Stand in front of your home and imagine for a moment that you are a potential buyer turning up for an inspection of the property.
Many people will decide to check out the property by doing a drive-by before deciding to call the Estate Agent to arrange a viewing.
What do you see?
- What standards of presentation and décor do you expect?
- Make sure lawns and gardens are neat and tidy, neatly trimmed edges are a big plus and you can always add a splash of colour with some inexpensive flowers.
- If you have fences or gates that need repair now it the time to tend to them.
- Clear your letterbox daily and remove any flyers that are sometimes left hanging in letter boxes and look very unsightly.
- Clean the gutters of any leaves or debris.
- Make sure your windows have recently been cleaned.
- Sweep driveways and footpaths and try if possible to keep waste bins out of sight.
- Make sure there is a relatively new looking door mat in place, as this also indicates that you are conscious of keeping your home clean inside.
- The items listed above will not sell your house on their own but they will create a good first impression and it leaves potential purchasers looking forward to view the inside of your house. Remember, you never get a second change to create a good first impression.
Now that you have ‘invited’ in the potential buyer it is time to have a look inside to see how the inside of your home appeals to the purchaser.
Inside the home is all about creating a feeling. Many buyers will have only taken a few steps inside a house when they feel that it is right. It feels welcoming and homely. When deciding if they have that feeling, whether they make that decision consciously or subconsciously, they will use all of their senses, including the sense of smell.
The things you should pay attention to are as follows:
Label your boxes, especially the one containing sheets and towels, so you can find everything you need the first night in your new home.
- Remove clutter because cluttered rooms make your home seem smaller than it is actually is.
- Allow as much natural light in as possible by opening curtains and blinds.
- If the weather permits it is always preferable to have a couple of windows partly open to allow fresh air through. If it is cold or chilly out, put the heat on so that it is comfortable for the viewer.
- Make sure bathrooms and kitchen are dazzlingly clean. These are the two main areas that influence the decision on whether to buy or not most.
- Have your carpets cleaned by a professional cleaner, but if they are worn or tattered then it is advisable to replace them with new carpets. The same applies to curtains and soft furnishings.
- If you have wooden floors, have a good look at the condition of them. If they are scratched or strained, there are professional companies who, for very little money, can sand and re-stain or re-varnish tired old floors whether they are solid floors or semi-solid.
- Choose your wall colours carefully. Try to avoid strong colours because the taste of the potential buyer may not be the same as yours. Prepare the walls as if it were a blank (or almost blank) canvas, so use pale muted colours with a hint of warmth. An off white or newly revived shade of magnolia should be considered and most paint manufacturers have a washable range of emulsion paints for those little ‘accidents’.
- Oil those squeaky hinges and door handles and fix any faulty light fixtures and fittings.
- Make sure that the home is clean and tidy and that the beds are properly dressed. For a small investment it pays to ‘over dress’ the beds. Consider buying a king-size duvet and duvet covers for a double bed. Don’t have any part of a divan bed showing, so buy a valance sheet to cover the base. It’s amazing how homely and comforting this simple trick is.
- It is quiet acceptable to have a newspaper on your coffee table or a magazine on your bedside table, but focus on clean.
- Smell is particularly important, even more so if you have pets. Some odours that are familiar to you may be offensive to others. Clean bird cages regularly, place dog/cat bowls outside. If it is a concern you can purchase several types of odour neutralising aerosols or plug-ins which removes any odour.
- Place some fresh flowers in a nice vase or some potpourri in a decorative bowl.
- Remove dogs during inspections because some people are afraid of dogs (and cats), even your cute little friend!
- It is best that you are not in the home during the inspection because the potential purchasers may feel uncomfortable about asking hard questions about your home or the neighbourhood when you are present.
- Attend to any general maintenance such as door knobs, light fixtures, paint touch ups and anything that is generally obvious to the buyer. Take care not to get into a major renovating job.
Just make sure the home is clean and looks well maintained.
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