Presenting Your Home For Sale

Not unlike a first date, first impressions count. Just as you would dress to impress, smell lovely and chew with your mouth closed, presenting your home for sale ought to be preened with the same level of care.

It is a good idea to get around to completing those jobs around the house that you had been intending to do for years. Build that garden bed, paint the front fence, fix the side gate, remove the old couch etc – all typical examples of small jobs that fit into the “I must get to that one day” category.

When preparing your home for sale, these “little” jobs are important in achieving an expedient sale at the highest possible selling price. This is because buyers typically notice the little jobs too; a rusty downpipe is easily and cheaply replaced, yet can loom large in the buyer’s mind as a more major problem and hints that other areas of the property may be neglected.

Of course, you need to be cautious about “over-capitalising” when preparing to sell. Replacing a bathroom and renovating a kitchen are expensive and depending on the property and its location, may prove to be counterproductive in the effort to achieve the best price. A quality home on a generous lot in Hilton worth, say $650,000, is probably more difficult to sell at $720,000 even with a new kitchen and bathroom that cost $70,000. This is partly because the property is already well above the median house price for the suburb.

Conversely, an original cottage in Fremantle’s Solomon Street is more likely to benefit from renovations when preparing to sell due to the higher demand for “all finished” properties in one of our most popular streets.

Obviously, each property and circumstance engenders a variety of options for sellers when preparing to sell and opinions from real estate agents on the matter are, as always, subjective. In general terms however, presenting a neat, clean and tidy home is always going to help your cause in selling at the best price. “Present it like you don’t live in it,” a client suggested recently and is probably a fair description. 

Paint out bright colours on internal walls, de-clutter by storing away trinkets and excess family photos, clear the fridge of magnets and kids’ school art and place items neatly in storage cupboards. For vacant properties, the hire of some stylish furniture makes a huge difference and almost always speeds up the sale.

Small things do make a difference. With paint and gardens another two areas of focus that can make a disproportionate difference to the selling price relative to their cost and the effort involved.

It is also worth considering seeking advice from a qualified home stylist who, whilst a measured investment, can mean the difference between a higher than expected selling price and no sale at all.

These comments are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the current opinions and policies of the Real Estate Institute of Australia.

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