Shaynna Blaze-Vaughan from Selling Houses Australia shares her great advice for preparing your home for sale.
1. Looking through someone else’s eyes
We can never see our own mistakes in our home as we are always surrounded by them and it is easy to have the blinkers on. Get real and take the time to walk around the house as though seeing it for the first time. Even get a friend to walk through with you and get them to point out all the bad things they notice. You need to have a tough skin and accept what they say, as buyers will only tell you the truth by walking the other way.
2. First impressions always count
As cliché as it sounds, as soon as the buyer walks through the front door what they see will leave a lasting imprint as what to expect for the rest of the home. Bring up the standard of presentation at the entry and make sure the rest of the house lives up to the expectations you have created.
3. De-clutter and storage
No one wants to see someone else’s mess, especially if you are walking into a place you want to see yourself living in. Put away unnecessary knick-knacks into boxes and clean out your cupboards. Yes, people will open the doors and they don’t want to catch what’s falling out of them! Take up short-term storage and pack away those extra boxes, bikes and furniture you don’t need. You want to give the illusion of more space, not how much you can cram into one area.
I hate the word de-personalise, as we all know some one lives in the house and we want the feeling of a warm inviting home environment. Minimise the family photos, especially the blown wedding picture staring at you from the bedroom. That makes people uncomfortable and feel like they are invading. Keep a small section of family photos to one area of the house only and arrange nearby other decorator items such as vases and flowers to take the focus off just staring at the people who live there.
There is nothing worse than walking into a dark house - it gives a negative feeling as though you are creeping around. It might be just a case of new paintwork but if it is more than that put a few lamps around and keep them on during the day for openings. It not only provides extra lighting but gives a special ambiance to the room.
Nothing freshens up like a brand new paint job. If unsure what scheme to chose neutrals are always the best way to go. Soft whites, stone and yellows are the easiest to blend and co-ordinate with. But if you feel a need for colour, paint a whole bedroom or study area a different colour from the main rooms as a break in the neutral scheme. Putting in bright feature walls just for the sake of adding colour can more often be off-putting if not done to co-ordinate with the rest of the house.
7. Furniture Arrangement
We all know our own floor plan and how to move about the house, but bring strangers through in groups and they may be bumping into the furniture and only going away with bruises. You need to be aware of the walking traffic that will be going through your house on open days and move your furniture accordingly. Remove as many obstacles as possible from door entry/exits and be aware of large chunky furniture that may clutter up the room.
8. Hire Furniture
You might like the cushiness of your couch and the five beanbags your friends sit on for movie nights but this doesn’t mean best presentation. Consider reducing the amount of your own furniture and investing in some hire furniture to finish the house off. New and well-presented furniture give a fresh sense of life to the interior.
Keep an eye on the small jobs around the house that you never got around to. People notice the dodgy light fitting, the door that doesn’t close properly and fraying edges of carpet. It is fair to say a lot of people only finish their house when they are selling but it is essential to get these jobs done as no-one will take on other people's unfinished business.
We have all caught on to the fresh-baked bread and the coffee brewing to add a sense of ‘home’ to the interior but as smell is one of our heightened senses it still has a role to play. Fresh flowers not only give life and add a touch of romance to a place but scented flowers such as lilies and roses are subtle mood lifters when buyers walk by. It is easy to get accustomed to the smell of our beloved four-legged friends but buyers will smell the scent straight away. Have your carpets and rugs cleaned and ask them to put a scent in the cleaner. You may even consider to have the animals kept outside or away with friends for the duration of the campaign. This is a tough decision but the overwhelming smell of animals can be a major reason for the buyer to not consider your property.