Before you start showing people through your home it is important to maximise the presentation. Buyers will notice things that are in need of repair or require a paint etc and unless you have reduced your price to allow for these things, you’ll want to give them the best possible impression of your property.
Go over your entire property with a critical eye. Look for things that you may have overlooked or have just become used to, like the funny angle of the letterbox, the flaking paint by the front door etc. Look around your property as if you were viewing it for the first time. Start from the street and work your way around the outside and don’t forget to include the garage. Then proceed through your home noting areas that need attention.
Remember, people will be comparing your home with others on the market in a similar price bracket so your presentation needs to be up to scratch.
After you have completed the list you may wish to tackle the jobs yourself or may consider getting someone in to do them. There are several major franchised home help and handyman companies now in New Zealand. Alternatively, check out your local newspaper - there’s usually someone advertising locally.
If you have street frontage then the initial impression can make a big difference. You may have even done it yourself – driven up to a property that is for sale but driven off because of the impression it gave you. It is important to use any street appeal to maximum effect and hook the buyer in for a further look.
Depending on the fence type, this may need some attention. Make sure your letterbox is straight and in good condition. Replace your street numbers if they are in poor condition.
Ensure the lawns are mowed, edges are trimmed and the garden is weeded and tidy. Trees and shrubs may need pruning and areas dug over. A nicely maintained garden and lawn certainly helps with the overall impression and can really make or break the overall look and feel of the property.
Have a walk around the outside of your home. It may need a bit of paint, the cobwebs removed and windows cleaned. The front door and surrounding area may need attention or perhaps brightening up. Perhaps consider getting large container plants or colourful hanging baskets. Don’t forget to check the back door and tidy if necessary.
To some people a tidy garage can indicate a careful home owner. Have a good clean up and try to make it look uncluttered. Don’t under-estimate the importance of a garage, especially if it has a hobby room or a workshop area. There are often many buyers looking for good space in these areas.
The driveway and path is one of the first parts of your property a potential buyer sees. Make sure it is as tidy as practical and weeds that may have grown in the cracks are pulled out. It may be worth waterblasting these areas. Waterblasters can be hired and you can also use it to clean the exterior of your house (but it’s not advisable if you have flaky paintwork and you don’t intend repainting).
The first part of the home interior a buyer often sees is the hallway or foyer. Is it too dark? Is there too much clutter or is the wallpaper peeling? Improve the light by using a table lamp or increase the bulb wattage and tidy where necessary.
A kitchen is a very important area of the home and one that potential buyers are likely to look closely at. Show as much bench space as possible and definitely clean the stove. Improve space by tidying all of the cupboards and pantry. Aim for an uncluttered kitchen that’s clean and tidy.
These “wet” areas need to be dry and bright. Clean away any mould and replace any discoloured sealer. A spotless appearance will again indicate a proud and careful home owner.
Try to emphasise space. Perhaps rearrange the furniture or even take some out if necessary by temporarily storing items elsewhere.
Likewise, also try to emphasise space and tidy up the wardrobe to give it an uncluttered look.
This may be your junk room now but it may be an office or bedroom for a potential buyer. Again create as much space as possible.
Check these out for proper opening and closing. Also eliminate those squeaks and remove any mould from the window frames - an old toothbrush and a container of hot soapy water is ideal.
Have a walk around and decide if there is too much clutter. Often this is due to the lack of storage space and you definitely don’t want to draw attention to this. Box it all up so it’s easy to move around. You may well need the boxed items on a daily basis so mark the boxes to make them easy to find. If possible remove the boxes from the house altogether – perhaps you can store them at a friends house. If not, then be imaginative – if you are having an open home, put the boxes in the car and park it around the corner!
If you happen to have smokers in your home, you can just about be sure non-smokers will notice. Let plenty of air in and if necessary look at repainting the ceiling or at least clean it down if practical. Burnt toast or cooking smells aren’t too good either and if the house has been closed up during the winter months, definitely open the windows and doors to let fresh air circulate. Animal smells are also noticeable to non-pet owners and you may need to wash, deodorise and clean carpets or particular areas.
Animal droppings and bones should be picked up and your pet’s digging spots filled in.
If you do need to repaint then choose a neutral colour. Your taste in extremely bright colours may be off putting to potential buyers.
Put the lights on if areas aren’t bright enough, especially in the winter.
Create a warm homely environment that has a lived in look and feel. If it’s cold, start the fire and warm cold bedrooms.
This will be entirely up to you. The amount of money you spend may not necessarily be large but to leave these areas unattended, however small, may be enough to trigger doubts in the mind of a potential buyer or it may give them ammunition to offer you less for your property.
If expensive work needs to be done, then you will have to decide whether it is in your best interests to do it or not. Something like re-wiring can be expensive and because the buyer does not see it, it can be difficult to recover the financial outlay. If, however, the junk room needs redecorating, then this may appeal to a buyer because of the extra bedroom. The amount you spend could easily be recovered and may actually increase your home’s value. It also depends on when you want to sell your home and you may opt to leave the work to the new owners and just adjust your selling price accordingly.
Most people will know that a home is to be lived in and you can’t be too worried about every small detail. The main thing is to get all of the obvious repairs and touch-ups done so it’s then just a matter of maintaining it. Normal household cleaning, lawn mowing, weeding etc should be completed regularly as you do not want this to be a big chore at a later stage i.e. when you have an open home or someone calls and wants to look through.