By David Spence
The only thing more important than keeping up with the Jones’s is selling up before the Jones’s, while getting the best asking price for your home once you’ve put it on the market.
Right now there’s no shortage of properties waiting an increasingly long time to be sold in what is a buyer’s market. So how do you give your property the edge?
Realestate guru David Spence from ReMax Living has successfully sold hundreds of millions of rands’ worth of property – from starter flats to mansions that mere mortals can only dream about. He knows what makes a real difference in getting a buyer over the line and what’s just a waste of capital when you’re the seller.
Whilst it’s tempting to give your home a complete makeover, bear in mind that you might not recoup your renovation expenses.
The cost of remodelling your property can rapidly mushroom, so keep things in perspective, especially as buyers will begin making alterations of their own as soon as the keys are handed over.
With this in mind, it’s important to know what to fix and what to forget, how to draw up a plan and where to draw the line
1. First impressions count
The first step is to make sure that your property captures the imagination of your prospective buyers from the moment they step inside the front gate. Buyers gravitate towards neat, clean, clutter-free interiors and exteriors, in which they can immediately begin to imagine themselves living.
If you have a garden, it’s vital to make sure that it is neatly presented and inviting. Short-cut grass, tidy flower beds and boundary walls in a good state of repair make for a great first impression.
Security is also a vital draw card for most buyers. Features such as alarms, security cameras and electric fences need to be in good working order. Unkempt gardens and obvious security risks are likely to put off prospective buyers before they’ve even set foot in the house.
Security is also a vital draw card for most buyers. Features such as alarms, security cameras and electric fences need to be in good working order
2. Choose the right agent
Are estate agencies key to the success of selling your house? Not always, but the right agent certainly is.
Having a good agency in your corner can be a great help, but choosing the right agent (not the brand behind them) will make the difference between selling at or close to your asking price, or else waiting and falling short. Begin by researching into which agents have sold the most properties in your area and ask family, friends and neighbours for referrals.
It’s not enough to accept that the agent sent by the agency is the best or right fit for selling your home. If you’re struggling to know who to decide on, invite several agents to your home to pitch for your mandate in order to find out their personal sales and success in your area.
Find out their approaches to bringing in buyers and their propositions for marketing strategies. Make sure to have questions prepared about the number of houses they’ve sold that are similar to yours and ask them to tell you about neighbourhood trends and activity.
Style is as much in the eye of the beholder as beauty, and an important rule of thumb is that less is more. Sprucing up your interior design should definitely include clearing clutter. A prospective buyer will not only judge you on your neatness, but also the house you are trying to sell.
Of course, your pride and sense of style has long resided in your home, but it’s important to remember that your priority is to make a sale at this point, rather than a fashion statement.
Spending a small fortune on the latest wallpaper designs or that luxurious-looking hot tub should not be your number one priority, but a fresh lick of paint should be, especially if the dirt has been accumulating over the past few years.
4. Well-presented houses sell for higher prices
Kitchens, bathrooms and beyond
Kitchens and bathrooms are crucial selling points for any home, so it’s vital to capitalise on this and make them look their best. The perception of cleanliness is a must in these rooms. If you are prepared to budget for a partial or complete makeover of any specific rooms, then these should be the ones to consider.
If you can, replace worn and cracked tiles. Carpeting should be left in the 1980s and replaced with laminate flooring, engineered wood or tiles. Similarly, old fixtures such as taps and shower heads can readily be replaced with gleaming new versions, and you don’t have to go for the most expensive options for the desired results.
Take the time to re-grout around the bath and shower.
Counter tops and cabinets are the most noticeable features in your kitchen. If minor repairs are not enough to bring your kitchen back to its best, then settle for moderately priced replacement cabinet doors and facades. Keep your budget low by avoiding marble or granite countertop replacements in favour of solid surface, laminate or concrete – all of which can be easily installed without the need for a complete kitchen redesign.
Read more: Showing your house? Tips you need to know
5. Small details
- Remember to wipe or repaint areas around light switches and door handles that have become stained over time from use.
- Squeaky doors and windows can easily be remedied with a drop of oil, to make sure that entrances are in keeping with your home’s new fresh feel.
- Unobtrusive air fresheners or scented candles are a good way of masking any cooking or pet odours ahead of a viewing.
- Avoid interruptions and distractions during viewings by keeping children and pets safely out of the way. The buyer should be focused on your home at all times.
- Disclose any property defects and leave with a clear conscience.