Written by Simon Damerell
Photography by Jamie Cobel
Whether a serious buyer or someone simply attending the odd open home out of curiosity you will have noticed that many homes have been groomed for sale. First impressions occur within seconds rather than minutes and once formed are difficult to dislodge. The human brain is hardwired to make snap decisions in this way as a prehistoric survival mechanism. What follows may appear reasonably obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to reflect if you are considering selling.
Sunlight is one of the most universal requirements when viewing homes so make sure you make the most of it.
Stand at the gate and attempt to view your property as if for the first time. Do the beautiful external architectural details strike you immediately? Is there a balance between shrubs and trees providing privacy versus giving a feeling of shade and gloominess.
What to trim will differ as to the season in which you are selling. Evidence of mildew and lichen add to the perception of dampness but can be easily removed with a commercial spray product. Garden rubbish is unsightly and detracts from the appeal of your garden, but it’s easy for each of us not to ‘see it’ because we’re used to it being there. So if you have a pile of ‘stuff’, get rid of it. This goes for the garage, old sheds and any outbuildings. If you have a pool, ensure that it is clear of leaves, the water clean, tiles are clean top and bottom and any pool equipment is stored away.
Similarly, upon entering the home, is the immediate impact one which you want to emphasise. Sometimes the volume of furnishings accumulated during the life of the family may project a feeling that the rooms are smaller than they actually are. We all accumulate things relevant to our life history and often there is emotional attachment to these items which showcase a distinct personality rather than having broad appeal.
"A home stager can often repurpose items you already own to better define spaces and introduce new ways to to maximise the sale price for you".
Updated kitchens and bathrooms help sell properties. Upgrades include stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and replacing or painting cupboard doors and handles. These are considered purchases but in the right circumstances, can be well worth the investment. Another easy and affordable interior facelift is to paint your home in neutral tones. A neutral colour palette throughout your home will enable your potential buyers to place their furniture. Sprucing up the paint work can be an investment that pays big dividends but it needs to be done well, rough edges or paint on the windows will send all the wrong signals to prospective buyers.
As agents, we understand the stresses of selling and the disruption of having potential buyers through your home. We also understand that we only get one chance to create a ‘first impression’. We certainly won’t suggest removing all your beloved furniture, however sometimes, a discussion of having a professional to dress your home, or parts of it, may be beneficial.
Questions to ask the agents are: how much should I realistically spend in preparation, what is the highest priority and how do I maximise my return. There is no one size fits all and there will be different answers to these questions for every property, but the approach should always be the same. Start with the end result in mind - who are the target market, what will attract them to your home and what aspects must we emphasise?
A little extra preparation may pay handsomely.