Knowing where to start when you’ve made the decision to sell your property can seem very daunting. Therefore, we’ve compiled our top 45 tips to help you prepare your house for sale, how to approach the marketing and a few simple things to enhance your Open Homes.
STEP ONE: IT’S ALL IN THE PREPARATION
1. The first step is always “clean clean clean” rule – It’s a simple task that can make a world of difference. Aside from the basics of dusting, vacuuming and mopping, pay attention to the details such as light switches, polishing door knobs and washing curtains / blinds etc.
2. Don’t forget the windows – You don’t want potential viewers looking out into your garden with smudges on the windows. Invest in a bottle of Windex, pick up a newspaper and the rest comes down to elbow grease but it will be well worth it.
3. Clear the clutter – If you are trying to sell a property, you must clear the clutter. By removing all of your extra bits and pieces, you will help make the room look much larger, cleaner and brighter. If you don’t want to get rid of anything, look at hiring a storage area for a month or two so that you can revisit your belongings after you have moved into your new home.
4. Organise cupboards – Yes they are a great place to hide things, but buyers are assessing the practicality of the property and therefore will be opening drawers and cupboards.
5. High pressure - Clean the driveway and any decks – you probably haven’t noticed just how much dirt has slowly accumulated on your driveway and deck over the years, but trust us, it’s there. The driveway or front porch is the first thing the buyers see as they walk into the property so it needs to be inviting and create a stunning first impression.
6. Ditch the mould – Carefully walk around your house and make sure you remove any mould that has built up while you have lived there. Look out for seals in wet areas, underneath sinks and on the outside of the outside.
7. New handles on kitchen cabinets and drawers – Replacing these can give an overall new appearance to older cabinets. This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to breathe new life into your kitchen.
8. Fresh paint – You can’t go wrong with fresh coat of paint on the walls, skirting, trims, doors, or windows. You’d be surprised at how new you can make a house look with just fresh paint. Remember to think neutral with whites, grays or warm creams which all depend on the style and location of your house.
9. New letterbox – Again, it’s important to create happy first impressions in the minds of the buyers, therefore a new letterbox is another simple and cost effective way to update the look of your home. This is also an opportunity to think outside the square and install a creative or unique looking letterbox to help the house really stand out in the street.
10. Replace all the light bulbs – Install high wattage bulbs to brighten up dark rooms and definitely replace any yellow or flickering bulbs. This simple trick will definitely help revitalize your home!
11. Update the front door handles and hinges – The devil is in the detail, so update anything that is outdated or looking a little worse for wear including door handles and hinges… especially at the front door.
12. Depersonalise your home – This is a tough one however we recommend removing all personal items such as family pictures around the house. You want the buyer to walk into a neutral environment so they can visualize themselves in the house with their belongings. The best way to help them do this is to take out any really bold pieces of furniture or accessories, which will also help the space appear as large as possible.
13. Forget your style – Focus on the style of the prospect buyers. Try to understand the demographics of the potential buyer – and learn what style they like. For example, if you are selling to first time homeowners, they are probably young and not as interested in dark wood trim – so paint it white!
14. Clean up the fridge – This simple trick not only helps declutter the kitchen, but it also helps the room feel more spacious. No one wants to look at magnets on the fridge so its best to pack them away for the time being. When you see the photos, you’ll understand why!
15. Clear all kitchen and bathroom benches – You want your house to appear new, clean and spacious, so remove any items on your benches to help improve the room’s appearance. This includes toothbrushes, bottles, paperwork, boxes, appliances etc.
16. Replace any faulty or mismatched power outlets – Buyers notice details so for a small amount of money, make sure all the outlets match and work safely.
17. Patch any cracks or dents in the walls – These are often the first thing buyers see in a room, therefore depending on the job, you may be able to repair them with some putty and paint, which will immediately help lift the room.
18. Landscaping - Fresh mulch, grass, or plants outside – Landscaping helps create the impression of a lifestyle at a small cost. Think a new layer of mulch in the garden, weed and feed the lawn or lay some new grass, or place some feature pot plants around the house.
19. Mow the lawn – A quick task with great gains. If you don’t own a lawn mower, hire a someone to come and help maintain your yard while your house is on the market. Remember, you need to do everything in your power to create a great first impression.
20. Organize the gardens – This will cost you nothing more than elbow grease, by jumping in your garden bed and removing any dead branches / palms, trimming or shaping the hedges and pruning any unsightly or overgrown trees. Not only will this make the garden look much more attractive, but it will help the buyers envision themselves relaxing in the space.
