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The top 10 things every homeowner should do before they sell

With a large percentage of buyers in the market purchasing their first property, it can be assumed that at some stage in the future these first-time buyers will become first-time sellers.

As with purchasing a property, selling a home also requires some homework and research on the owner’s part. Another important aspect is selecting a reputable, experienced real estate agent who will be able to provide sound guidance and advice with regard to improving the home’s presentation to ensure it appeals to the highest possible number of potential buyers.
“An experienced real estate professional will be able to provide the homeowner with very useful tips and information regarding what buyers can expect in that particular market and what the selling points of the home are,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. “By heeding the advice given, sellers will be able to position themselves ahead of the game and be fully prepared to place their home on the market.”
 
According to Goslett there are 10 steps that every homeowner should follow to give them a good head start in preparing the home for sale:
 
Make the home inviting – the outside of the property is the first area of the home that anyone will see, so make it welcoming to buyers. “You want buyers to be enticed to see more, so clear debris and clutter away from the entrance of the property and the front garden, mow the lawn and cut back any hedges and bushes. Paint the front door, garage door and the gate to give the home a new fresh, clean look. Planting colourful annuals and perennials are a great way to attract attention to the property from the road and potential buyers walking or driving past,” says Goslett. “Ensure that the home looks well-maintained by getting to the small repairs that need fixing, such as cracked or broken roof tiles or outside lighting. All exterior defects could instantly lead to a bad overall first impression.”
 
Keep it clean - nothing implies that a home is well taken care of as much as cleanliness. A clean home will win points with buyers as they scrutinise every room – especially the kitchen and bathrooms. Goslett says that new coat of paint will give dirt-prone areas of the home a clean fresh look. He notes that if the home has carpets, having them cleaned make the home look and smell great. Before the home goes on show, it is important tidy up each room, including inside cupboards and the garage.
 
Hide unsightly everyday items – items such as children’s toys and the pet’s belongings should be packed away or at least moved to less conspicuous areas of the home on show days. These items also include litter boxes, animal crates, pet dishes, dirty laundry and dirty kitchen sponges.
 
Pack away unused items – start packing unused items into boxes and have them stored away - this goes for furniture as well. If items are not used on a daily basis they can be packed away to declutter the home so that it appears bigger, and to give the seller a headstart on their move.
 
Make wise paint choices – a well-done, no-frills paint job is the best choice. “Everyone’s taste differs so it is best to stick to a neutral palette of white and beige so that potential buyers are not put off by any unconventional colours. Says Goslett: “There is a good chance that the new buyer will repaint and decorate the home as soon as they move in anyway.”
 
Small fixture updates
– aside from making the necessary repairs around the home, updating readily visible fixtures such as the cupboard and door handles, towel racks and curtain rods will completely overhaul the look of the home. These subtle and rather inexpensive changes can make a big impact.
 
Update the lighting
– the light fixtures should be changed to match the new updated, cleaner look of the home. Goslett says that new energy saving lightbulbs can be installed to highlight specific areas of the home, while being a green feature that many homebuyers are looking for in today’s market.
 
Ensure you have the right window treatments – according to Goslett natural lighting is another excellent way to enhance the home’s features and boost its appearance. He notes that the window treatments used in each room need to be carefully chosen to ensure that they don’t make the room seem dark and small. Ensure that the window treatments are appropriately adjusted depending on the time of day that the home is on show.

Have the table set – freshly cut flowers in a vase or a bowl of fruit in the kitchen or on the dining room table are always a nice touch. These are small but effective details that will impress buyers.

Remember the back of the home – although it is likely to be the last place that the buyer looks at, it is still a very important feature of the home. The backyard needs to look as spacious and as functional as possible. Plant or pot colorful flowers and keep the landscaping trimmed and neat. Consistently pick up after pets so that buyers feel comfortable touring the yard.

Goslett concludes by saying that it is not always that big changes that make the most impact, sometimes it’s the small things that make all the difference. It is the combination of all these little things that will add to the appeal of the home and impress potential buyers.


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