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Style your home for sale

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Remove clutter, personal items and large items from the home to enhance the feeling of spaciousness. Photo: Shutterstock

Style your home for sale

Preparing your property for sale can increase your chances of a quick sale, and the highest possible price. Helping buyers have an emotional response can drive competition, and creating an attractive space for investors with low maintenance can really enhance your sale-ability.

Looking to sell your home or investment? Maximise your returns with these quick and affordable design tips.

Styling your home in preparation for sale may have a big impact on the result you achieve by attracting the widest range of potential buyers, increasing the purchase price and decreasing days on market. The name of the game is to enhance the sale-ability of the property by making buyers fall in love with the home.

Property staging has become common practice, you can get professional home staging or take the DIY approach. A couple hundred dollars can add thousands to your sale price so why not spend a weekend and increase your property value with some simple tricks of the trade.

“Even in challenging markets, simple improvements to a property can help you to push up the sale price and generate increased interest from buyers,” Atlas Real Estate Sales Director, Aegean Zhang said.

“Improvements don’t have to be expensive; they just have to emphasise certain features of the property and minimise negative elements.  It is all about delivering the right perception for the right market and this can be done through dressing a property.”

First impressions last

Having great street appeal can really make a difference. Investors and potential buyers will still do a ‘drive by’ before they decide to inspect, so getting them to come through the front door is your first hurdle.

So how do you create street appeal?

If you’re selling a house:

  • Clean windows, clear your gutters and sweep the driveway.
  • Add some greenery or colour to your entrance. Some freshly potted plants or flowers are a quick and cheap step to beautifying your entry and will be a ‘welcome’ addition.
  • Get your green thumb out and tidy the garden. Mow the lawn, trim hedges or trees, pull out the weeds and plant some native or hard wearing/low maintenance plants.

“The front garden is important for first impressions. Make it look clean and neat and plant additional plants that create feature areas in the garden.  Says Zhang.

  • Don’t forget your mailbox! Empty your mail for the duration of your sales campaign.

And if budget permits:

  • Paint the exterior. It can be a costly exercise, however a quick refresh of the front door, or even a tired looking porch with a fresh coat of paint can freshen the entire entrance.

“Refreshing the exterior with a new coat of paint goes a long way to improving a buyer’s first impression of your house.

“Repainting your house in a neutral, modern colour can broaden your market and improve its universal appeal. The value of your property will go up immediately, some valuers suggest that repainting your home can increase the price by up to seven percent.” Atlas Real Estate Sales Director, Aegean Zhang said.

If you’re selling an apartment:

  • Clean windows, balustrades and balconies. Ask your strata manager about driveway and path management if it tends to attract leaves, see if they can assist with sweeping for the duration of your sales campaign.
  • Add some greenery or colour to your entrance. Add pots to your front door or balcony if permitted.
  • Street appeal. If your balcony is visible from the road, ensure nothing is hanging over your balcony and any furniture is tidy.

It’s all in the detail

A good rule of thumb is to walk through your property as though you were a potential buyer; what would they be looking at? How is the property displayed? Is it welcoming or cluttered?

  • Less is more. Remove excess furniture especially from main living spaces and where you can the bedrooms. It may be practical for you, but removing it will create more space and make the room feel less cluttered and provide a more natural flow through the space.
  • Declutter the knick knacks. Remove personal memorabilia – buyers especially want to imagine themselves living there, not you.
  • Dress for success. Once you’ve decluttered look to add some flowers, plants or even fruit to a kitchen bench or entry table for a bit of life and colour. Candles can provide an ambient smell, just don’t go anything too strong or ‘exotic’!

Consider some new linen for bedrooms and towels for your bathroom (that you only use for the inspections!)

  • Patch those chips! It’s not absolutely necessary, but look at your entry/hallway and all your rooms from head height and down for any chipped paint or scratches and do a quick patch up if wall colours are neutral.
  • Look at your floors. Do carpets need to be cleaned? Floorboards or tiles need a quick fix? For a cheaper alternative add a rug to some common high traffic areas.
  • Keeping it Clean. Ensure the entire property is clean, tidy, vacuumed and mopped. Pay particular attention to bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Nice and bright. Open all blinds and windows during an inspection to maximise light and air flow.

And if budget permits:

  • Paint the interior. Having a neutral interior makes it easier for buyers to visualise living there, and for investors to purchase a low maintenance property.

“White paint is the go-to and creates a clean fresh light modern palette. Remove clutter, personal items and large items from the home.  This enhances the feeling of spaciousness.” Added Zhang.

  • The more the merrier. Can you convert a spare room to a bedroom? Staging a property with as many bedrooms as you can, can yield a better return.
  • Kitchens sell houses. If the benchtops or cupboards need an uplift an economical option is updating hardware, or a quick freshen up of paint.

“Budget-friendly ways to increase the value of your property by making small upgrades to the kitchen include repainting or replacing cupboard doors and replacing the taps and cupboard handles. Daggy old splashbacks can be spray painted with tile-friendly paint.  This is also a good upgrade hack for bathrooms that desperately need the tiles replaced.   These improvements are usually well worth the initial small cost because you’ll get it back, and more.”

Zhang also noted that a common mistake is for sellers to overhaul the benchtop with something overly fancy. Although sleek and modern, what buyers want the most out of the kitchen is functionality and practicality.

“Besides the kitchen, have a good around your house and decide which little things are in need of repair, so that your house looks like it has been cared for and not neglected. These small issues add up,” Ms Zhang said.

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