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Your home is on the market, and you’re getting ready for the first open house inspection. You know it’s essential to keep it clean and tidy, but what else can you do to make it stand out from the crowd?
Here we share the strategies used by home stylists to help make buyers think your home could be their home.
1. Create a blank canvas
Pack away anything specific to you and your family: photos, certificates, medals, memorabilia and framed prints. Even toothbrushes and razors should go.
Aim to create an environment where buyers can picture themselves living. If your personal effects are all around, it’s that much harder for people to imagine the space as theirs.
Do the same for over-the-top or outdated furniture items and decorations. But don’t par back so much that you strip your home of its livable character. Aim for a contemporary look that broadens the property’s market appeal.
Don’t leave the job of removing wall hangings to the last minute as you may need to patch up picture hook holes with putty and paint.
2. Organise your storage
Don’t think that a mess behind cupboard doors is free from prying eyes. Buyers will open your wardrobes and closets, so be prepared to surprise them – in a good way!
Empty half the contents of your storage spaces to give the impression of space aplenty. Organise and tidy the remaining contents. Ideas include separating items into labelled boxes; grouping things; colour coding; and using drawer dividers.
3. Focus on curb appeal
If your home doesn’t make a good first impression from the outside, buyers may write it off before they even look inside.
Apart from a well-maintained garden and exterior façade, don’t forget the little details that might turn buyers off like clogged gutters, peeling paint, mildew on window sidings and overfilled garbage bins. Ideally, move the bins out of sight, especially if they’re positioned near the home’s entry.
Make sure buyers can clearly read your house number, and purchase a new welcome mat if yours is old and ratty.
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4. Clean inside and out
It’s obvious you need to present a clean house for a property inspection, but we’re not talking about a standard weekly clean. Instead, think spotless and sparkling. The cleaning you only ever do once a year or not at all: washing windows; cleaning under and behind furniture; wiping marks off walls and dusting shutters, ceiling and light fixtures.
Pay special attention to the bathroom and kitchen. Get rid of mould from grout, rub surfaces until they shine and neatly arrange towels. You may need to hire professional cleaners or enlist the help of friends and family.
To avoid smearing when cleaning glass: use newspaper dipped in water or a cleaning solution. Wipe dry with more newspaper.
5. Let go
It will be that much easier to do all of the above if you relinquish your emotional hold over your home.
You’re selling and moving on, so now is an appropriate time to put your seller’s hat on, not your owner’s hat. Look at your home as would someone seeing it for the first time. Ask yourself: are the best features highlighted? As a buyer, what would turn me off? Are there minor repairs I could make to help create a better first impression? Is too much clutter detracting from the features of the home?
Ask your real estate agent to give you feedback after the first open home inspection. You can further tinker with your home’s presentation by hearing what prospective buyers had to say about changes they would like to see.
Useful reading: What Agents Can Teach Us About Renovating to Sell