Once the home smells fresh, close them up and turn on heaters so the home is warm and inviting for visitors. Use fresh flowers to add colour and sweet, natural smells.
You should not be present during inspections (unless the agent expressly asks you to). It can put buyers off making them feel like they are imposing. If you have a dog, take them with you. Where possible, leave parking spaces free around the property for buyers. You are spending a lot of money on advertising and it's a shame if people are turned away because they can't find a park.
Finally, your goal is to ensure that your property presents at its best and is price comparable to others for sale. The rest is up to your real estate agent who, through a well devised marketing campaign, will attract buyers to inspect and work hard to negotiate a quick sale. Good luck and should you be considering selling please contact our office for obligation free advice and guidance.
Rebecca Mitchell is a property styling and presentation expert beased in Sydney's Northern Beaches.