21. Showcase the pool – A pool is major attraction for buyers, especially in the Queensland climate. Therefore, you need to showcase it in its best list by removing all the leaves, cleaning up the ground around the pool, ensure the fence meets the safety code and the water looks clear and blue.
22. Repair any leaking or faulty taps - There is nothing worse than a dripping tap, especially if it’s just the washer that needs to be repaired. Make sure all the taps and showers are working properly before you put your home on the market.
23. Clean the carpet – You will be amazed at how fresh and spotless they will look after they are steam cleaned. You can try to do this yourself or alternatively, hire a company to come and do the house. This service may set you back a few hundred dollars’ bit will help the house feel brand new.
24. Clean the ovens – Prospective buyers spend a lot of time in the kitchen at open houses and showings – and you can bet they are going to open up the oven to see how large and clean it is. While you’re at it, polish any stainless steel appliances in the kitchen so its sparkling for the photos and open homes.
25. Invest in easy-to-read house numbers – Sometimes, just the number of the house matters. New numbers (or if you want, letters to spell out a number) are just a few dollars each, but help create that new and modern feeling.
26. Style your dining room table – Help the buyer imagine family dinners and events at the house by staging the dining room table. Go all out with the placemats, plates, cutlery, glassware, centerpiece, candles etc. Not only will this look great in the photos, it will help dress up the area.
27. Give every room a purpose – No room should be without a reason for existence, therefore show potential buyers what a room could be. If you have an empty room, consider turning it into a kid’s playroom, home gym, study, cinema or rumpus room. If you need a hand staging your property, talk to your real estate agents for names of local companies.
28. Conduct a pre-sale building & pest inspection – This will help identify any issues with the property that you can easily fix prior the sale, which reduces the possibility of a buyer negotiating thousands off the price at a later date.
29. Organise the kid’s rooms – If you have any, you know how tough it is to keep their toys and belongings organized and in one location. Help convince your buyer that this house will do just that – by organizing your own kids’ toys neatly.
30. Buy a new mat for the front door – It’s cheap and it helps present the home in a fresh, modern way. Department stores stock mats from as cheap as $10 so look around for a bargain.
31. Hide the rubbish bins – The last thing buyers want to see as they enter a property is the rubbish bins. Hide them down the side of the house, behind a gate or away from sight.
32. Check the flow – Create the ultimate path for buyers to walk through your house by doing a test run. You don’t want them bumping awkwardly into furniture as they move about so make sure the path through the house flows well and remove any obstacles.
33. Put precious items in a secure location – For security and safety reasons, its best to put any precious items such as family heirlooms or jewellery in a safe, secure location before the photos and open houses.
STEP TWO: MARKETING
34. Spread the word whenever you can – Be the marketer you are looking for! Spread the news on social media, inform everyone you know that you are selling your home, and encourage others to share the news as well.
35. Sell the lifestyle – Most buyers are not shopping for a home – they are shopping for a lifestyle. That lifestyle could be “luxury” or “simple” or “lavish’ – so try to create a feeling around your entire house of that lifestyle.
36. Visit neighborhood open houses – This will give you an instant education in what not to do when marketing your own home, as well as what you should do.
37. Don’t rush - It is important to remember that some properties take longer than others to sell. We believe preparation is the key which includes waiting for the right weather conditions to photograph the property, writing the perfect advertisement and planning all of the marketing activities in the right order so that the campaign is effective is as can be.
STEP THREE: THE OPEN FOR INSPECTION
38. Turn on the lights – Put your best foot forward by turning on all the lights in the home. It’s a simple trick – but it works.
39. Play some good music – Turn on a stereo or iPod with speakers playing some soothing or popular music. This may or may not have any effect with the buyers – but it may give you a boost in confidence when you present your house while having your favorite music in the background!
40. In winter – Turn the heater or fireplace on an hour before and in Summer, turn the air conditioner on 20 minutes before so that buyers enjoy walking through your home in a comfortable climate.
41. Beware of nasty pet odors – You may be used to the smell of your pets, but your potential buyers are not. If you have pets, get all rugs steam cleaned and be extra vigilant about vacuuming and washing surfaces. Try to keep pets outside or at a friend’s house.
42. Avoid smoking near the property – While your property is on the market, try to avoid smoking in or near the house.
43. Fresh flowers and candles on tables – These are two great additions to a house and will help create impact and lift the appearance and smell of the house. Just having this simple piece of art can brighten an entire room.
44. Have a little snack at open houses – It encourages people to mingle and get a feel for the place. The longer they spend in the home – the higher chance they’ll make an offer.
45. Finally - it’s about first impressions – Sometimes, the first impression is the only impression. In fact, most buyers decide if they’ll place an offer on a house within just seconds, so make sure it counts.